Senate Committee to Vote on Pro-Abortion Obama Judicial Pick Goodwin Liu

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Committee to Vote on Pro-Abortion Obama Judicial Pick Goodwin Liu

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 4
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday on controversial pro-abortion appeals court nominee Goodwin Liu. He is one of several abortion advocates Obama has put on key federal appeals courts and his nomination is expected to be approved on a party-line vote.

Republicans have sharply criticized Liu for the opinions raised in his academic writings and public statements.

They also criticized him for omitting dozens of answers on his initial Senate panel questionnaire.

Chairman Patrick Leahy set the vote for Thursday, the day of the committee’s weekly business meeting, but the panel’s rules allow lawmakers to delay the vote for one day, which GOP senators have done for controversial nominees. That could see the committee vote delayed until Friday.

Liu, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, is a professor at the liberal University of California, Berkeley.

Liu’s nomination is seen as a test case in the ability of Obama and Senate Democrats to get a liberal, pro-abortion judge approved in the Senate in advance of a Supreme Court nomination.

Republicans have stopped short of threatening a filibuster, but plan to oppose his nomination nonetheless.

“The concern here is whether this reflects President Obama’s view of what a good judge is,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, a pro-life Alabama lawmaker who is the top Republican on the judicial panel, said last month.

But, mindful of the Gang of 14, a group of bipartisan senators who are opposing filibusters except under "extraordinary circumstances," Sessions told Politico he would not back a filibuster — “I’m reluctant to filibuster."

Ed Whelan, a judicial expert writing at National Review, says Liu is a problem because he believes the Constitution to be a "living" document, the same view as those jurists on the Supreme Court who invented an unlimited right to abortion throughout pregnancy in the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases.

"Goodwin Liu has urged judicial invention (usually in an “interstitial” role) of constitutional rights," he writes today.

Liu "presents a volatile mix of aggressive left-wing ideology and raw inexperience," Whelan adds.

"Liu is closely aligned with various left-wing groups. For example, he is (or recently was) on the boards of directors of the American Constitution Society, the ACLU of Northern California, and the National Women’s Law Center. He apparently practiced law for about two years," he notes.

Liu has said he believes in the pro-abortion notion of a changing Constitution that can, for example, allow for unlimited abortion rights.

"What we mean by fidelity is that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that adapt its principles and its text to the challenges and conditions of our society in every succeeding generation," Liu has said.

Liu clerked for pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, worked in the Clinton administration, and spoke out against Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council talked more about Liu’s liberal bona fides.

"Professor Liu is an outspoken liberal University of California law professor. At just 39 years old, he is already a leading light of the judicial activist left and has served as Chairman of the Board of the left-wing American Constitution Society," he says. "He opposed the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts and testified against Justice Alito’s confirmation. This is one of President Obama’s most controversial judicial appointments to date. "

If Liu receives the approval of the committee, political observers are watching to see how quickly his nomination gets to the Senate floor for a debate and vote — which could become a preview of the timeline of approving a Supreme Court nominee.

ACTION: Contact members of the committee at and urge a no vote on the Liu nomination.

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