Harry Reid Sets Up Senate Vote on Goodwin Liu Thursday

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2011   |   11:34AM   |   Washington, DC

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on the nomination of pro-abortion advocate Goodwin Liu, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. The Senate will vote Thursday on his nomination.

Reid spoke in favor of Liu on the floor of the Senate, claiming, “Everyone agrees that Goodwin Liu’s nomination is far from the extraordinary circumstance that would warrant a filibuster. The only extraordinary things about Liu are his experience, his accomplishments, and his integrity. He should be confirmed.”

“At the very least, he should undoubtedly deserve an up-or-down vote,” Reid added. “Senate Republicans have already forgotten the nuclear option. Today they’re threatening to block this highly qualified nominee from confirmation. Vacancies on the federal bench delay justice for citizens seeking help from our judicial system, and it isn’t fair to leave in limbo well-qualified nominees. So I’m forced now to file cloture in order to ensure Goodwin Liu gets the vote he deserves.”

Tom McClusky, of the Family Research Council, responded to Reid’s comments, saying, “Perhaps in Senator Reid’s fantasy world Goodwin Liu is a fantastic nominee.  Most people agree that the nomination of Goodwin Liu is one of those rare instances constituting “extraordinary circumstances” where the U. S. Senate should reject this nominee as unsuitable for a lifetime appointment.”

McClusky said “extraordinary circumstances” is the standard agreed to by the bipartisan “Gang of 14” U.S. Senators in 2005 for opposing judicial nominations.

“Liu has repeatedly shown a lack of respect for the Constitution as the Supreme law of the land,” McClusky said. “Liu holds a radical view of constitutional rights.  For example, in his 2008 Stanford Law Review article he supports a judicial role in establishing constitutional welfare rights… This is the view of rights President Obama raised that caused a stir, and which Judge Sotomayor rejected when asked if she took such a view during her confirmation hearing.”

“Liu recklessly attacked the nominations of Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito.  In the case of Roberts, he wrote, in an op-ed, that “[h]is legal career is studded with activities unfriendly to civil rights, abortion rights, and the environment.” These unfounded charges were dismissed by judicial experts on both sides of the aisle and Roberts was confirmed with bi-partisan support,” McClusky added.

The FRC leader also points out that Liu doesn’t meet the standards for federal judges outlined by the American Bar Association. These standards include “at least 12 years’ experience in the practice of law” and “substantial courtroom and trial experience.” Liu hasn’t even been out of law school for 12 years and has no experience as a trial lawyer. As a result, 42 of California’s 58 county district attorneys opposed Liu’s nomination in a March 2010 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The cloture vote, expected Thursday, will give a chance for a handful of liberal and moderate Republican senators who recently voted to allow votes on other pro-abortion judicial nominees Obama has put forward. Senators confirmed pro-abortion judicial nominee Edward Chen and Sens. Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Olympia Snowe joined Democrats in supporting him.

Three Democrats who call themselves pro-life, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, all voted for the pro-abortion judicial pick.

Earlier, the Senate stopped the filibuster of pro-abortion judicial nominee John McConnell as a federal judge in Rhode Island and Lyndsey Graham of South Carolina, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, and John Thune of South Dakota were some of the Republicans voting to allow a vote on his nomination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Liu’s nomination for the federal appeals court in the western United States in April on a 10-8 party line vote. Liu, a liberal University of California law professor, faced opposition from Republicans while getting support from each of the Democrats on the committee and Republican lawmakers have filibustered his nomination, calling him too extreme to be approved.

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.

ACTION: Contact members of the Senate at https://www.senate.gov/ to urge opposition to Liu.