Even after Republicans in the Senate and their conservative allies railed against filibusters of judicial nominees during the Bush administration and pushed to give even the most far-right nominees up-or-down votes, it appears that they have made an exception for President Obama’s nominees.
The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on UC Berkley Law Professor Goodwin Liu, who is nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court. While many conservative legal scholars support Liu, many in the GOP “appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified.” Republicans have worked for over a year to denounce Liu with discredited attacks, and now right-wing groups are pressuring Senators to filibuster his nomination.
Mario Diaz of Concerned Women for America claims that Liu is a “real danger to our freedoms” and Republicans must do everything possible to prevent his confirmation:
"To everything there is a season," says Ecclesiastes 3:1, and the time for Republican senators to fight on judicial nominations is now!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has filed cloture on the nomination of radical professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Simply put, Mr. Liu must never be confirmed to this lifetime appointment, and senators should use every tool available to make sure he is stopped.
Those views help expose the real danger to our freedoms with this nomination: Mr. Liu’s judicial philosophy. He believes those constitutional rights must be developed, because he believes the Constitution is a "living, breathing" document that the more enlightened judges (like him, presumably) should continue to mold.
Liu’s judicial philosophy cannot be more dangerous, since it could mean something different at any given point in time. Any senator who doesn’t stand firmly against such a rogue nomination violates his oath to "support and defend the Constitution."
If all 53 Democratic senators follow the party line and vote for cloture, they will need to add seven Republican votes to prevail. The key to this vote are the 11 GOP senators who voted for cloture on Rhode Island district court nominee John McConnell earlier this month. They include Sens. Alexander, Brown, Chambliss, Collins, Graham, Isakson, Kirk, McCain, Murkowski, Snowe, and Thune.
Several of these GOP senators justified their vote for cloture by arguing that the President’s district court nominees deserve more deference or that McConnell did not quite meet the “extraordinary circumstances” threshold. The former argument is not available for appeals court nominee Liu. The latter argument, if applied to Liu, would logically require a GOP senator to answer the question “If Obama’s most radical nominee is not extreme enough to meet the extraordinary circumstances threshold, when would it ever be met?” If the answer is “never,” because the senator believes that judicial filibusters are never justified, that senator must then explain why Republicans are obliged to unilaterally disarm no matter how atrocious the nominee is.
Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council insisted that Republicans block an up-or-down vote:
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. “Extraordinary circumstances” is the standard agreed to by the bipartisan “Gang of 14” U.S. Senators in 2005 for opposing judicial nominations.
Even the Tea Party Nation is getting in the game with this alert from president Judson Phillips:
Goodwin Liu is a radical leftist. He is a professor at the University of California Berkeley. He maybe the most radical lawyer ever nominated for a federal appeals court.
If the cloture vote fails, Liu’s nomination is dead again. This is why we need to take a few minutes today and call our senators to tell them to vote against cloture. Harry Reid needs to peel off seven Republicans in order for cloture to pass. That is of course, if all Democrats vote for cloture. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the GOP, so the possibility of losing seven votes is real.