Senate Should Reject Radical Goodwin Liu for Seat on 9th Circuit

A group of over two dozen prominent conservatives led by former Atty. Gen. Ed Meese and operating under the umbrella of the Conservative Action Project has issued a highly critical analysis of Goodwin Liu, President Obama’s nominee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying he has “repeatedly shown a lack of respect for the Constitution as the Supreme law of the land.” The memo calls on the Senate to reject his nomination. Here is their case against Liu.

Unlike other judicial nominees, there has been no announcement of bi-partisan support for this nomination of President Obama. Gordon Liu is unfit for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench because his statements and record demonstrate an extreme liberal agenda that he would impose from the bench.

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.

Mr. Liu has repeatedly shown a lack of respect for the Constitution as the supreme law of the land:

• Mr. Liu holds a radical view of constitutional rights. For example, in a 2008 Stanford Law Review article he supports a judicial role in establishing constitutional welfare rights—i.e., “affirmative rights,” to education, shelter, subsistence, healthcare and the like, or to the money these things cost. 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.

• In a 2006 article titled “Education, Equality, and National Citizenship,” Liu suggests that the Constitution “assigns equal constitutional status to negative rights against government oppression and positive rights to government assistance on the ground that both are essential to liberty.” 

• Mr. Liu has said: “It becomes pretty clear why ‘originalism’ or ‘strict construction’ don’t make a lot of sense. The Framers deliberately chose broad words so they would be adaptable over time.” 

• Mr. Liu recklessly attacked Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito. In the case of Roberts, he wrote, in an op-ed, that “his 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 bipartisan support. 

• Mr. Liu actually testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the confirmation of Alito. Liu testified that then-Judge Alito was “at the margin, not the mainstream,” and that the America envisioned by his record on the bench “is not the America we know. Nor is it the America we aspire to be.” Alito was also confirmed with bipartisan support.

• In a 2008 Stanford Law Review article, Mr. Liu wrote that judges should engage in "socially situated modes of reasoning that appeal … to the culturally and historically contingent meanings of particular social goods in our own society" and to "determine, at the moment of decision, whether our collective values on a given issue have converged to a degree that they can be persuasively crystallized and credibly absorbed into legal doctrine." As a Washington Times editorial charged: “Mr. Liu’s goal was to create a judicially enforceable, constitutional right to welfare.” 

• Mr. Liu implies racial quotas should continue indefinitely and in remarks before the American Constitution Society in August of 2003 advocated reviving “the idea of remedying societal discrimination as a justification for affirmative action.” 

• Mr. Liu offered an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court in which he and others argued that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage (approved twice by the voters of California) was unconstitutional.

No Experience

It has been noted that Mr. 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." Mr. Liu, who is only 39 years old, hasn’t even been out of law school for 12 years and has no experience as a trial lawyer.