Gavel Grab

Goodwin Liu Withdraws Judicial Nomination

Legal scholar Goodwin Liu has withdrawn his nomination to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, following Senate Republicans’ successful effort last week to block an up-or-down floor vote (see Gavel Grab).

“Goodwin Liu would have brought extraordinary credentials, great intellect, and an inspirational life story to the bench,” Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the White House, was quoted by Politico as saying.

“We remain disappointed he was not confirmed by the United States Senate but are confident he has a brilliant future. This administration will continue to work diligently to nominate judicial candidates from diverse backgrounds with mainstream views who respect the rule of law.”

When Senate Democrats could not muster enough votes to force an up-or-down vote on Liu’s nomination, it represented the first successful filibuster of a judicial nomination since 2005. Liu, 40 and a law professor at the University of California-Berkeley, was scorched by some conservatives over what they considered extremist liberal views, although some other conservatives spoke out in his support.

“In light of last week’s unsuccessful cloture vote … I respectfully ask that you withdraw my nomination from further consideration by the United States Senate,” Liu wrote in a letter to President Obama. “With no possibility of an up-or-down vote on the horizon, my family and I have decided that it is time for us to regain the ability to make plans for the future.”

“In addition, the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit has noted the ‘desperate need for judges’ to fill current vacancies, and it is now clear that continuing my nomination will not address that need any time soon,” he wrote.

His withdrawal came as a victory for Senate Republicans and a setback for the White House, liberal interest groups and Asian American civil rights advocates, a Los Angeles Times article reported.

Tina Matsuoka, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, a Justice at Stake partner, said Republicans had misrepresented Liu’s words and turned to filibusters that they  “sorrowfully, and loudly, bemoaned during the previous administration,” according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “I hope the President accepts Mr. Liu’s request so we can finally move forward with a consensus nominee who reflects the mainstream of American views, respects the rule of law and the Constitution, and has an appropriate judicial temperament. As I have pledged and demonstrated, I will work with the President and the Majority to confirm such a nominee.”

In a Chicago Tribune commentary, law professor Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago lamented judicial filibusters as signifying “a world of partisanship run amok.” Gavel Grab thanks the How Appealing blog for this and several other links tied to Liu’s withdrawal of his nomination.

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