Friday, May 20, 2011

Senate Rejects A Loon, er, A Liu

In an historic vote, the Senate has rejected Barack Obama’s nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals bench. Goodwin Liu, leftist law professor at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall was denied the seat based on his lack of genuine judicial qualifications and extremist views on the Constitution. Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) had pushed for cloture so that the Senate could give Liu “the vote he deserves.” Well—he got it.

The vote was 52-43 against cloture. Goodwin Liu is the most doctrinaire, social-engineering, “living constitution” advocate yet put forward by this or any other administration. I have discussed the nomination twice before on this blog, and for a full background on him, go to: A Perfect Nominee and Nomination Drones On. Today I just want to add to and amplify my prior remarks to demonstrate just how far Barack Obama is willing to go to “fundamentally transform America” and its most vital document, the Constitution.

Liu received a rating of “well qualified” from the left-leaning American Bar Association. In doing so, it ignored its own rules. Under the current ABA standards, Liu should have earned a simple “qualified” at best. In order to get a “well qualified" rating, the nominee must have at least twelve years experience in the practice of law and substantial courtroom experience. Though experience as a judge is not required, the highest rating has rarely been given to any nominee who did not have at least some judicial experience. Liu has only been out of law school for twelve years and a member of the State Bar for less than eleven. He practiced law for less than two years and has almost no courtroom experience. He has zero experience as a judge.

Liu has participated in exactly one trial, and his legal practice was otherwise comprised entirely of writing appellate briefs. Since Liu does have some experience in the area of appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals deals with appellate law rather than trial law, that should have gained him a maximum rating of “qualified.” More subtle than that, however, is the fact that trial experience gives a future judge a much better idea of where trial facts separate from legal analysis. Lower courts and juries are the triers of fact, but there are times when facts and law are inextricably intertwined, and sorting them out becomes the role of the appellate court judge. Liu has no discernible record that would indicate that he can make those distinctions.

Another subtle but extremely important part of rating judicial nominees is the vital “judicial temperament” criterion. Liu has demonstrated a complete lack of such temperament. Rather than disagree in a lawyerlike manner with conservative justices Roberts and Alito, he launched personal attacks from a left wing political point of view. He was particularly rabid when he testified against the nomination of Justice Alito saying on the record: “Alito’s vision of America is one where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy, where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, where the FBI may install a camera where you sleep, where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man absent analysis showing discrimination.”

The vast majority of Liu’s positives are purely academic. He is a brilliant if wrong-headed debater on the Constitution. He’s a Rhodes Scholar graduate of Stanford, with an MA from Oxford University and his JD from Yale. It’s hard to argue with those academic credentials. He’s a good politician as evidenced by his position as associate dean of a top-tier law school at a very young age. But just like reading Mechanics Illustrated doesn’t make you a good mechanic, reading law books doesn’t make you a good lawyer, let alone a good judge. Experience in the real world of law is simply an essential ingredient.

But there is also the simple fact that Liu is so far off the mainstream chart of legal views that he needed to be treated as that “extraordinary circumstance” in which a sitting President is denied his choice for a position on the federal bench. Here’s a short and non-exhaustive laundry list of Liu’s radical views:

He is unalterably opposed to the death penalty (for minorities, at least).

He supports the creation of constitutional fundamental rights to gay marriage, welfare, goods, education, shelter, subsistence and (surprise) health care.

He advocates the active use of foreign law in constitutional decisions and has called Americans "parochial" for believing that our Constitution is superior to the laws of other nations.

He believes in perpetual imposition of racial quotas to obtain “just” results.

He believes that all criminal convictions should be subject to appellate review if the defendant was black and the jury was other than black, even if there is no evidence whatsoever of racial bias.


And then there’s an even more practical reason for rejecting Liu. He is very young. That in itself is not the issue. But seats on appellate federal benches are frequent stepping-stones to the Supreme Court. A judge with his radical views could be influencing decisions for thirty or forty years (he’s only thirty-nine). As a Ninth Circuit Appellate Justice he would bring both his personal leftist judicial views and those of the much-reversed Ninth Circuit to the highest (and final) court in the land.

Even if Barack Obama is rejected by the voters in 2012, a Goodwin Liu on the Supreme Court would have carried the Obama flag into the constitutional arena long after many of us have gone on to our eternal reward. After allowing Obama a number of “iffy” judicial nominees, the Senate has at last said “this far, and no farther.” Democrats, including both Senators from California, are threatening that this vote will come back to haunt those who voted against cloture. After the murderous treatment Bush nominees had to put up with, I would call this chickens coming home to roost. How much worse could Democrats treat future Republican nominees than they already have?

26 comments:

Patti said...

i have trouble with folks who seek judicial seats, yet have no real world experience. (hell, i have trouble with folks who seek the presidency under the same circumstances.) he has ONE trial under his belt? that's like wanting to be a librarian after you've read just one book. throw in his extreme leftist coloring (RACIST!) and all the alarms are sounding. thank goodness the senate felt the same way.

Tennessee Jed said...

what Borks around comes around! ;-)

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I heard that Obama did in fact plan to advance Liu to the Supreme Court from the Ninth Circuit at the first opportunity. This is a definite win for Republicans, no matter how you slice it. Speaking of which, guess with GOP senator was the only one to vote for cloture? (The answer may or may not rhyme with "Meesa Nurfowski.") Also, I think another plus of this is with attention focused on Obama's outrageous Israel comments right now, news of Republicans "stonewalling the confirmation process" or something won't get much traction.

(Very clever, Jed!)

Tennessee Jed said...

Rav - that speech was the worst toss under the bus I think I've ever heard. 2012 can't come soon enough since it is our first chance to get this guy out of the WH.

AndrewPrice said...

This was a good thing and it is just more evidence of the Republicans finally getting it. They need to cut people like this off at the knees and keep them from getting power and keep them from building the kinds of resumes that let them move on to bigger and more dangerous things.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: We've all heard the expression "it sounded good in theory." That's what you learn from books. Putting theory into practice generally involves experience to make the theory work or demonstrate that the theory isn't practical. Law school professors come up with all kinds of theories, but it's the practice that makes a good lawyer into a good judge. So even though trial experience is not necessarily the road to good judicial performance, it sure as hell helps.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: All the conservatives on the Judiciary Committee should have that phrase posted boldly next to their names.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: Advancing Liu to the Supreme Court was somewhere between good speculation and intelligent guessing. As I mentioned in the article and the earlier posts on Liu, he is extremely intelligent and one of those intellectuals who can twist the arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a legal pin. Obama is no legal scholar despite his pretensions, but he know one when he sees one. Liu has the "right" political philosophy and combines it with a knowledge of arcane law and legal theory that Obama and Holder can only dream of. We have temporarily dodged that bullet.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I'm really wondering what is going to come out of the White House after Caliph Obama meets with Netanyahu today.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Should I call our Great Leader and suggest another UC Berkeley Law professor for the spot? Namely, John Yoo.

Tam said...

I'm glad Liu got "the vote he deserved." I'm also glad to see some people standing up for Americans.

I'm also interested and curious to see what goes down with Netanyahu. I am confident that he will stand his ground. I hope he gives Dear Leader what for, and shows Obama what a real leader looks ike. Not that Obama would learn anything from it. I just hope he (Netanyahu) does not take this lying down.

And, 536 more days.

T-Rav said...

Frankly, I think Netanyahu should have given Obama the finger and just not come to DC today. That would have made the value of the Teleprompter-in-Chief's words crystal clear to everyone.

Writer X said...

Oh, happy day. I hope this is a strong sign of things to come. But with Obama, Reid, et al at the helm, doubtful.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: Or as we say in the law, "he got all the process he was due."

I don't think Netanyahu will mince any words. I notice that some of the lefty pundits are already back-pedaling over the 1967 borders agenda. The current leftspeak is that Obama wasn't suggesting that Israel accept the borders, but that it's merely a starting point for negotiations. Well, I believe that. It's the starting point for negotiating Israel back to its 1948 borders. There is quite simply nothing to negotiate so long as the goal of the "Palestinians" is to drive Israel into the sea.

My dream, which will die aborning, is that Netanyahu will tell Caliph Obama that not only will he not give up the territory, but he's decided that Israel is going to take back the portions of Jerusalem now in Muslim hands for the purpose of protecting endangered Jewish and Christian holy sites. They're going to call "Monster Movers" to move the Dome of the Rock to Jordan so that they can restore the Temple Mount.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: Netanyahu is a warrior and a gutsy leader. He wouldn't give that sniveling backstabber the satisfaction of pulling back from the meeting.

LawHawkRFD said...

WriterX: I wrote a fairly optimistic view of the cloture vote. But you notice, I generally have a "for now" caveat built in to any defeat for the Obamists. I've been doing that ever since I declared Obamacare a dead issue, only to have it arise from the grave like Dracula. Liu will not be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit. But Obama will be looking for revenge. Let's hope there are no vacancies on the Supreme Court during the rest of his reign.

patti said...

law: not only is netanyahu a badass warrior, he's a hottie to boot. i know, i just lowered the level of conversation here, but meohmyoh...

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Netanyahu is making mincemeat out of Obama's namby-pambyisms. He has repeated the phrase "it's not going to happen" three times when referring to the 1967 borders. Right now, he's giving Obama a very public history lesson. God love Benjamin Netanyahu.

LawHawkRFD said...

BTW: Obama once again referred in his remarks to the "Arab spring." Is anybody else as sick of hearing that expression as I am? It's like comparing it to the "Prague spring," where thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators helped bring down an oppressive communist regime. The "Arab spring" is more like a crocodile springing out of the water to grab the throat of an unwary wildebeest. Wouldn't "Muslim Brotherhood revolution" be more apt? The violence in the Middle East and North Africa is a battle between bad Muslims and worse Muslims, and Israel is caught in the middle of it while Obama makes pretty speeches. It sounds more like the dead of winter during the little ice age than it does like spring.

StanH said...

Get’em Bebe! He’s not bowing to the boy king…wonderful.

You’ve had Liu’s number from the start Lawhawk. Kudos to our guys, and those at risk democrats running for cover.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I follow the goings-on at the two University of California law schools in the Bay Area (Boalt Hall in Berkeley and Hastings in San Francisco) for obvious reasons. So I've been a friend of John Yoo and an enemy of Goodwin Liu for some time before either gained national recognition. Selfish, but useful. For once, my concentration on those two schools paid off.

The only thing Netanyahu failed to do at the conference was to punch Obama in the face while shouting "F--- you, you little twerp." But he definitely got his point across. LOL

StanH said...

Now that would be diplomacy I’d like to see…lol!

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I call it "the iron fist in the steel glove." To hell with the velvet. That's real diplomacy.

AndrewPrice said...

Speaking of Obama and the Middle East, did you see that Obama has decided to give $2 billion of our dollars to Egypt? Gee thanks. When do I get my share?

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Not to mention, who's going to end up with that money? $2 billion dollars would at least make a dent in the cost of living increases that haven't been granted for two years to taxpayers who are now stuck with Social Security and no jobs.

LawHawkRFD said...

I just remembered that China delivered 50 fighter jets in exchange for Pakistan's friendship and assistance in stealing our stealth helicopter technology from the bin Laden bye-bye compound. As long as we're throwing money around, why don't we just send 50 fighters to India and 50 to Israel. Let's see who surrounds whom.

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