GOP blocks Goodwin Liu; first time an Obama judicial nominee has lost in Senate

In a Politico opinion piece Wednesday, Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer under Republican President George W. Bush, wrote, “[Liu] is an excellent choice and should be confirmed.” Painter predicted, however, “I do not expect all Republican senators to vote to confirm Liu — though I would do so.”

Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican,  cited multiple reasons for opposing Liu, chief among them, “his controversial writings and speeches and an activist judicial philosophy.” Liu, he said, supports social and economic policies that are “clearly out of the mainstream,” including overturning bans on gay marriages – like the one being debated in the Minnesota Legislature – and supported affirmative action programs.

“If confirmed, I am concerned that Mr. Liu will deeply divide the Ninth Circuit and move that court even further to the left, if that’s possible.” he said. “If confirmed, his activist ideology and judicial philosophy would seep well beyond the Berkeley campus, and that seems like that’s difficult.”

Thursday’s cloture motion was defeated on a largely party-line vote, with only one Republican, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, voting to end debate.

Devin Henry is an intern in MinnPost’s Washington Bureau.

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