Over the last year and a half, I’ve blogged many times about Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, the controversial nominee to the Ninth Circuit, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over the western states and territories. Here’s an op-ed I published in the wake of that nomination – which happened to coincide with Obamacare’s enactment. And here’s a taste of what I wrote when Republicans filibustered Liu, which ultimately led him to withdraw:
I’m not going to weigh in here on the issue of whether judicial nominees ought to be filibustered in general … but if ever there were an “extraordinary circumstance” fitting into the Gang of 14 agreement that broke the judicial logjam under President Bush, this is it.
As I blogged last year, Liu is, without exaggeration, the most radical nominee to any position that President Obama has made. He believes in constitutional positive rights — not that the welfare state and all its accompanying entitlements (and then some) are a good idea, but that they are constitutionally required.
Well, today Liu finally reached the bench, being confirmed to the California Supreme Court. This is an unfortunate development for the citizens of California, to be sure, but, as I tweeted earlier today, at least Liu’s damage will be limited to that irredeemable state.
Of course, a state supreme court justice may be an attractive choice for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly given that we haven’t had a state jurist appointed since President Reagan tapped Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981. And Liu would be the first Asian-American on the highest court in the land, which could further tempt Barack Obama or a future Democratic president to select him. Such are the stakes for every presidential election until the 40-year-old Liu is deemed too old for elevation.