Senate debate on the health care reconciliation bill forced Democrats to postpone yesterday’s hearing for Goodwin Liu, President Obama’s controversial nominee to the Ninth Circuit (which covers the western states). Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy accused Republicans of “exploiting parliamentary tactics and Senate Rules” – GOP senators have stopped consenting to afternoon hearings for the duration of the health care debate – to delay Liu’s appointment “at the expense of American justice.”
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Despite the postponement, Liu’s confirmation is proceeding at breakneck speed. His hearing was scheduled only 28 days after his nomination, while the average Obama appointee waited 48 days for a hearing and the average Bush appointee waited 135 days. And Senate Democrats themselves cancelled all hearings Tuesday afternoon so they could attend the ObamaCare signing ceremony at the White House.
Moreover, Leahy’s intent is not so much to urge the timely vetting of judicial nominees, but to further the government’s Blitzkrieg takeover of civil society – before the Democrats’ congressional majorities turn into pumpkins this November. As Liu stated in a January interview with NPR, “now we have the opportunity to actually get our ideas and the progressive vision of the Constitution and of law and policy into practice.”
According to Liu, that progressive vision includes constitutional rights to health care, education, housing, and welfare payments. Liu states outright that “rights to government assistance” are “essential to liberty.” He defends this contradiction by claiming that “experiences of other nations suggest that the existence of such rights is compatible with constitutionalism.”
Liu’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee thus concerns much more than a seat on a federal appellate court (just when you thought the Ninth Circuit couldn’t get more radical). The Washington Post has noted that the hearing might serve as a test of Goodwin Liu as a Supreme Court nominee. With so much potentially at stake, postponing Liu’s hearing to ensure it receives the Senate’s undivided attention – and any other legal method of stopping or delaying by even one day his ascension to the bench – serves “American justice” rather than betraying it.