Earlier this year, the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy hosted a symposium on “Hyper-Partisanship and the Law.” The journal editors graciously invited me to join an august panel on partisanship in the judiciary that included George Mason University Law School’s Todd Zywicki and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Rachel Brand. (Brand ran the DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy, which is responsible for vetting and advising the president on judicial nominees, from 2005 to 2007.)
This morning I outlined the stakes of today’s seminal cloture vote on Goodwin’s Liu’s nomination to the Ninth Circuit. Well, now we have a result: cloture failed 52-43, with Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) joining all voting Republicans except Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) against cloture. Three Republicans plus Max Baucus (D-MT) were absent, while Orrin Hatch (R-UT) voted present because of his previous strong position against filibusters.
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 ap
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing for the nomination of 39-year-old Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Liu’s confirmation would compromise the judiciary’s check on legislative overreach and push the courts not only to ratify such constitutional abominations as the individual health insurance mandate but to establish socialized health care as a legal mandate itself.
The increase in chatter in Washington about Justice Souter’s replacement is a clear signal that pundits have gotten about as much mileage as they can over speculation and want to have an actual nominee to dissect.
Even though the administration has been evaluating candidates since the inauguration (and before), there’s no real reason for President Obama to announce a replacement before the Court’s term ends in late June.
With no hard news to report and the Supreme Court not in session — they’ll release opinions in the remaining cases on successive Mondays (plus the Tuesday after Memorial Day) beginning May 18 — Washington is abuzz with speculation over potential high court nominees. While Senator Orrin Hatch earlier this week said he expected an announcement this week, the White House is far more likely to take its time vetting candidates, with no real pressure to announce a pick until the Court recesses at the end of June.