March 05, 2010

Taking Goodwin Liu at His Word

Writing in Bloomberg shortly after George Bush announced the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court Goodwin Liu, recent Obama nominee to the Ninth Circuit, wrote
There's no doubt Roberts has a brilliant legal mind. Twice Harvard-educated, he has argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court and since 2003 has served on the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. But a Supreme Court nominee must be evaluated on more than legal intellect.

Because he would sit with life tenure on the nation's highest court, it's fair and essential to ask how he would interpret the Constitution and its basic values. Americans deserve real answers to this question, and it should be the central focus of the Senate confirmation process. ...

His record suggests that he has a vision for American law -- a right-wing vision antagonistic to important rights and protections we currently enjoy -- and that he is not afraid to flex judicial muscles to achieve it.

I may be wrong, and I hope I am. But we won't know unless Roberts tells the Senate and the American people in the weeks ahead his honest and considered beliefs about the Constitution he is sworn to uphold.(emphasis added)
If Justice Sotomayor's confirmation process is any indication, Americans will get a healthy dose of conservative judicial philosophy from Mr. Liu. But I welcome Liu proving me wrong and seeing how Americans respond to the liberal view of justice. My guess is there was a reason that Sotomayor declined her opportunity to make that case to the American people.

Liu also gets out his conservative decoder ring to determine that "`free enterprise,''private ownership of property,' and `limited government.' ... are code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections." I will be sure to fine tune my liberal decoder ring for Mr. Liu's testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee.

h/t to Ed Whelan who has more on Liu at Bench Memos.

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