EDITORIAL: Obama’s injudicious nominees

Radical choices for federal judgeships deserve close Senate scrutiny

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President Obama’s push to stack the federal bench with left-wing ideologues is picking up steam. A questionable candidate approved by the SenateJudiciary Committee last month now faces a final confirmation vote in the full Senate. Susan L. Carney was tapped for a spot on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, despite having little courtroom experience.

@-Text.normal:As the general counsel for Yale Law School, Ms. Carney played a key role in “Shin gate,” an incident in which a Korean university was so embarrassed by Yale’s ethical lapse that it filed a $50 million lawsuit against the prestigious Ivy League institution. Dongguk University had contacted Yale in 2005 to verify a prospective hire’s claim to a doctoral degree from the college. Yale falsely confirmed the doctorate, causing a great deal of harm to the Korean university’s prestige. Ms. Carney, who was in charge of ethics, covered up her school’s mistake. Dongguk’s president wrote that Ms. Carney’s “inaccurate information of July 10, 2007 has ruined our 100-year-long built reputation.”

Another nominee already through the committee is D.C. Circuit choice Caitlin J. Halligan, whose record is particularly troubling on Second Amendment rights as she signed a brief arguing that gun manufacturers should be held liable in class-action lawsuits for harm inflicted when guns are used illegally. Then there’s Edward Chen, a nominee for a seat on the bench in California federal district court, who approved the idea of a judge’s “ethnic and racial background” being allowed to affect courtroom decisions. On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee approved Mr. Chen on a party-line, 10-8 vote, but his nomination has no business seeing the light of day on the Senate floor.

The most high-profile of these troubling nominees is University of California-Berkeley associate dean Goodwin H. Liu. He is scheduled for a committee vote for a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals spot at the end of the month. Mr. Liu is so radical that he has claimed there may be a constitutional right to welfare, that the judiciary should act as “a culturally situated interpreter of social meaning,” and that courts should look to “foreign authority” for guidance in applying laws in America.

These lifetime appointments could do a lifetime of damage to the Constitution. Senators have every good reason to bust their chops over their radical records. With America looking into the abyss because of government indiscipline, the time has come for extra senatorial scrutiny.

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