Republican filibuster blocks Liu for appeals court

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“The partisan filibuster of Goodwin Liu’s nomination is another example of Republicans’ shifting standards on judicial nominations,” Mr. Leahy said.

Mr. Reid, during a floor speech before the vote, indirectly called out several Republican senators for their past support of letting judicial nominees receive straight up-or-down votes.

Republicans brushed aside the Democrats’ claim that they were flip-flopping on their stance on the filibuster, saying Mr. Liu represented an extraordinary and egregious case.

“Given his lack of temperament, his poor judgment and his activist view of the role of judges and the law, I’m left with no choice but to fight Professor Liu’s confirmation with every tool at my disposal,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and member of the SenateJudiciary Committee.

One Republican senator, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, voted “present” when roll was called on Mr. Liu’s nomination. Mr. Hatch had indicated that he opposed the nomination, but a spokeswoman for the senator said “he has always opposed the judicial filibuster.”

The Liu debate extended far beyond Capitol Hill, as liberal, conservative and ethnic-minority groups saw the nomination fight as a crucial test of the president’s ability to leave his mark on the nation’s judiciary.
Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, said Thursday was “an extremely sad day for American justice.”

“The vote to sustain the filibuster relied almost exclusively on dishonest and distorted attacks on Professor Liu’s record and character,” she said.

But Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council Action group, praised the Senate’s action, saying it “represents a huge setback for the Obama administration’s effort to put a permanent, liberal stamp on the court.”

“If there were ever a time to draw the line on judicial activism, this was it,” Mr. Perkins said.
Also Thursday, the president announced that he was sending the Senate three more nominations for district court judges.

Mr. Obama tapped Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. for a spot in the Southern District of New York, James Rodney Gilstrap for a judgeship in the Eastern District of Texas, and Judge Gina Marie Groh for the bench in the Northern District of West Virginia.

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