Federal appellate nominee Goodwin Liu apologized again this morning for leaving materials off a U.S. Senate background questionnaire, and he said his disagreements with Republican Supreme Court nominees were not personal.
Liu, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, is appearing for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His nomination has emerged as the most prominent fight of the Obama administration over judicial nominees, with the exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination, in large part because of Liu’s many academic and popular writings and his work for liberal legal groups such as the American Constitution Society.
Liu (above) addressed the omissions from his questionnaire when asked about them this morning by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a supporter of Liu’s who is chairing the hearing.
“I take very seriously my obligations to the committee and I want to be forthcoming and complete in the information I provide to you,” Liu said. “If I had the opportunity to do things differently, I certainly would have done things differently.”
Liu added that much of his record is transparent. “For better or worse, Madame Chair, I have lived most of my professional life in public, and my record is an open book,” he said. Liu has been a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2003.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) quizzed Liu about his testimony before the Judiciary Committee in January 2006, when Liu spoke at the request of Democrats during Justice Samuel Alito Jr.’s confirmation hearing. Liu told Sessions that his 2006 testimony (PDF) was very limited and he said he has the “highest regard for Justice Alito’s intellect and his career.”
“He and I share an immigrant family background. He, too, I think came from humble origins and attended public school and the made the most of opportunities,” said Liu, whose parents came to the United States from Taiwan.
Liu made similar comments today about Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., whom he was critical of in 2005. “I would be the first to acknowledge that the chief justice has an extraordinary record, both as a lawyer and as a judge,” he said.
Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi.