Senate Republicans continued today to express objections to federal appellate pick Goodwin Liu, delaying a committee vote on his nomination for at least another week.
Liu, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, has drawn as much opposition as any of President Barack Obama's other choices for the federal bench, and he is shaping up to be a test of Democrats' ability to push through controversial lower-court nominees.
The Liu nomination was on the agenda today for the Senate Judiciary Committee, until Republicans exercised their right under committee rules to delay a vote by one meeting. The vote and a committee debate are likely to occur May 13.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the committee’s top Republican, said he and his colleagues are still reviewing Liu’s record — including his answers (PDF) to written follow-up questions from senators. “We submitted a number of questions, and it appears that they all haven’t been fully answered,” Sessions said after today’s meeting.
Ed Whelan, a former U.S. Justice Department official who writes for National Review Online, has criticized Liu for ducking meaningful responses to the senators’ follow-up questions, though it is not uncommon for nominees to avoid specifics in such responses.
Before Liu’s confirmation hearing April 16, he acknowledged that his responses to the initial background questionnaire were incomplete. Democratic and Republican senators sparred over whether he had been more thorough than past judicial nominees.
Sessions also said today that Liu’s nomination would require “substantial floor debate” in the Senate, but he stopped short of promising a filibuster.
A law professor and associate dean at the University of California, Berkeley, Liu has written and spoken widely about affirmative action, education policy, and constitutional law. He’s been active in liberal legal groups such as the American Constitution Society, and he testified in 2006 against the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito Jr., drawing the ire of GOP senators.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled Ed Whelan's name.