GOP Renews Attacks Against Controversial Court Pick

Posted April 6, 2010 at 10:41am

Updated: 11:53 a.m.

Senate Judiciary Republicans on Tuesday renewed their attacks on federal appellate court nominee Goodwin Liu, accusing the controversial nominee of submitting incomplete answers to the panel’s questionnaire.

“At best, this nominee’s extraordinary disregard for the Committee’s constitutional role demonstrates incompetence, at worst it creates the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his more controversial work from the committee,” Republicans wrote in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Republicans charge the omissions are unprecedented, saying Liu failed to disclose “an extraordinary” 117 items from his record. According to the GOP letter, Liu failed to include: a commencement speech to the University of California-Berkeley law school, text from a panel discussion on the 2008 election and the Supreme Court, his participation in presentations on affirmative action and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, as well as a conference on school funding.

“These are no minor omissions,” the Republican letter states. “Not only will the committee require more time to review these new items, but as we are sure you will agree, the committee must conduct further research to confirm that there are no other missing items.”

In recent weeks, Republicans have increased their criticism of Liu’s nomination to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by painting him as an extreme pick for the federal bench; they also charged that Liu would use his position on the court to advocate for universal health care. Additionally, they have sought to paint the University of California-Berkeley law professor as an activist judge, and fear he may ultimately be tapped for the Supreme Court. The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Liu, 39, would be the only Asian-American on the federal circuit court, although Denny Chin could win the honor if he is confirmed beforehand to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Liu is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary panel on April 16 for a confirmation hearing. The hearing was originally scheduled for March 24, but the date was pushed back after Republicans refused to give consent for committees to meet during the health care reconciliation debate before the spring recess.