If extremism bars Dawn Johnsen from the Justice Department, then how much more should it disqualify someone from dispensing justice in the U.S. courts? That’s the question critics are asking President Obama of Goodwin Liu, his controversial nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court. Apart from his resume of radicalism (so objectionable that 42 of 58 district attorneys from his state of California formally opposed his nomination), Liu fueled the fire by refusing to submit more than 100 required documents to the Senate. Although he called it an oversight, Sen. Jeff Sessions said the neglect at best demonstrated “incompetence” and at worst created “the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his most controversial work.”
With less than two years of legal experience, Liu would help maintain the Ninth Circuit’s reputation as the laughingstock of the appellate system. Just one step removed from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit is no place for on-the-job training, particularly for someone whose idea of jurisprudence is rooted in “evolving social norms”—not the U.S. Constitution.
Liu’s nomination does create an interesting backdrop for the battle over Justice John Stevens’s replacement.
Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.