Senate GOP Filibusters Goodwin Liu

That's the title of Politico's breaking news coverage. It's written by Meredith Shiner. Senate Republicans staged the first successful filibuster of a judicial nominee since 2005 on Thursday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration on the long-stalled nomination of Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Only one Republican joined Democrats Thursday in supporting Liu, who needed 60 votes to break a filibuster. Meanwhile, 52 Democrats voted 'yes' to open debate on the 39-year-old University of California, Berkeley professor's nomination. One Democrat voted no. The final vote was 52-43. The filibuster will be met with disappointment from both progressives and Asian-American groups who advocated for Liu and hoped to see him seated on the Western court that covers a region of the country with a significant Asian-American population. Liu even received the support from some prominent conservative legal figures, including Ken Starr and John Yoo. Some Democrats fear the blocked nomination will set a new precedent. During the George W. Bush administration, a bipartisan group of 14 senators agreed that they would vote to open debate on every judicial nominee that came through the Senate except for in "extraordinary circumstances." "If this is not an extraordinarily well qualified person, I don't know who will be," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said moments before the vote. "I'm afraid the phrase 'extraordinary circumstances' will suffer great damage by this action." Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the lone Republican to support Liu on Thursday. "Judicial nominee Goodwin Liu blocked by Senate Republicans," is the initial Washington Post report by Paul Kane and Felicia Sonmez. Setting a new precedent, Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the nomination of President Obama's nominee to a high-profile federal appellate court, formally reversing their past opposition to filibusters for judicial nominations. On a 52-43 vote, law professor Goodwin Liu fell 8 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome the GOP filibuster to his nomination — the first time ever that Republicans had successfully filibustered a judicial nomination. All but one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), opposed ending debate on Liu's nomination to the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The Liu nomination, even more so than Obama's two picks for the Supreme Court in 2009 and 2010, prompted the full ideological rhetoric that has been commonplace in judicial nomination battles for the past 25 years. Democrats praised Liu's life story — the son of Taiwanese immigrants who became a Rhodes scholar and Supreme Court clerk — as an example of the American dream. Republicans, however, excoriated Liu's writings while serving as a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, saying he adopted a legal standard of "empathy" that encouraged judges to try to view cases through the perspective of the people appearing before them rather than through a strict reading of the law. And: Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) told reporters Wednesday that, should Liu be filibustered, it would fully reignite the battles over the federal bench and would assure that Democrats would do the same to the next Republican president's nominees. "No good deed goes unpunished around here," Leahy quipped. Earlier coverage begins at the link.

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