Senate Republicans have successfully filibustered the nomination of Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is the first time since 2005 that senators have rejected a judicial nomination, and while it is not common practice, Republicans argued that Liu’s controversial record constituted “extraordinary circumstances.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said that given the politically charged nature of Liu’s testimonies and written work, he should “run for Senate, [not] sit on the court.”
The final vote on cloture was 52 to 43, with one senator (Orrin Hatch of Utah) voting “present” — well short of the 60 votes required to end a filibuster. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) was the only Republican to vote yes, while Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) was the only Democrat to vote no. Senators Bauchus, Hutchison, Moran, and Vitter did not vote.
“The filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check.”
– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (May 18, 2005)