Bench Memos

California DAs Oppose Liu

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a majority of California District Attorneys have signed a letter opposing the nomination of Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In a letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the prosecutors attacked a paper Liu coauthored in 2005 that criticized death penalty decisions by Samuel Alito, then President George W. Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

The paper did not state its authors’ views of the death penalty, but said Alito’s opinions “show a disturbing tendency to tolerate serious errors in capital proceedings.” The district attorneys said Liu’s critique shows he would vote as a judge to overturn nearly every death sentence.

The document “demonstrates beyond serious question that his views on criminal law, capital punishment and the role of the federal courts in second-guessing state decisions are fully aligned” with an appeals court that is “far out of the judicial mainstream,” the prosecutors said. . . .

In response, the White House released a letter from the state’s prison guards union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, saying Liu would “further the cause of justice and follow the law and Constitution for all parties … including crime victims and peace officers.”

(Hat tip: How Appealing)

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.