Bench Memos

Re: Investigation First, Hearing Later

A follow-up to my documenting of the remarkable and inexplicable omissions from Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu’s response to the Senate questionnaire:

Today, Liu submitted to the Senate his fourth supplement of his Senate questionnaire response.  Specifically, Liu submitted a cover letter, a revised complete response to Question 12 of the Senate questionnaire (which covers published writings and public statements), and a separate 14-page list of “all items in the revised Question 12 answer … that were not included in prior submissions.”

By my quick count, the new list that Liu has just now provided the Senate includes a list of 67—yes, sixty-seven—speeches or talks that Liu had previously failed to identify.  For eight or so of those events, he has identified online video or audio recordings.  In addition, he has newly identified at least four video recordings of events which he had previously identified but for which he had previously provided no record.  The process of reviewing these video and audio recordings can be very time-consuming.  (I’ve yet to do a survey of the recordings, but the first one I checked into runs for over an hour.)

Liu’s new list also adds two new publications, three new communications with public bodies, and 16 new media interviews (plus new records of three interviews that he had previously identified).

In his cover letter, Liu offers his “sincere and humblest apology for the omissions in my original submission” and acknowledges the obvious fact that his initial efforts “were not sufficient.”  He also offers his assurance, “as forthrightly as I can, that none of the omissions in my original submission was intentional.”

Liu’s professed contrition and assurance would be more convincing if Liu were to volunteer that it makes no sense at this point, when there are so many new materials to review and when it’s far from clear that everything has been provided, to go ahead with the renoticed date for his hearing—next Friday, April 16. 

Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy’s squawking about his inability to ram through Liu’s hearing twelve days ago—a mere 28 days after his nomination—looks even more ridiculous.