Bench Memos

Upcoming Vote on Liu Nomination

The word is that Senate majority leader Harry Reid will file a cloture petition tonight on the controversial nomination of Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit. That means, as I understand it, that the vote on cloture would take place on Thursday.

A selected repository of my writings on the Liu nomination is available at

For the reasons that I have explained, I believe that the Liu nomination is one that Senate Republicans—together, one hopes, with a few sensible Democrats—must work to defeat.

I continue to hold the view that I’ve expressed since the outset of Bench Memos in 2005—that the filibuster of judicial nominees is constitutionally permissible but a bad practice. It’s clear, however, that unilateral disarmament by Republicans would do nothing to deter Democrats from filibustering Republican nominees. As with the independent-counsel statute, the only sensible choice for Republican senators who want to get rid of the filibuster in the long run is to employ it against very bad judicial nominees by President Obama.

In sum, it’s time for Republican senators to defeat cloture on the Liu nomination.

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