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Calif. High Court Nominee Too Partial, Conservatives Say

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By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter
July 27, 2011|4:12 pm

Conservatives expressed disappointment with Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to select failed federal appeals court nominee Goodwin Liu to serve in the state Supreme Court.

Liu, whose earlier nomination was blocked by Senate Republicans, would be the most inexperienced, liberal, agenda-driven member of the court, they say. However, they believe he will not pose a serious challenge to the state marriage amendment case.

Despite having no judicial experience, the UC Berkeley law professor was selected Tuesday to join the state high court's seven-member panel.

"Professor Liu is an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher," Brown said. "He is a nationally-recognized expert on constitutional law and has experience in private practice, government service and in the academic community."

However, SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson says Liu is a left-wing ideologue who would be more liberal than the other state justices and even his predecessor, Carlos Moreno.

"Goodwin Liu is a radical, liberal, political activist who would impose his own values on everyone else by legislating from the bench," said Thomasson.

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Liu was President Barack Obama's pick for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, conservatives blocked his nomination declaring that, based on his writings, he is a liberal activist.

Liu has written critically about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

He wrote in 2005, "Whatever one may think of the death penalty, Alito's record should give pause to all Americans committed to basic fairness and due process of law" because his "opinions show a troubling tendency to tolerate serious errors in capital proceedings." Liu also testified against Alito's confirmation.

He later said he regretted some of his remarks about Alito.

Lui also opposes the death penalty, a punishment conservative Christians say the government has the biblical right to carry out, and supports gay marriage.

Policy group Concerned Women for America says he previously sent an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court in which he and others argued that a state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Brown contacted Liu shortly after he was rejected by the Senate. Brown, who refused to defend Proposition 8 – California’s amendment banning gay marriage – as state attorney general, told the Bellingham Herald he considers the failed nomination as a plus.

"He's been well vetted. He's been attacked by the best and sharpest politicians in the country. That was an unusual predicate for examining his credentials," he said.

Brown said of Republican objections, "The dysfunctionality in Washington and the blockage at all costs by the more extreme Republicans, I don't think that should be given a lot of intellectual weight."

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew D. Staver, meanwhile, called the nomination “a terrible decision."

Staver noted that three of Brown's state Supreme Court nominees were recalled during his first governorship from 1975 to 1983.

Ed Whalen, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said Liu is "not well-suited for judicial office of any sort."

Both Staver and Whalen told The Christian Post that Liu's activist streak makes him unfit to serve impartially in a judicial capacity.

If approved to join the California state Supreme Court, Liu could help decide whether Prop. 8 supporters have the standing to defend the ballot measure in court. The measure defines state marriage as being between a man and a woman only.

Thomasson expects that Liu will do his best to deny the supporters the right to defend the voter-approved marriage amendment. However, he pointed out that Liu's predecessor was the only Democrat.

"The retired Carlos Moreno ... was pro-homosexual marriage all the way. So the numbers would stay the same," he stated.

Confirmation hearings are scheduled for Aug. 31.

 

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