Sat 7 Aug, 2010
Tags: Barack Obama, Goodwin Liu, Judicial nominations, Reparations for slavery, Traces of the Trade, U.S. Senate
President Obama’s nomination of controversial law professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has been blocked by Senate Republicans and returned to the White House.
Professor Liu became the subject of controversy in late March, in part due to remarks he made on a panel convened to discuss our documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. That evening, in response to the topic of reparations for slavery, Liu observed that any effort to compensate for our nation’s history of slavery and racial discrimination would inevitably require trade-offs which would diminish the privileges enjoyed by people who benefit from that history today.
Liu was nominated to be an appellate judge on the 9th Circuit in February, and experienced a contentious hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April, where he was questioned intensely about his academic writings and judicial philosophy. His nomination was eventually approved by the committee on a 12-7 vote, but because of Republican opposition, had not yet been scheduled for a vote.
Ordinarily, when the Senate goes into recess for 30 days, senators agree to carry over pending nominations until their return. In this case, however, Professor Liu’s nomination was one of several to which Senate Republicans objected, and those nominations were allowed to expire.
A White House source has told the San Francisco Chronicle that President Obama plans to re-nominate Liu when Congress returns from recess next month.