As anticipated by my lengthier blog post this morning, Professor Goodwin Liu’s nomination to be a federal appellate judge has been successfully filibustered by Senate Republicans opposed to his judicial philosophy.

The vote was 52-43 in favor of voting on the nomination, but the motion to invoke cloture and take an up-0r-down vote on Liu required the support of at least 60 senators.

In all likelihood, this vote means that Liu’s nomination is effectively dead. This was almost certainly a foregone conclusion, and the cloture motion here was being used by Senate Democrats as a way of putting Republican opponents on record as filibustering this nomination before next year’s elections.

For more on Liu’s nomination, including the role of our organization and its PBS documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, see here.

At this hour, the U.S. Senate is meeting in executive session to debate the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

If Liu’s supporters are able to muster 60 votes in favor of cloture, which is scheduled to be voted on around 2:00pm ET, this will end the threatened filibuster and result in an up-or-down vote on the nomination itself.

The situation does not look promising for Professor Liu, as three key senators who believe that filibusters should be rare—John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)—have said they will vote to extend debate indefinitely, thus filibustering the nomination.

After the jump, I discuss the controversial video of Liu speaking at one of our events, and what role it does (and should) play in his nomination.

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“Quick Takes” offers a mix of news, opinion, and research related to race, privilege, and inequality.

Today’s “Quick Takes” includes Cornel West on Barack Obama, CNN anchor Don Lemon coming out of the closet, legacy admissions at Harvard, discrimination against farmers and Ivy League grads, and Goodwin Liu’s nomination for the Ninth Circuit.

Readers are encouraged to share these stories and to offer their thoughts at the end of the post.

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The White House announced late yesterday that President Obama has re-nominated Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Liu’s nomination became controversial when it was discovered that he had addressed the subject of reparations for slavery on a panel following a special screening of our documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, in Washington, D.C. in 2008. Liu’s scholarship has also drawn considerable attention for its intellectual heft and for what conservative senators have declared to be a left-leaning philosophical approach to the law.

Professor Liu was originally nominated to the appellate judgeship in February, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 12-7 vote. His nomination expired, however, when the Senate recessed in August without having held a full vote.

Professor Liu’s nomination, along with several others who were re-nominated yesterday, must now pass the Senate Judiciary Committee again. A committee meeting has been scheduled for Thursday at which these nominations will be discussed.

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.

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I had hoped that the imbroglio over Harry Reid’s remarks on race would have died down by now, but unfortunately that is not the case.

Those who have read my previous post about Reid’s remarks know that I don’t see any reason why Reid should resign as Senate majority leader, or even why his remarks should be considered scandalous.

I do believe, however, that this situation, unlike the dispute between Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley, genuinely constitutes a “teachable moment.” This is why I’m not surprised that the public back-and-forth about what Reid said has continued so vehemently, and why I want to take the time to elaborate on several issues I raised on Monday.

Specifically, I want to say more about the truth of what Reid said about how people respond to skin tone and dialect, elaborate on the history and meaning of the word “Negro,” and say one or two things about how even plain truths can be sensitive to discuss in the context of race.

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Yesterday, the blogosphere erupted in a firestorm of controversy over remarks by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2008 that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was “light-skinned” and spoke “with no Negro dialect.”

This is the second time in recent weeks that Senator Reid has found himself in hot water over issues relating to slavery and race. Last month, Reid drew controversy for comparing Republican opponents of health care reform to those who resisted abolishing slavery.

This time, he is facing calls from Republicans to step down as majority leader because of ill-considered remarks about the leader of his own party.

Reid’s comments were revealed in a new book about the 2008 presidential campaign, entitled Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Pain, and the Race of a Lifetime, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. In the book, the authors say that while Reid was officially neutral in the primary fight between Obama and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, in private he was “unequivocal” in his encouragement of Obama:

He was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.

This passage from the book appears to have been reported first by The Atlantic on Friday, and Senator Reid apologized for his choice of words on Saturday.

What, exactly, is this controversy about?

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Harry ReidSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been taking heat since yesterday for his remarks on the Senate floor comparing the opponents of health care reform to those who opposed ending slavery.

As I’ll explain below, I believe the criticism over Reid’s remarks is misplaced at best, and political gamesmanship at worst. However, I also think his comment was not merely impolitic, but an unfortunate contribution to our overheated political climate and, more importantly, mischaracterizes our nation’s history on slavery and race.

I am saddened at Reid’s perpetration of a damaging historical myth about our nation’s involvement in slavery, and as the sesquicentennial of the Civil War approaches, I believe it is imperative that we combat such false narratives about our nation’s past.

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The U.S. Senate has approved a measure which would apologize to Native Americans, on behalf of the people of the United States, for a history of official misdeeds by the federal government and “many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect”by U.S. citizens.

The apology takes the form of an amendment to the 2010 defense appropriations bill, and would require the House and Senate to concur on a version of the appropriations bill which includes the amendment before it would take effect.

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Senator Ted Kennedy

It was announced overnight that Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts has died at the age of 77.

Much has been said about the legacy of Senator Kennedy, the “liberal lion of the Senate,” and much more will be said today and in the the future. As President Obama said in a statement released during the night, during his career “virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.”

Here, I want to briefly highlight some of the ways in which Senator Kennedy has been a leading voice on civil rights for the last 45 years, repeatedly helping to redefine our understanding of the meaning of equality in areas such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and disabilities.

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