WASHINGTON (May 25, 2011) – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association expressed disappointment over the missed opportunity to increase the diversity of the federal appellate courts by confirming the judicial nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu, who last week formally notified the White House of his request that his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court be withdrawn.
President Obama first nominated Professor Liu on February 24, 2010. Last Thursday, a motion to end debate and allow a vote on the nomination failed to pass in the Senate.
“[W]ith no possibility of a vote on my nomination on the horizon, my family and I have decided that it is time for us to recover the ability to make plans for the future,” Professor Liu wrote in his letter to the President. “In addition, the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit has noted the ‘desperate need for judges’ to fill current vacancies, and in light of last week’s unsuccessful cloture vote, it is clear that continuing my nomination will not address that need any time soon.”
“We thank Professor Liu for his willingness to serve, and applaud his courage and grace during the confirmation process,” said Paul O. Hirose, president of NAPABA. “During five hours of testimony, and through the submission of thousands of pages of documents, Professor Liu demonstrated who he is: an extremely intelligent and exceptional legal scholar and individual. His grace, courage, and equanimity throughout this nomination process has clearly demonstrated the qualities that would have made him an outstanding member of the judiciary. We deeply regret that Professor Liu was not given the chance to serve this country, and it is a true loss for our nation.”
While praising Professor Liu, NAPABA expressed disappointment in both Senate Republicans and Democrats for the failure to confirm Professor Liu. “Last week’s loss would not have occurred had Republicans considered Professor Liu’s record as a whole rather than cherry-picking certain passages and quotes out of context, or if Senate Republicans had chosen to treat judicial filibusters as the poisonous tactics they once sorrowfully – and loudly – bemoaned during the previous Administration,” stated Tina Matsuoka, executive director of NAPABA. “Nor would last week’s loss have occurred had Democrats fulfilled their repeated commitments to bring his nomination to vote during the 111th Congress – including a critical missed opportunity during the lame duck session.”
Wendy Chang, Co-Chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary Committee, also noted that “there is no shortage of prominent, well-credentialed, and extraordinarily qualified Asian Pacific American attorneys who should be considered for various federal courts of appeals across the country. We believe that any number of them would receive swift support from both sides of the aisle. We see no reason why they would not be confirmed swiftly. And so we see no reason why they should not be considered for nomination as soon as possible.”