"Liu believes that judges have the authority to impose their views... using clever verbal camouflage to disguise what they’re doing." -- Ed Whelan, a one-time clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and now president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (3/4/10)
Imagine a judicial candidate that is so far to the left that even Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, is hesitant to push him forward.
Imagine a liberal law professor that not only fails to meet the ABA's basic requirements for a federal judge, but is so green behind the ears that it appears the only reason he is being nominated to the federal courts is because he served as part of President Obama's transition team.
If you can imagine such a leftist candidate, then you would be thinking of Goodwin Liu, the President's recent nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Liu is the Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the ultra-left UC Berkeley School of Law. Only 39 years old, he comes nowhere near fulfilling the ABA's standards for a judge.
But what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in radical liberalism. In a recent book that he co-authored, Liu says that, "Applications of constitutional text and principles must be open to adaptation and change... as the conditions and norms of our society become ever more distant from those of the Founding generation."
Got it? Like many radical progressives, Liu believes that our rights are constantly evolving. The Second Amendment might have been necessary in the 1700s, he believes, but now those rights are no longer necessary.
In Liu's world, there would be no gun rights
Noted author David Kopel cites a law journal article of Liu's where he criticizes the Supreme Court for declaring two gun control laws as unconstitutional -- the Brady Law's unfunded mandate and the Gun-Free School Zones Act.
Liu said that Supreme Court cases like these did "damage" to civil rights and "upset settled understandings of congressional power." What?! Striking down gun control laws does damage to civil rights? Well, let's be clear: the Court did upset someone's "settled" understanding of things, but it was the LIBERAL'S misunderstanding of the Constitution.
By the way, Liu co-authored the 2002 law journal article with then-Senator Hillary Clinton... which should tell us all we need to know about Liu's liberal, anti-gun views!
Rights evolve over time?
The bottom line is that Liu would not be a stickler for the Constitution if he were to sit on the appellate court.
"It becomes pretty clear why 'originalism' and 'strict construction' don't make a lot of sense," Liu said in an interview promoting his book. "The Framers deliberately chose... broad words so they would be adaptable to new challenges over time."
No wonder that the ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions (R-AL), spoke out so forcefully against the nomination of Goodwin Liu:
I am very disappointed by President Obama's nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit....
Instead of nominating an individual who has demonstrated an impartial commitment to following the Constitution and the rule of law, President Obama has selected someone far outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence. Professor Liu believes that judges should look to "evolving norms and social understandings" in interpreting the Constitution, he has a history of advocating for racial preferences, and he served on the Board of the directors of the ACLU.