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The Most (Un)Wanted Judges

A comprehensive rundown of the worst of the worst of Obama’s radical judicial nominees.

by
Hans A. von Spakovsky and Deborah OMalley

Bio

May 17, 2011 - 12:00 am
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The FBI’s “Most Wanted Fugitives” list has been around since 1950. President Obama’s penchant for nominating political activists and radical academics to the federal judiciary has resulted in a new list: the “Most (Un)Wanted Judges.” This list is comprised of nominees who (with two exceptions) are now pending a vote in the Senate.

The federal judiciary is not the place for political agendas and academic fads. But the Left has used the federal courts for decades to advance their political goals at the expense of the Constitution and the rule of law. The worst of the worst judicial nominees would, if confirmed, set back our liberty, our economic freedom, and the hard work that constitutionalists have been doing to reestablish the limits on the power of government envisioned by the Framers.

Here is the who’s who of the worst:

Goodwin Liu: If you think the Ninth Circuit, the most liberal and out-of-control appeals court in the country, couldn’t get any worse, you haven’t met Goodwin Liu, associate dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

For starters, Liu does not even meet the standard for federal judgeships outlined by the American Bar Association, which requires substantial courtroom and trial experience and at least 12 years practicing law. Liu has no experience as a trial lawyer. He hadn’t even been out of law school for 12 years when he was nominated.

In his writings, Liu has shown a disturbing judicial philosophy that fits neatly within the activist mold Obama wants nominees to fill. Liu “envisions the judiciary … as a culturally situated interpreter of social meaning.” Judges are not supposed to be interpreters of “social meaning” who base their decisions on the latest cultural meanderings of academia. They are supposed to be interpreters of the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress. But it is this kind of nebulous culturally situated interpretation that allows judges to ignore the plain and ordinary meaning of the law and to replace it with what they personally think is the “best” outcome based upon their own highly subjective, biased, and often radical interpretation of “social meaning.”

Just how would this interpretation of “social meaning” manifest itself? One way, according to Liu, would be a court-created constitutional right to welfare. Liu desires a “reinvigorated public dialogue” about “our commitments to mutual aid and distributive justice across a broad range of social goods.” He wants the courts to recognize “a fundamental right to education or housing or medical care … as an interpretation and consolidation of the values we have gradually internalized as a society.”

In another article, Liu stated that “negative rights against government oppression” and “positive rights to government assistance” have “equal constitutional status” because “both are essential to liberty.” This concept is foreign to our Constitution: our Framers recognized the danger of inviting the government to “assist” us with distributing social goods.

Liu’s opposition to the death penalty prompted 42 of California’s 58 county prosecutors to send a letter to the Senate protesting his nomination because “he would vote to reverse nearly every death sentence.” In fact, the prosecutors said that Liu’s “views on criminal law, capital punishment, and the role of the federal courts in second-guessing state decisions are fully aligned with the judges who have made the Ninth Circuit the extreme outlier that it presently is.”

Liu also believes that Americans have an obligation to make reparations for slavery and supports racial quotas to remedy “societal discrimination,” a position the Supreme Court has rejected.

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