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What? More Obstruction From Senate Republicans?

You’re not going to believe this, but Senate Republicans don’t like an Obama appointment and say he’s beyond the mainstream. I know, it’s crazy.

Senate Republicans are preparing to mount an assault against one of President Obama’s federal appeals court choices, offering a preview of a possible Supreme Court fight this summer.

Goodwin Liu, the president’s pick for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, is expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday in what promises to be a contentious hearing.

The top Republican on the committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, calls Liu’s selection “a troubling nomination” — and suggests that Liu, a law professor at UC Berkeley, is the most left-leaning judicial nominee that the Obama White House has sent to the Senate.

“I think most senators would say he’s beyond the mainstream,” Sessions said in an interview.

Sessions has found a nut with this one – Goodwin Liu is a liberal nominee. But certainly no more liberal than, say Janice Rogers Brown is conservative, or Charles Pickering, or any of the other George Bush nominees eventually confirmed by the Senate. And Liu has substantial support from conservatives – and not just any conservatives, but John Yoo and Ken Starr. Yoo said “He’s someone who would be chosen by a Democratic president, not a Republican one, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a good judge on the bench.”

One other thing about this: Liu would be the first Asian-American to serve on an Appeals Court in America. I know that conservatives have searched far and wide for another ethnicity to alienate, and it seems they’ve found one. Republicans may be trying to block this as a test for whether they can block an Obama Supreme Court nominee, or stop a young, qualified candidate from getting a fast track to SCOTUS. But the historic nature of his nomination could easily be used by Democrats.

Liu’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee will be held today. There’s a website called Confirm Goodwin dedicated to fighting smears against him and advocating for his confirmation.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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