Right-Wing Media Attack Obama Judicial Nominee Endorsed By Ken Starr, John Yoo, And Others

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed a cloture petition on President Obama's nomination of Goodwin Liu to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the usual suspects in the right-wing media are rehashing their reasons for opposing Liu.

There is nothing new to the attacks, and we refer you to our previous rebuttals. But we do want to highlight just how out of the mainstream these attacks on Liu actually are.

You wouldn't know it from the vitriol of the right-wing media, but Liu actually has a large number of conservative and Republican supporters.

Among those supporters are former independent counsel and federal appellate judge Kenneth Starr; former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo, who authored the infamous "torture memos"; former GOP Rep. Tom Campbell (CA); conservative legal activist Clint Bollick; former Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman; and law professor Richard Painter, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer during the Bush administration.

Kenneth Starr. A letter supporting Liu that Starr co-wrote with Yale Law Professor Akhil Amar stated: "What we wish to highlight, beyond his obvious intellect and legal talents, is his independence and openness to diverse viewpoints as well as his ability to follow the facts and the law to their logical conclusion, whatever its political valence may be."

John Yoo. According to The Los Angeles Times, Yoo said of Liu's nomination: "[H]e's not someone a Republican president would pick, but for a Democratic nominee, he's a very good choice."

Tom Campbell. Campbell -- former dean of the business school at the University of California-Berkeley and an unsuccessful candidate for the 2010 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in California -- stated that Liu "is one of the most capable colleagues I've had in my three decades in academia. I hate the thought of Berkeley losing him, but it's a higher calling and the nation's gain. His ability to analyze, communicate, and inspire will make him a favorite among litigants and a leader among judges."

Clint Bollick. Bollick, director of the Goldwater Institute, wrote that he "strongly support[s]" Liu's nomination, adding that, "[h]aving reviewed several of his academic writings, I find Prof. Liu to exhibit fresh, independent thinking and intellectual honesty. He clearly possesses the scholarly credentials and experience to serve with distinction on this important court."

William T. Coleman. Coleman, Secretary of Transportation during the Ford administration, stated: "I have known Goodwin Liu for many years as after he finished Yale Law School and then clerked for a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States he worked at O'Melveny & Myers LLP in the Washington office for several years and did a tremendous job." Coleman later added, "I think he will make a tremendous Judge for the Ninth Circuit."

Richard Painter. Painter wrote: "Based on my own review of his record, I believe it's not a close question that Liu is an outstanding nominee whose views fall well within the legal mainstream. That conclusion is shared by leading conservatives who are familiar with Liu's record."

One final point: Conservative media like to pretend that Liu is not qualified to be a judge, notwithstanding the fact that the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously gave him its top rating of "Well Qualified." But even Fox News' resident right-wing lawyer/news anchor Megyn Kelly says that Liu's "qualifications are unassailable."

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