"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)
It was this statement from an email forwarded to me by a friend who is a member of Gun Owners of America (GOA) that first caught my eye. In an article titled "Obama Pushing Another Radical Anti-Gunner to the Federal Bench", GOA goes on to detail out the biography of Obama's new federal judgeship appointee, Goodwin Liu.
Based on this article, I decided to do some more digging into the appointment and what I found truly scared me. By looking at the views of Mr. Liu, we can gain a much deeper understanding of President Obama's views and intentions for our country.
To begin, Mr. Liu does not even meet the standards required by the American Bar Association for federal judgeship. According to the ABA's published evaluation criteria, a appointee should have at least 12 years experience in the practice of law, with substantial courtroom and trial experience. As Mr. Liu is only 39, he has not yet even been out of law school for 12 years and has no experience as a trial lawyer, having never represented a case before the courts. Even more shocking than his lack of experience necessary for this life time appoint, is his societal and judiciary views.
In 2005, Liu, in speaking out against the nomination of John Roberts, made the statement that "the values of Free Enterprise, private ownership of property, and limited government were code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.". Read that carefully, this nomination for a federal judgeship believes that very core principals on which America was founded, are coded words for an ideological hostile agenda. To think that we could have a judge appointed to the 9th district court who does not value private property rights and extols the virtues of an expanded government are nothing short of pure frightening.
In the same strain, Theodore Frank, President of the Center for Class Action Fairness, goes on to state that Mr. Liu also believes that the judiciary has the duty to foster the "evolution of welfare rights". That it is the judicial responsibility to step in and act as the both the legislature and executive branch in instances where legislatures have failed to affirmatively act in areas to "leverage the expansion of existing social programs". Further more, William Wilson expands on this by stating, that according to Liu, a "right" is what ever society says it is. He goes on to quote Liu as saying that the federal courts have a duty to render decisions based upon societal consensus that a person possess a right to goods and services based on "how a society understands it's obligations of mutual provision." In 2008, Liu wrote that "the existence of a welfare right [emphasis added] depends on democratic instantiation in the first instance, typically in the form of a legislated program, with the judiciary generally limited to an interstitial role". This simply means that if the government performs subsidy or provision of welfare to any portion of the population, then the whole population should have access to that right. I.E., if government provides assistance to any group, then the entire population should be afforded the same assistance via "judicial distribution". He continues his defense of this position by suggesting that constitution "assigns equal constitutional status to negative rights against government oppression and positive rights to government assistance on the ground that both are essential to liberty", but does not point to where these "positive rights to government assistance" exist within the constitution.
In his 2008 Stanford Law Review article, Liu supports a judicial role in establishing constitutional welfare rights, or "affirmative rights" to education, shelter, subsistence, healthcare, and the like, or to the money these things costs. So, either we provide full welfare, or we extract the monies needed to provide them. Can you see the case that he would make for the upholding of the health care bill? It is Liu's view that there is a constitutional right to welfare that echo's Obama's discontent that the Warren Court didn't break free from "the essential constraints" of the US Constitution to launch a major redistribution of wealth. Starting to notice a theme here?
To further compound his radical views, it is his opinion that reparations for acts committed in the 19th century should be born by those of the 20th century. According to Bench Memos by Ed Whelan, in 2008, Goodwin commented on a documentary film Traces of the Trade, exploring the role of New Englanders in the slave trade, that:
"I think I would draw a distinction between a concept of guilt, which locates accountability in a sort of limited set of wrong-doers, and, on the other hand, a concept of responsibility, which is, I think, a more broad suggestion that all of us, whatever our lineage, whatever our ancestry, whatever our complicity, still have a moral duty to … make things right."
He goes on to state;
the exercise of that responsibility … necessarily requires the answer to the question, “What are we willing to give up to make things right?” Because it’s going to require us to give up something, whether it is the seat at Harvard, the seat at Princeton. Or is it going to require us to give up our segregated neighborhoods, our segregated schools? Is it going to require us to give up our money?
Clearly he thinks that it is the burden of all people, regardless of compliancy in a crime, to have the duty to provide money, or other reparations, to any that may have suffered in the path. Again, this is yet another expansion of social programs, in that the provision of monetary reparations for actions against an ancestor, not those actually harmed, is deemed "morally prudent and right".
Lastly, Mr. Liu has far left radical views on the merits and translation of the constitution which could irrevocably harm future ruling of the courts. In a book written by Liu, Keeping Faith with the Constitution, he states:
"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."
Going on, he further comments that "it's clear why 'originalism' or 'strict construction' doesn't' make a lot of sense. The framers deliberately chose broad words so that they would be adaptable over time." It is this belief that the founding principals, thus their interpretation within the confines of the constitution, that most frightens gun owners and constitutionalists alike. It is Liu's belief that, while gun ownership was prudent in the days of the founding, that dictate doesn't apply to today's day. Further more, he went on to co-author an article (Separation Anxiety: Congress, the Courts, and the Constitution) with then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in which they criticized the Supreme Court decisions declaring two federal bans unconstitutional stating:
[W]hat we have seen in recent years gives me pause. . . . Those changes have come directly from the courts in a series of rulings that have effectively worked to exclude the body politic from the ongoing search for constitutional meaning.
Unless I have a complete misunderstanding of the American political system, it is not the duty of the political body (Congress) to deem what is constitutional and what is not, that is a duty left expressly to the judicial branch. By checks and balances, if the judicial branch deems a legislative action unconstitutional, the the political body has the option of trying to amend it. To further compound this view of judicial legislation, Liu goes on to try and expand the roles of congress for determining constitutionality by stating:
When the Constitution says that Congress shall have power “to regulate commerce ... among the several States,” does that not suggest that Congress has some role in determining what counts as interstate commerce? . . . The Court’s recent opinions seem to say no. In the eyes of the Court, whatever Congress may think the Constitution permits or requires does not seem to count for much.
Again, this is a matter of checks and balances. If the Congress has the authority to "regulate commerce", but also has the power to decide what is deemed to be "commerce", then what limitations exist to the power of congress. The founders created a three part government specifically to counter the ability of any one group to hold a supreme power over the others. If Congress were allowed to deem what is/isn't considered commerce, then additionally have the power to regulate it, then by virtue, the congress would have unlimited power over every aspect of society. The limitation imposed on this power is by virtue of the President being able to veto legislation proposed by Congress, but also by the ability of Judicial branch to determine the scope in which the Congress can regulate via the constitution. With a federal judge believing that the legislative branch has this power, we risk the chance of handing unbridled control over to them and imposing a threat of tyranny upon the people.
Goodwin Liu is an unqualified, far left radical, who if appointed to the 9th district court, stands in line to be groomed for the Supreme Court. His views of social impact on constitutional interpretation, along with his belief that Congress has the ability to determine scope of constitutionality, make this a very dangerous man who could stand to fundamentally change the method of checks and balances imposed on our government. I urge you write your senators and demand that they deny confirmation. A man of these views has no right to sit in a life time judicial appointment and his confirmation must be stopped!