Goodwin Liu To Get Senate Floor Vote On Cloture Thursday

News broke this afternoon that Harry Reid might file for cloture on a floor vote on Obama’s nominee for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu:

Goodwin Liu’s bid for a federal judgeship may be headed for a crucial vote this week, in what would be the biggest fight yet over any of President Barack Obama’s nominees for the lower federal courts.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is considering filing a cloture petition as soon as tonight, a spokesman said. That would set up a vote later this week on whether to end debate on Liu’s nomination, a motion that needs the support of 60 senators to pass. The Democratic caucus controls 53 seats, so they would need Republican help to defeat a filibuster.

Well, shocking as it may be, and it really is, Harry Reid indeed pulled the trigger:

Prior to adjournment on Tuesday, May 17th, Senator Reid filed cloture on Executive Calendar #80, Goodwin Liu, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. Senators should expect a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Liu nomination to occur at a time to be determined on Thursday.

This is a fairly astounding happening as Liu was first nominated to the 9th in February of 2010, but the nomination died at the end of the 2010 session from lack of even an attempt to call for a floor vote. President Obama promptly renominated Liu, and he was again promptly reported out of the Judiciary Committee on a straight party line vote, but it appeared as if the nomination would be again be left to die a quiet death. Apparently not.

If you do not know about Goodwin Liu, you should. Liu is quite arguably the brightest and most accomplished young legal liberal star in the universe. He is the future of any liberal hope on the Supreme Court; like Antonin Scalia or John Roberts on the right, Liu is the future legal heavyweight for the liberal future. At only 39 years of age, Liu’s resume and record of accomplishment, service and involvement in the law makes Elena Kagan look like a malnourished piker. He is literally that good and valuable for the future, Liu is worth fighting for tooth and nail. For a great look at Goodwin Liu the man and scholar, take a look at Bob Egelko’s in depth biography from the San Francisco Chronicle.

So Goodwin Liu is set to get a floor vote on cloture Thursday, and if that threshold can be passed, he would look good on an up or down vote for confirmation. That is the good news. The bad news is, unless Harry Reid and/or the Obama White House have cut some kind of deal to get Liu through, there is little, if any, chance his nomination can muster the 60 votes necessary for cloture. And, despite some fast checking this afternoon, I can find no evidence of any such a deal having been cut or even discussed.

We will know by Thursday night whether Harry Reid and the Obama White House actually had a plan to get Goodwin Liu through and confirmed, or whether they just want the issue done and over with. One thing is for sure, it will not happen unless there is a plan and they have whipped some GOP support for cloture. Will Reid and Obama be heroes or goats? Stay tuned.

  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The best possible scenario, given the GOP generally and their members of the senate in particular, and that ex-boxer Reid is no more itching for a fight than his boss in the White House, is that this is Obama drawing a line. The implicit threat would be that if someone as sound as Liu isn’t voted on, he will make a recess appointment. That at least gets the ball rolling. It’s just that it would be so unlike the man.

    There are so many unnominated and unvoted on nominations that the federal bench – and the management teams in agencies across government – is beginning to look like that of the Toledo Mudhens in November.

    • bmaz says:

      Man, I have a hard time seeing Obama recess appoint a judge. As to the insufficient appointments, that is still a HUGE issue as there are still 87 vacancies and only 45 nominees. Here in Arizona we have had a total of three vacancies since John Roll was killed in the Giffords shooting, and not a freaking nominee for any of the seats. And Roll was in process of declaring the District a judicial emergency before he was killed.

  2. harpie says:

    The Plan for No Plan

    Oh, and how they’ll cry

    “Well, at least [it looked like] we tried.

    Sad, our hands were tied.”

    • harpie says:

      …and I can’t read the biography until he’s in. I’ve been disappointed too often…including [maybe especially] Kagan’s nomination and appointment.

  3. Watt4Bob says:

    Expect nothing, never be disappointed.

    We’ll get some real change after about a million of us stand in front of the WH for a week or so, and not a minute before.

    A lot of us are evidently having a hard time admitting to ourselves that we believe what we have every right to believe, and accepting that we know what we have no right not to know.

    • mswinkle says:

      So True. Although I would suggest standing on wall street and at the federal reserve as that is where the criminal cartel operate and control govt from

  4. donbacon says:

    It’s no wonder that Obama and Reid have been inactive on Liu for fifteen months and now want to subvert the senate democratic process by avoiding meaningful debate. Liu is the “most accomplished young legal liberal star in the universe.” So now they’ve set it up to sink his nomination. It was all for show. “Well, we tried.” *sigh*

    That kills the last possible reason to vote for Dems — “think of the court nominations, if nothing else.”

      • donbacon says:

        Don’t give yourself away
        Don’t live your life that way
        Of course he’s gonna say anything you want
        Then leave quicker than he came
        Now you’ve got yourself to blame
        Don’t put yourself back in the fire again

        It’s the same damn things you’re so quick to believe
        You do it over and over again
        And it’s the same mistakes that I’m watching you weave
        You do it over and over again
        So before they bring you down

        You gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
        You gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
        — Daniel John O Donoghue, Mark Anthony Sheehan

  5. onitgoes says:

    I expect nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero to come of this. As Don Bacon indicates @9, one of the reasons I voted for Obama (whilst holding my nose) is that I *thought* a so-called “Democratic” POTUS would nominate judges for the fed judge positions, as well clean out the DOJ (yeah: lolzer on that stinking pile) & the other agencies.

    Well I “got over” that a loooooooooooong time ago. Ain’t nothing gonna happen here folks. Stick a fork in ‘im, Liu’s done like a dinner. Buh-bye!

  6. tomsj says:

    If you’re expecting the Obama Whitehouse to have an actual plan for getting Liu confirmed, think again. Obama NEVER has a plan. Witness the stupidity involved in her “shepherding” of the DADT repeal. The fact that the repeal succeeded had NOTHING to do with Obama, however much he’d like to take credit for it.

    • bobschacht says:

      If you’re expecting the Obama Whitehouse to have an actual plan for getting Liu confirmed, think again. Obama NEVER has a plan.

      Well, your assessment seems true. Obama needs to learn a bit of LBJ-style arm-twisting. There is no sign whatsoever that I have seen that he talked to Republicans with any serious intent to gain their votes.

      If he appointed Liu as a recess appointment, would it be temporary, or permanent? Can he do that with a judicial appointment?

      Bob in AZ

  7. donbacon says:

    Now the Dems, if they are true to form, will claim that Liu went down due to a threat of filibuster. Or even due to a filibuster (imagined).

    No way does the Dem senate want to get into any long debate on real American values which might require liberal Dems to get back to Dem roots and defend human values, and that’s a pity because such a debate is earnestly needed to prevent the current ongoing subversion of civil rights.

    So they’ll (Reid) file for cloture, as they’ve done for years now, and claim that they tried.

  8. dosido says:

    Ok I have been waiting with cautious pessimism for Ed Chen to be confirmed to District Judge of Northern calif. And guess what? He was last week! Even with an “ACLU chromosome” whatever that means, thank you Senator Wingnut.

    So there seems to be some movement

  9. kabuki101 says:

    Probably time to “take your government back”, or better yet “take it away from all the members of the Uniparty in Washington who’ve currently stolen it”. That’d leave just Bernie. All the rest can be carted off to jail.

    I’ve often said the system can no longer hope to reform itself. Quite probably the very laws that Liu should interpret are part of the problem, or perhaps the penal code that accompanies them. But even Liu is part of the game, so how could he react fast enough to events if and when things kick off in the USA? The whole establishment, the entire public administration has to go. Anything short of total clearout will fail and everyone must know that deep down.

    Anyway, I assume his nomination is toast.

  10. Artemesia says:

    I knew Liu years ago before he left work in education and went to law school. He was incredibly impressive. He is smart, socially engaged and creative. Even then I thought he was one of those guys who could be (should be) President someday if we had any sense as a country. So I like the rest of you assume he is toast in a country where Democrats are Republicans and Republicans are lunatics and fascists and lunatic fascists.

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    I think it would be a fair barter for Republicans to let this nominee past the filibuster. There has been a hollowing of the comity of the Senate over the past few decades.

    In the Southern states, Republicans are agitating in court to repeal the civil rights act offshoot known as voting rights act, specifically it*s element known as §5, which forces known areas of historic suppression of minority rights to pass a DoJ review of any new laws seeking to circumvent VRA section 5. Here is a 3-paragraph summary of chief justice Robert*s dicta in the 2009 case involving a TX agency*s gambit to test the race gerrymander provisions in VRA section 5; the agency was known by the acronym Namudno. Historically, soon after Scotus awarded Namudno a reprieve, Namudno viewed discretion as the better part of valor, and officially disbanded as a quasigovernmental entity. A further study of the serviceability of VRA 5 as a bulwark of minority civil rights recently has become available in Harvard L J, there.

    In the courts in DC, Democratic party members in the US Senate have cooperated to approve some quite political Republican nominees to the bench.

    The post to which Liu is nominated is of less impact than what is occurring in DC with the Republican nominee faction steering narrow conservative majorities.

    There are tradeoffs in these cloture votes. Obama needs to present some of these colloquies as valid bipartisan efforts at governance.

    Further, I think Obama*s prominent State of the Union speech passage concerning access of foreign sovereign money to donating into US elections was too categorically phrased. Subsequent caselaw has strained to concur with the SOTU remark concerning offshore money inundating US politics explicitly; although some parties are continuing to test those particular waters.

    Republican Senators like UT*s M.Lee and TX*s Coburn would have less crocodile tears of compassion to shed in matters like Alito*s **That*s Not True** stage whisper during the SOTU speech, if only the speech writer had waxed less extravagant about foreign money in elections.

    Even K.Starr in a paean of comity has endorsed the same pathway goal as H.Reid with respect to Liu*s qualifications as nominee in this matter.