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Goodwin Liu: Faulty memory, expedient metamorphosis; Update: The cut-and-run judicial candidate

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 16, 2010 11:11 AM

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UC Berkeley prof Goodwin Liu is before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning on his nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The hearing is streaming live on CSPAN here.

Liu acknowledged his copious sins of omission on his committee questionnaire. “I’m sorry,” he told the panel, but rationalized that they didn’t matter so much because his life’s work has been “an open book” anyway.

Well, it was thanks to conservative blogs and GOP staff that all of the controversial appearance and statements he somehow forgot to include were unearthed.

Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein came to Liu’s defense, weakly noting that there have been other nominees who forgot stuff on their questionnaires.

GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions grilled Liu on his unhinged attacks on Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. Liu ran away from both positions, acknowledging his “high regard” for Roberts’ experience (to which Liu allowed he could not himself compare) and acknowledging that his Alito attack used “perhaps unnecessarily colorful language.”

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos has more on Liu’s expendient metamorphosis (make sure to go to the piece for all the embedded links):

If this Politico op-ed by Eric Liu (no relation to the nominee) is any indication, Liu’s defenders seem more eager to run from the nominee’s views than defend them. Eric Liu obscures from the reader the inconvenient facts that Goodwin Liu has urged judicial invention (usually in an “interstitial” role) of constitutional rights to a broad range of social “welfare” goods, including education, shelter, subsistence, and health care. Evidently adopting the narrowest possible definition of a quota (under which nothing is ever a quota), Eric Liu claims that Goodwin Liu thinks that “quotas are unconstitutional”—and utterly ignores his ardent support for pervasive racial preferences (and his conveniently undisclosed plea for contrary Supreme Court rulings to “be cast into the dustbin of history.”) And he fails to confront the nominee’s actual comments on reparations for slavery…

Sen. Sessions noted the similarity between Eric Holder’s selective amnesia and Liu’s.

Yes, it’s striking.

More from Sen. Sessions:

Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) raised questions about whether Liu was really qualified for the job, pointing out that Liu has “never been in court,” either to argue a case as a trial attorney or decide one as a judge.

Sessions also made clear his belief that Liu’s writings “represent, I think, the very vanguard of what I would call intellectual judicial activism.”

Sessions said Liu and his ilk would look at the Constitution and “find rights there that have never been found before.”

In other words, perfectly qualified to be a Democrat SCOTUS nominee in due time:

Liu himself is seen in some quarters as a potential future candidate for the Supreme Court. The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Liu was a Rhodes Scholar and Supreme Court clerk before assuming his current position at Berkeley. No Asian-American has ever served on the Supreme Court, nor are there any Asian-Americans currently serving as U.S. Circuit Court judges

***

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network is providing full, live coverage of the hearing on her Twitter page — and is keeping count of how many times Liu has run away from his published work and positions. She’s up to nine times.

Sen. Kyl asked him about his argument that the Constitution guarantees the right to welfare and tax credits. Carrie reports that Liu admits those are indefensible judicial positions and he would set them aside as a judge.

Liu told Sen. Sessions that his radical views were merely “overly academic language.”

12:28pm Eastern. Liu has now essentially renounced his radical views on racial preferences.

Hysterical: Feinstein tries to help by musing that Liu’s views have been distorted because his academic writing is impenetrable.

More on Liu’s time in the hot seat here.

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