Entries in Judge (2)


Judicial Setback for Obama: Liu Nomination Blocked by Senate GOP

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of California-Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, the first time one of President Obama's judicial nominees has been defeated.

Liu needed 60 votes to break through the GOP filibuster and advance to a final up-or-down vote, but he only got 52 votes, with 43 votes against. 

The vote was largely along party lines, with only a few exceptions: Nebraska's Ben Nelson split with his fellow Democrats to vote against Liu, while Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski voted for Liu.

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch voted present, while four senators did not vote at all: David Vitter, R-Louisiana; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas; and Max Baucus, D-Montana.

In the build-up to the vote, Republican leaders had called on their party to close ranks in opposition to Liu. They argued that his record on divisive social issues showed that his judicial thinking was outside the mainstream.

Years ago a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of 14 agreed that judicial nominees should only be blocked in the event of "extraordinary circumstances," but Republicans argued that Liu's nomination fell into that category.

"The extraordinary circumstances are clear -- he's never tried a case, he's very inexperienced, very liberal progressive activist lawyer who believes in a vision of the role of a judge that's contrary to the great American heritage that a judge is an independent adjudicator of disputes and is not one that is -- allows their personal political views to be part of their decision making process," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, a top member of the Judiciary Committee, told ABC's Top Line on Tuesday. "He's the most activist nominee I think we've seen by far."

Across the aisle, Liu's supporters claimed the GOP was merely scared that if Liu was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, then he could eventually be appointed to the Supreme Court, where he would become the first Asian American nominee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Starts Rare Impeachment Trial

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- All the talk in Washington is about the new compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts, but the Senate Tuesday morning was focused on something altogether different: the impeachment trial of a federal judge, only the 12th one in Senate history.

Federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., of Louisiana, was impeached by the House in March on corruption charges. The prosecution has argued that Porteous received cash, gifts, and additional favors from lawyers and other people that dealt with his court, while the defense has objected by arguing the conduct in question occurred before his 1994 appointment to the federal bench and he was never accused of a crime.

If two-thirds of the Senate this week votes to convict him on any of the four counts of impeachment, Porteous would become only the eighth federal judge in history to be impeached. If this occurs, Porteous would not only be removed from office immediately, but he would also lose his pension benefits. In order to qualify for a pension equal to his salary of $174,000, Porteous, who turns 64 next week, needs to serve until age 65.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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