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Senator Collins' Statement on Goodwin Liu Nomination

U.S. Senator Susan Collins today released this statement on Goodwin Liu, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
             After careful consideration, I have decided to vote against the confirmation of Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  I have met with Mr. Liu, studied his writings, and reviewed his testimony before the Judiciary Committee in reaching this decision. 
            Ironically, I find my reasoning to be remarkably similar to the analysis that Mr. Liu used in arguing against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.  Mr. Liu testified that Judge Alito “has an exceptionally talented legal mind….He clearly possesses the intellectual abilities required for appointment….”  I have reached the same conclusion about Mr. Liu’s intellectual prowess.  Without a doubt, he is a brilliant legal scholar.
            But Mr. Liu goes on to conclude that Judge Alito “is at the margin of the judicial spectrum, not the mainstream,” and urges his rejection.  While I disagree with Mr. Liu’s assessment of Judge Alito, he accurately describes his own judicial philosophy.
            For, by any fair assessment, it is Mr. Liu’s views that are far outside the mainstream.  His writings demonstrate what National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor calls his “sweeping vision of court-ordered social justice.”  Mr. Liu has written that “Some [say] that courts…can only do so much to change society, that some things, some problems are best left to politics and not principle….I want to disagree with this view….”
            In other words, Liu embodies the very essence of judicial activism.  As Mr. Taylor says, “Liu’s overall approach would vastly expand judicial power at the expense of democratic governance.”
            There is much to respect, admire, and like about Goodwin Liu, but his activist judicial philosophy precludes me from supporting him for a lifetime appointment on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.