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Cloture Fails on Liu

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The Senate has rejected, 52-43, the attempt to break the filibuster on the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit.  A 3/5 majority was required under the Senate rules.

During the Bush Administration, Senator Barack Obama supported the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees.  Professor Goodwin Liu forcefully advocated considering a nominee's viewpoints, not just objective qualifications.  A nominee should be rejected, he said, if his viewpoints were "out of the mainstream."

Putting those two together, filibuster of this nomination is the right thing to do.  One could, of course, take the opposite of those positions.  Many Republicans did during the Bush Administration, and many Democrats have been saying similar things in the present debate.  However, it would be very wrong for one party to unilaterally disarm and allow the other to have free rein whenever it has the White House and a Senate majority while that other party shows no such restraint and blocks votes based on viewpoint alone.  Such unilateral disarmament would result in a skew of the judiciary.

The 43 Senators voting no, despite heavy pressure and groundless accusations of racial motive, did the right thing and the courageous thing.  Thanks and congratulations to them all.

Update:  Looks like Bill and I were posting at the same time. The WSJ had this article before the vote this morning.

Update 2:  ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports:

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.


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