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Senate Fails to Advance Goodwin Liu Nomination

Rabbi Saperstein: "Today's vote is a disturbing reminder that obstructionist tactics have become the rule instead of the exception for judicial nominations."

Contact: Eric Harris or Deborah Swerdlow
202.387.2800 |

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2011 -- In response to today's failed cloture vote on Professor Goodwin Liu's nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We are deeply disappointed in the Senate's failure to allow an up-or-down vote on the nomination of University of California Berkeley School of Law Associate Dean and Professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After a nearly 15-month delay since Prof. Liu's initial nomination, the seat will remain vacant, despite Prof. Liu's being unquestionably well qualified for the post. The seat to which Prof. Liu was nominated also remains a "judicial emergency," meaning justice will continue to be delayed, and essentially denied, for thousands of Americans.

Some of the senators who voted against cloture today have previously stated unequivocally that filibustering judicial nominees and denying them a fair confirmation vote is unconstitutional and wrong. Yet they chose to block the confirmation vote of Prof. Liu, whom the American Bar Association and prominent lawyers from both sides of the aisle have repeatedly declared to be highly qualified for this appointment. Today's vote is a disturbing reminder that obstructionist tactics have become the rule instead of the exception for judicial nominations. We call on the Senate to disavow such unproductive practices and fulfill its constitutional obligation to keep our justice system functioning.

Jewish tradition teaches the importance of fair, just and impartial courts. Nominees to the federal bench, serving lifetime appointments, are vital to maintaining a court system that lives up to these ideals. Prof. Liu's confirmation would have strengthened our justice system and helped it protect the fundamental values of our nation that the Reform Movement supports.
We hope that when President Obama nominates a new individual to fill this vacancy, the Senate will respectfully and expeditiously move the nominee through the confirmation process.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.

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