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Rabbi Saperstein: "Jewish tradition teaches of the importance of a fair and just judiciary, and there is nothing fair nor just about the obstruction that plagued Professor Liu's nomination."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 23, 2010 -- In response to the Senate's failure to confirm Professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
In an unacceptable abdication of its constitutional responsibility of "advice and consent," the Senate failed to give Professor Goodwin Liu, nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the up-or down confirmation vote every nominee -- especially one as well-qualified as Professor Liu -- deserves.
Although Senate leaders made time to confirm 19 judicial nominees in the last days of the 111th Congress, they chose not to consider Professor Liu's nomination. This failure does a tremendous disservice to Professor Liu and the thousands of Americans in the 9th Circuit who continue to wait too long for their cases to be heard.
As we have stated numerous times, Professor Liu's keen intellect, professional background and deep respect for the Constitution would have been assets to our justice system and his confirmation would have been invaluable to the preservation of the fundamental values of our nation that the Reform Movement supports.
Jewish tradition teaches of the importance of a fair and just judiciary, and there is nothing fair nor just about the obstruction that plagued Professor Liu's nomination. He had the support of both of his home-state senators, and the Senate Judiciary Committee had rigorously reviewed his record before forwarding his nomination to the full Senate. Moreover, the seat he would have filled represents one of almost 50 "judicial emergencies," (a court with too few judges to hear the number of cases it has, as determined by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts), meaning that justice will continued to be delayed -- and, as is usually the case, denied -- for many Americans in the 9th Circuit because of the Senate's failure to act.
We urge President Obama to re-nominate Professor Liu next year and hope the Senate votes swiftly in favor of his nomination, fulfilling its constitutional obligation to maintain a functioning federal judiciary.