President Obama has re-nominated to the federal bench four individuals who were too controversial to be confirmed by the outgoing Senate. The four are Goodwin Liu, Edward Chen, Louis Butler, and John O’Donnell.
We have discussed Liu’s radicalism on several occasions. Hans Bader highlights the problems that stood in the way of the confirmation of the four, even by an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate.
It’s difficult to see how any of the four – especially Liu – can be confirmed by the more conservative, more Republican incoming Senate. The question thus becomes, why did Obama re-nominate the four.
The answer, at least in the case of Liu, must be that Obama’s lefty base wanted him to keep fighting for their champion. I know the feeling – I wanted President Bush to stick with some of his nominees even after it became almost certain they could not be confirmed.
But the cost of re-nominating losing nominees is that the judicial seats they cannot fill remain unfilled. So when Obama and his supporters complain about the number of judicial vacancies caused by obstruction in the Senate, let’s remember that he is contributing to the problem by putting his desire to grandstand for the base ahead of the business of populating the federal bench.
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