It’s no mystery why conservatives oppose Goodwin Liu

Politico reports on the difficulties confronting the nomination of Goodwin Liu. It notes that the looming battle over the Liu nomination might hurt Democratic efforts to push President Obama’s legislative agenda. As one prominent Democratic lawyer put it, “it’s hard to have that legislative agenda and try to push through [controversial] judges at the same time.”
Politico purports to find it odd that conservatives are making such a “fuss” about one judicial nominee. Reporter Kasie Hunt claims they are fixated on blocking Liu because theÿ “see Liu as the tip of the spear for the next generation of jurists — if he makes it to the court, they fear he could become a leading liberal jurist on property rights, the death penalty, affirmative action, guns and even interpretations of the health care law.” If Hunt means that conservatives oppose Liu because his positions on these issues extend way too far to the left, then Hunt is correct. If Hunt means that conservatives have some deeper fear of Liu, for example that he will win adherents to his leftist positions through the force of his intellect and persuasive powers, then Hunt is mistaken.
From a selfish partisan perspective, conservatives might well profit from having Liu on the court of appeals. His radical views on issues like affirmative action, reparations for slavery, and welfare rights are likely to yield a jurisprudence that would make him the poster boy for an “activist” judiciary run amok. This would play into the hands of conservatives politically. Conservatives nonetheless oppose Liu for the simple reason that they don’t like judges who are prone to run amok.
Watch Liu argue that all non-blacks in the U.S. have a moral duty to “give up something” to compensate blacks for slavery because, though they may not be guilty for slavery, they are responsible for “making things right.” Then ask yourself whether conservatives fear this guy because of his intellect or simply because of the radicalism of the positions he takes.

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