Jessie Liu, an update

Jessie Liu is President Trump’s nominee for Associate Attorney General. This job is prestigious but usually not highly consequential. Liu likely has more impact in her current position as U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C.

Liu is well qualified to be Associate Attorney General. However, in this post I raised a concern over her role as Vice President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) at a time that NAWL opposed the nomination of Samuel Alito the the Supreme Court.

NAWL sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing its opposition. The letter, with Liu’s name prominent on the masthead, pronounced Alito “not qualified to serve on the Court from the perspective of laws and decisions regarding women’s rights or that have a special impact on women.”

Liu had to have known about the letter. I therefore asked whether she disagreed with the contents; if so, whether she opposed sending it; and if so whether she left NAWL in protest.

After reading my post, David French of NRO put these questions to Liu. Here is French’s report:

In addition to its Supreme Court evaluation committee, [NAWL] also had an amicus committee that took left-wing legal positions.

Liu didn’t serve on either committee and disagreed with the decisions of both. And so, in 2006 — when she took a new job in the Bush administration — she decided it was time for a “clean break.” She resigned from the group before she became president and never rejoined.

I take Liu at her word that she left NAWL due to ideological disagreement, as opposed to careerism. The fact that she did not rejoin the group during the Obama years can be viewed as reinforcing this view.

There are, though, conservative alumni of the Bush administration’s Civil Rights Division, where Liu served, who considered her, for lack of a better word, “squishy.” These alums complain that Liu was often more in tune with career staff — a left-liberal cohort — than with conservatives.

However, no one I communicated with compared Liu to Alex Acosta, the ultimate Civil Rights Division squish (and worse) of the Bush years. Such a comparison would be genuine cause for alarm.

My view is that Liu is not an optimal nominee from a conservative perspective — maybe far from it. However, she is the Trump administration’s nominee and she is well-qualified for the position. With the NAWL-Alito matter cleared up, I think she should be confirmed, absent any new adverse evidence or developments.

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