Yesterday's Washington Post featured a short, unsigned editorial urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the confirmation of controversial Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to a seat on the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:
Mr. Liu is unquestionably qualified; the American Bar Association panel that reviews nominees game him a unanimous "well qualified" rating. Making a judgment about Mr. Liu's judicial philosophy is tougher. His academic works show him to be aggressively liberal. Writing about the courts' role in social welfare cases, he argues that courts may "legitimately foster evolution of welfare rights." He urges courts to determine whether certain benefits and services have become so deeply ingrained in American life as to warrant constitutional protection. This is not entirely new; the Supreme Court in the early 1970s used this approach to invalidate congressional cuts to the food stamps program.
It is impossible to know whether Mr. Liu would abide by his pledge to be "an impartial, objective and neutral arbiter of specific cases and controversies." Others with controversial views or academic records have put aside their political impulses and performed honorably on the bench. Mr. Liu should be given that opportunity.