Having voted for Justice Sotomayor, and faced with a second Obama Supreme nominee whom other Republicans are saying nice things about, Lindsey Graham seems to be making a point of letting everyone know that he doesn’t ALWAYS go along with the president’s preferences. Today, he announced his opposition to the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco thusly:
“I am a big believer in the concept that elections do have consequences. But I also believe a U.S. Senator has an obligation to ensure nominees to the Court of Appeals understand the difference between an elected official, whose job it is to write laws, and a judge, whose job it is to uphold them.
“I am convinced that Professor Liu does not understand or appreciate this difference. His writings are very disturbing. Professor Liu consistently points to various constitutional clauses that he believes empower a judge to be the ‘righter’ of social wrongs.
“My opposition to Professor Liu’s nomination is not a disagreement over judicial philosophy, as I expect this Administration to put forward judges with whom I disagree. Instead, my opposition to Professor Liu is based on a deep-seated disagreement over the proper role of a judge in our democratic society.
In Professor Liu’s world, the Constitution places virtually no limits on the role of a judge to impose their opinion on almost every area of life. This leads me to one conclusion – Professor Liu should be in elected politics, not in court as a judge.”
Of course, conservatives won’t be happy with him until he sponsors legislation to disband the 9th Circuit altogether. Personally, I’d probably vote for that myself.
Sen. Graham sets an interesting standard. Of course, it can be argued that the president himself has a disturbing viewpoint of “the proper role of a judge in our democratic society.” In fact, I’ve argued something along those lines myself (in my last column before the election). But that was before the election, and this is now, and besides, the president’s disturbing views on the subject don’t mean he can’t appoint judicial nominees with a proper respect for the constitution. And when he does, as with Sotomayor, I expect Sen. Graham to vote to confirm. That’s his pattern.