Goodwin Liu [is] a left-wing law professor whom President Obama has nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. To say that Liu is thinly qualified would give him too much credit, as he has scarcely ever practiced law at all. Now, an attack Liu launched against John Roberts in 2005 has surfaced and has raised new questions about his nomination.
When President Bush first nominated Roberts to succeed Sandra O'Connor, Liu responded with an attack that tells us nothing about Roberts but a great deal about Liu. First, Liu criticized Roberts' associations:Before becoming a judge, he belonged to the Republican National Lawyers' Association and the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, whose mission is to promote (among other things) ``free enterprise,'' ``private ownership of property,'' and ``limited government.'' These are code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.
Private property, free enterprise and limited government are "code words"? No one holding such a bizarre, anti-Constitutional view should hold public office in any capacity, certainly not as a judge.
Liu went on to attack an opinion that Roberts authored as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the famous "french fry" case, Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. You might have to be a lawyer to fully appreciate the dishonesty of Liu's description of the case and of Roberts' opinion:Last year, for example, he wrote an opinion rejecting the civil rights claims of 12-year-old Ansche Hedgepeth, who was arrested, searched, handcuffed, booked, and detained by police for eating a single french fry in a subway station in violation of D.C. law. Although an adult committing the same infraction would have received only a citation under D.C. law, Roberts said the police's treatment of Hedgepeth served the "goal of promoting parental awareness and involvement with children who commit delinquent acts."
From Liu's account you might think that Roberts was the D.C. official who wrote the law, not a judge called upon to rule on its constitutionality. Here is how Roberts began his opinion on the case:No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation. A twelve-year-old girl was arrested, searched, and handcuffed. Her shoelaces were removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained until released to her mother some three hours later -- all for eating a single french fry in a Metrorail station. The child was frightened, embarrassed, and crying throughout the ordeal. The district court described the policies that led to her arrest as "foolish," and indeed the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry. The question before us, however, is not whether these policies were a bad idea, but whether they violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Like the district court, we conclude that they did not, and accordingly we affirm.
Roberts did, here, exactly what a judge is supposed to do--not impose his own opinion as to whether a law or ordinance is foolish, but evaluate its constitutionality according to established principles and precedents. It is worth noting, too, that Liu described Roberts' opinion in this case as though it were outside the mainstream, while in fact Roberts wrote for a unanimous court, and every judge who looked at the case ruled the same way. Liu here betrays the arrogance of the left-wing academic: anyone who disagrees with me is an extremist, even if his disagreement represents a consensus among competent jurists.
This is not a question of differing philosophical approaches to the Constitution, this is a question of pure and simple incompetence and stupidity. Throw in a modicum of intellectual dishonesty, of which Liu has more than a modicum, and you have a nominee the Republicans should go all out to sink.
Hell, every Democrat who isn't actively a socialist should also want to sink a nominee openly hostile to free enterprise, the private ownership of property, and limited government. One cannot be against those things and be for the Constitution.