ALG Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject Goodwin Liu for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

"In Goodwin Liu's world, the courts could require that the legislative branch allocate taxpayer funds to whatever the courts say the people are entitled to as a matter of right."—ALG President Bill Wilson.

March 23rd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Barack Obama's nominee for Judge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu, on account of what Wilson termed "Liu's radical views on law and wealth redistribution that leave him far outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence."

Goodwin Liu, a Berkley Law professor, will begin confirmation hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

"For Americans wondering 'how this happened' in terms of Barack Obama's massive takeovers of the nation's health care and other industries, one need look no further than Goodwin Liu to see what Obama really thinks about what a 'right' is," Wilson said.

"Goodwin Liu's judicial philosophy that judges should render decisions based on societal consensus at a given moment rather than foundational principles is incredibly dangerous. He shouldn't be on any court, especially not a court of appeals," said Wilson.

As reported by National Review Online, in promoting his book, Keeping Faith with the Constitution for the American Constitution Society, Liu suggested in a podcast that "What we mean by fidelity is that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that adapt its principles and its text to the challenges and conditions of our society in every succeeding generation."

Wilson said that while Liu was "a smooth talker," that Senators "must not excuse his views on 'distributive justice.' Beneath the 'nice guy' exterior, Goodwin Liu, like Obama, is a radical redistributionist of the first order."

In a 2008 Stanford Law Review article, "Rethinking Constitutional Welfare Rights," Liu discusses at length the concept of judicially-imposed welfare rights. In this context welfare rights mean a societal consensus that persons possess a right to certain goods and services, a consensus of "how a society understands its obligations of mutual provision."

"The 2008 law review article is quite revealing," Wilson said, "Goodwin Liu's view of a welfare 'right' is that if the federal government offers a subsidy, a benefit or some other type of welfare, everyone is entitled to it, regardless if the 'right' has any place at all in the Constitution."

According to the article, Liu wrote that, "judicial recognition of welfare rights is best conceived as an act of interpreting the shared understandings of particular welfare goods as they are manifested in our institutions, laws, and evolving social practices."

Liu explained what this would look like in context of his actual decision-making as a judge, "Some day yet, the Court may be presented with an opportunity to recognize a fundamental right to education or housing or medical care. But the recognition, if it comes, will not come as a moral or philosophical epiphany but as an interpretation and consolidation of the values we have gradually internalized as a society."

Wilson said Liu's views would be used to "justify everything from Obama's new national health care regime to the government takeovers of the mortgage, energy, and financial industries.  Anything that government has sunk its claws into even partially could then become the justification for redistribution since, in Liu's eyes, if it is offered to some, should be offered to all."

Liu stated that his goal was to attempt "a small step toward 'reformation of thought' on how welfare rights may be recognized through constitutional adjudication in a democratic society."

"In Goodwin Liu's world, the courts could require that the legislative branch allocate taxpayer funds to whatever the courts say the people are entitled to as a matter of right," Wilson explained.  "This not only breaches the separation of powers, it would grant as a matter of constitutional law powers to the Congress to redistribute wealth that are far beyond the scope of what the Constitution provides for."

Wilson called it "an incredibly dangerous proposition," concluding, "Every Senator on the Judiciary Committee must hold Goodwin Liu to account for his radical views on redistributing wealth, place holds, and do whatever it takes to make sure he never sits on the bench."


Goodwin Liu, Americans for Limited Government Nominee Alert, March 2010.