Given that the Dems in Congress are raising the refusal to actually read pertinent documents in the course of passing legislation, I’m not sure why I’m surprised they don’t consider the writings and speeches of a nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals important enough to go over before a hearing. Professor Goodwin Liu, the nominee in question, was asked for such documentation as part of the nomination and hearing process. When the staff going over the documents found references to things that weren’t included in the document dump, they called him on it. When he then coughed up the additional 117 documents, Senate Republicans asked for another delay in the hearings so they could go over the material. The Democrats have said “no” to the request:
Democrats refused Wednesday to delay the confirmation hearing for one of President Obama’s most controversial judicial nominees a day after Republicans slammed the candidate for failing to initially disclose more than 100 of his speeches, publications and other background materials.
The hearing for Goodwin Liu, a Berkeley law professor nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, already had been postponed twice. Republicans have targeted Liu for his writings suggesting health care is a right and describing the U.S. Constitution as a document that should adapt to changes in the world.
On Tuesday, Republicans asked for an additional delay after Liu gave the Senate Judiciary Committee a bundle of supplemental material that contained 117 things he left out after his February nomination.
But Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wrote in a letter to Republicans Wednesday that the hearing will go forward as scheduled next Friday.
Leahy makes a harumphing reference to the fact that Liu’s hearing has been re-scheduled twice and that members of the committee will have had 7 weeks to go over Liu’s stuff. But that’s exactly the point – Liu withheld a huge chunk of stuff and the members will not have had 7 weeks to go over any of that. Leahy says he’s “disappointed” that Liu didn’t provide the material in the first place but that there’s nothing in there would disqualify him from consideration. Now how does he know that? Unless, of course, he’s actually seen the documents already.
Republicans wrote on Tuesday to request the delay:
“At best, this nominee’s extraordinary disregard for the committee’s constitutional role demonstrates incompetence; at worst, it creates the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his most controversial work from the committee,” the Republicans wrote in the letter to Leahy Tuesday. “Professor Liu’s unwillingness to take seriously his obligation to complete these basic forms is potentially disqualifying and has placed his nomination in jeopardy.”
The letter said Liu only provided the extra material after committee staff had found a number of omissions in the packet he gave up front.
No one out there reading this can seriously make the claim that were this a nominee advanced by a Republican President that Leahy and the Dems wouldn’t be screaming their heads off about the omission. A delay in the hearing is the least they’d be demanding. To suggest that this kind of action doesn’t warrant a very careful parsing of the new documents provided is a callous disregard for their senatorial duties.