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Reform backs Obama 9th Circuit pick

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Reform movement is backing a pick for the federal appellate court caught in a tug of war between Republicans and Democrats over his liberal views.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have delayed the nomination of Goodwin Liu, a University of California, Berkeley law professor, to the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit because of his tough criticism of "originalism," the conservative school of legal thought that claims to hew to the outlook of the constitutional framers and of its adherents, as well as his backing of abortion rights.

"The Jewish tradition teaches the importance of fair, just, and impartial courts," the Religious Action Center wrote last week in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsing Liu, 39.  "Nominees to the federal bench, serving lifetime appointments, can have an influence on federal jurisprudence for decades, eroding or enhancing the core values that the Reform Movement supports. We therefore pay close attention to the nominees who are appointed. Prof. Liu’s keen intellect, thoughtful approach to constitutional questions, and commitment to public service make him a terrific nominee to the 9th Circuit."

Some prominent conservatives also have backed Liu’s nomination, noting his dissent in testimony and public statements from liberal orthodoxies on gay marriage and on charter schools.

The next committee vote for Liu is scheduled for Thursday.

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