Reform, NCJW back Liu for appellate court

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two Jewish groups endorsed President Obama’s pick for an influential appellate court.

The Reform movement and the National Council for Jewish Women each endorsed Goodwin Liu, a University of California, Berkeley law professor, after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination to the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Each group urged a quick Senate vote confirming Liu.

"Professor Liu has a demonstrated commitment to the core constitutional values of liberty, equality, and justice," the NCJW said in its statement. "By voting to confirm Professor Liu, the Senate Judiciary Committee has recognized his outstanding qualifications, his role as a legal luminary, and his ability to hear each case before him with an open mind."

Rabbi David Saperstein, who directs the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, cited what he said were Liu’s "keen intellect, thoughtful approach to constitutional questions and commitment to public service." Liu addressed the 2007 biannual plenary of the Reform movement.

Senate Republicans had delayed hearings on Liu 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 its adherents, as well as his backing of abortion rights.

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

The 9th Circuit covers much of the western United States and its opinions often set precedent.

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