Some Facts on Supreme Court Nominations

I have a whole lot of notes on Supreme Court nominations right now for my law school writing requirement, which is somewhat timely considering that it is on the topic of (you guessed it) Supreme Court nominations, so I thought I might pass on a few quick tidbits before putting together something more comprehensive.

  • More than a third of Supreme Court Justices in American history have (38) come to the high court without any prior judicial experience.
  • Well over half of all Justices -- 60 out of 111 (.pdf), or 54 percent -- have come to the Court with prior experience in elective office. That is to say, a majority of Supreme Court Justices over time have run for and won public office in the past, from city councils all the way up to the Presidency.

So if you hear a pundit intone that someone on President Obama's shortlist to replace Justice John Paul Stevens is unacceptable because they would come to the Court without prior Judicial experience, or that they are not suited for the Court because they had previously worked in politics, do note that these assumptions aren't really grounded in the history of the Court (even if they have come to be accepted in recent years).

The National Review Online Thinks I'm a "Stalinist"

Alternative title to this post: Why I haven't been posting as much lately on MyDD.

The past few weeks, I have been typing away fast at, the blog I set up supporting the nomination of my Berkeley Law professor Goodwin Liu to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

My writings seem to have rattled National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan, who this afternoon wrote the following: "Jonathan Singer at continues to display his Stalinist intellectual temperament." All of this, apparently, for coming to the same conclusion as former Associate White House Counsel for Ethics under George W. Bush Richard Painter, who wrote that Liu's "original answers to the questions [put forward by the Senate Judiciary Committee] were a careful and good faith effort to supply the Senate with the information it needed to assess his nomination" and that Liu "provided a lot more information than many nominees do in response to these questions."

You know they've run out of genuine arguments when they start calling names...

Pakistan’s Economy Hurt By Attacks On Government

Attacks on Pakistan’s democratically elected government by opposition parties and a hostile judiciary are damaging the nation’s economy according to Moody’s Investor Services analyst Aninda Mitra. According to an interview Mr. Mitra gave to Reuters news service on Wednesday.


There's more...

Pakistan's Court Appointees Should Be Independent

Just as Pakistan’s first democratically elected government in decades was on the brink of undoing a number of power grabs by past military dictators, a wrench has been thrown in the works by an opposition politician and party leader. Mr. Nawaz Sharif, head of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party (PML-N) is holding up passage of a package of constitutional reforms that would restore proper checks and balances on power.

There's more...

Confirm Goodwin Liu to the Court of Appeals

As I noted here last week, President Obama has nominated Goodwin Liu, a constitutional law professor of mine at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, to a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Unsurprisingly, the right wing is already setting its sites on Professor Liu, just as they have on virtually all of the President's other judicial nominees. I have tried to correct some of the record with regard to Professor Liu here at MyDD. But in an effort to broaden the effort, I have created a new website in support of his nomination:

The site is already loaded with a good deal of information -- statements from academics, politicians and media outlets of all stripes, Professor Liu's biography, fact checks. The site also contains a petition so that people can register their support for the nomination.

Professor Liu would make a great federal judge. Don't just take my word for it. Ask the American Bar Association, which awarded Goodwin Liu it's highest possible rating: a unanimous "well qualified." Ask the Sacramento Bee, which recently editorialized that "it is hard to image anyone who's better qualified than Liu." Ask the officials and academics from across the ideological and political spectrum speaking out on behalf of Professor Liu's nomination. Stop by today.


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