Obama Pushing to Diversify Federal Judiciary amid GOP Delays

The Obama judges, many of them in their 40s, also establish a diverse bench of progressives whom Obama or future presidents could tap for Supreme Court vacancies.

One such nominee was Goodwin Liu, Obama’s pick in February 2010 for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. As a Taiwanese American, Liu was an historic selection. But Republicans stalled his nomination for 15 months, saying that his past writings showing a broad interpretation of the Constitution and his sharp criticism of conservative Supreme Court justices John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. were so liberal that he did not deserve an up-or-down vote.

“Goodwin Liu should run for elected office, not serve as a judge,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in a May 2011 statement. “Ideologues have their place, just not on the bench.”

Later that month, Liu withdrew.

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