Liu had said Alito's vision was an America "where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy ... where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, even after no sign of resistance ... where the FBI may install a camera where you sleep ... where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man, absent ... analysis showing discrimination."
Liu told his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee that this "was not an appropriate way to describe Justice Alito." He described his own language as "unduly harsh," and added, "If I had it to do over again, I would have deleted it."
Writing about the chief justice as a nominee, Liu said that "with remarkable consistency throughout his career, Roberts ... applied his legal talent to further the cause of the far right."
Liu told the committee that "whatever I may have written in the books and the articles would have no bearing on my action as a judge."
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said on the Senate floor: "Well, Professor Liu waited four years to provide that semi-apology to Justice Alito for the shameful remarks. And like so many nominees who come before the Senate Judiciary Committee, they seem to undergo a nomination conversion that changes the tone and the nature of their remarks and their attitudes, and frankly we just can't depend on this conversion sticking."
Leahy has consistently criticized Republicans, saying they have been too slow to agree to confirmation votes for positions where judges are desperately needed. So far this year, Obama has nominated 75 judges; 38 have come out of committee, with 24 of them confirmed and 14 pending before the Senate. Thirty-seven remain in committee.
The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, disputed that. "It seems that the more we work with the majority on filling vacancies, the more complaints we hear," he said.
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