Last night on C-SPAN I watched some of the hearings to confirm Goodwin Liu for the Court of Appeals. A summary can be found here: http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/04/16/a-rough-day-for-an-obama-judiciary-nominee-echoes-of-a-supreme-court-fight/
Republicans, who had earlier delayed the hearing twice, jumped on Liu for several things. One was his failure to provide a complete record of his past writings and speeches. Democrats responded by using their time not to ask questions, but to give examples of past instances when Republican nominees also failed to provide these items upon request. In particular, neither Justices Alito or Roberts provided complete records, and tens of thousands of pages of documents were only provided a few days before the hearing, just what the Republicans were complaining about so vehemently here.
Similarly, Republicans were whining about the fact that Liu has never tried a case. Democrats responded by providing detailed examples of past Republican nominees with less experience than Liu, nominees who nevertheless sailed through to confirmation. A double standard here? I think so.
As with the Sotomayor confirmation, this nominee was hammered with quotes taken out of context. His criticism of Alito was especially troublesome to Republicans. Liu had written that "Judge Alito's record envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse; 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 on the promise that they won't turn it on unless an informant is in the room; where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man." When asked about this, Liu explained that this referred to a series of decisions Alito had rendered, and that it was preceded in his (Liu's) book by a detailed analysis of those decisions.
How this nomination process unfolds will give us a clue as to whether the Republicans are going to be at all constructive, or whether our democracy is on the ropes.