The Bay Area's two federal bench nominees advanced today from the Senate Judiciary Committee on the expected party-line votes.
Now the fight moves to the full Senate where the confirmations are anything but assured.
President Obama nominated Northern District Magistrate Judge Edward Chen for a judgeship and UC Berkeley law school associate dean Goowdin Liu for a seat on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued an impassioned defense of both today, pointing to Chen’s nine-year history as a magistrate and Liu’s “great mind.”
“Here there is judicial experience. It is reasoned. It’s temperate. It’s prudent. It’s everything we want it to be,” she said. “And yet I sit here, and I listen to nine years of expertise as a magistrate judge being slurred.”
As for Liu, she seemed resigned to the fact his nomination would be blocked over speeches Republicans are using against him.
She said he is a “remarkable young man ... and yet this speech or that speech is essentially likely to kill his candidacy, and I just think that is wrong,” the senator said.
“And I sense that the other side of the aisle has made some compact, or some decision that no matter what they are going to be negative on these judges,” she added.