GOP Blocking Obama's San Francisco Judicial Nominee


GOP blocking Obama's San Francisco judicial nomineeSenate Republicans have sent the nomination of U.S. Magistrate Edward Chen for the position of federal judge in San Francisco back to the White House for a review.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Chen, 52, in a vote along party lines 12-7 in October, but the GOP has attacked him for his previous work as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In that position, he led an unsuccessful challenge to Proposition 209, the 1996 California initiative that banned government affirmative action programs based on race or gender, according to San Francisco Chronicle.

Chen also criticized the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina and is known for his pro-choice views.

Conservative commentators such as columnist Warner Todd Huston have warned that Chen would be an activist judge, saying "[he is] one of those sorts of judicial activists that uses the law to spread his own particular philosophy of social justice," quoted by

Chen’s is not the only nomination that has run into trouble. Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University professor who was tapped by Obama to become his top legal adviser, has also seen her candidacy stall in the Senate. According to the Indianapolis Star, Johnsen was a critic of the Department of Justice anti-terrorism policies during the Bush administration and was once the legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

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