It's a damn shame. After languishing judicial limbo for months, and going through the gauntlet of aggressive Senate Republican scrutiny, his nomination fell victim to a successful GOP filibuster, blocking an up-or-down vote. This week, Professor Liu informed the president that he is withdrawing because there's little prospect that the Senate will ever vote on his nomination:
While Republicans have dragged their feet for many months on some judicial nominees, Liu's appointment was the first in which they hung together to block an up-or-down vote. Last week, Democrats fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to cut off the filibuster, with all but one Republican voting to block a vote.Basically, Professor Liu stepped aside because this was taking too damn long, and there were important vacancies on the 9th Circuit. He was an extremely qualified nominee, by any measure, but the Senate could not get its act together. After all that, we will not see him serve as a federal judge, thanks to good old Republican obstruction. More here: Goodbye to All That: Liu Drops Bid for Judgeship.
Now, Liu, a 40-year-old liberal Berkeley law professor and associate dean, has written to the president that he is withdrawing because there is little prospect that the Senate will ever vote on his nomination, and because, as he put it, there is a "desperate need" for judges to fill the existing vacancies on the 9th Circuit, which covers California and eight other Western states.
With Liu's withdrawal, there are three vacancies on the 9th Circuit and no nominees for two of those seats.