Democrats needed 60 votes to move the nomination forward to final passage. Senate Republicans on Thursday toppled the nomination, 52-43, of controversial University of California-Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a first in President Barack Obama's presidency
In the end, only one Republican voted for the nominee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Nebraska's Ben Nelson was the lone Democrat to oppose Liu. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, chose to vote "present," a sign of his long-time opposition to judicial nominee filibusters. Democrats needed 60 votes to move the nomination to final passage.
GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said the nominee's writings "reveal a left-wing ideologue who views the role of a judge not as that of an impartial arbiter, but as someone who views the bench as a position of power." And though the Kentucky senator said he has "nothing against (Liu) personally, "Earning a lifetime appointment isn't a right, nor is it a popularity contest."
But Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., decried the filibuster, arguing that right-wing judicial nominees had received an up or down vote when Republicans were in power. "I listened to the speeches....I sometimes wonder who everyone's talking about," Leahy said. "No question, his intellect and qualifications, he should be treated with respect and admiration, not maligned."
Leahy also cited Liu's Taiwanese immigrant heritage as a reason for confirmation, noting, "There are no Asian-Pacific Americans on the bench."
Read more: Senate GOP Marks a First - Blocking an Obama Judicial Nominee - FoxNews.com