Despite opposition, Obama-appointee confirmed for N.Y. court

John O'Brien Feb. 23, 2012, 6:44am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A group that campaigns against judicial activism had a problem with Jesse Furman, the recently confirmed newest judge on a New York City federal court.

Furman was confirmed Friday as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan with a 62-34 vote. Judicial Action Group had tried to stop his confirmation, arguing that he is too liberal.

President Barack Obama nominated Furman in June. Furman's brother Jason is also an Obama-appointee, as he is the deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Among JAG's concerns is Furman's participation in the executive committee of the New York Lawyers Chapter of the American Constitution Society. JAG says the group has an activist interpretation of the Constitution.

"This group rejects original intent and judicial restraint, and advocates for an activist judiciary," a call to action written by JAG says. "Furman's chapter of the ACS has sponsored events such as 'Conservative Justices Run Amok: A Return to Principled Constitutionalism.'"

JAG was also upset by the support Furman gave one-time Obama-appointee Goodwin Liu, a law professor whose nomination to a federal appellate court was blocked by Senate Republicans. California Gov. Jerry Brown then nominated him to the state Supreme Court.

"Furman signed a joint letter from Yale Law School alumni expressing support for extremist Goodwin Liu... whose nomination was ultimately withdrawn following significant controversy and bipartisan opposition," JAG said.

"In the joint letter, Furman endorsed the notion that 'based on what we know firsthand, that Goodwin would approach every case with diligence, care and impartiality.' Furman's assessment of extremist Liu is further confirmation of Furman's own anti-constitutional philosophy that judges should usurp legislative power."

The group is also upset by the nomination of Michael Fitzgerald to a district court in California. The Senate has not taken action on his nomination.

Fitzgerald is a former federal prosecutor. JAG says he has a history of using the judiciary to advance his social agenda and that he is a member of numerous organizations that use sexual opportunism to advance their agenda. Fitzgerald is openly gay.

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