Obama pick for bench may be defeated by GOP

May 19, 2011 - 3:44 AM

Senate Republicans may hand President Barack Obama his first defeat on a judicial nomination, as they appear to have sufficient votes to sustain a filibuster against liberal law professor Goodwin Liu (Loo).

Democrats decided to force a vote Thursday to end GOP blocking tactics against the University of California, Berkeley, scholar. Senate aides from both parties say it doesn't appear Democrats have enough votes to stop a filibuster.

In other contentious Obama judicial nominations, Democrats haven't forced a vote unless they were confident of victory. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on confidential vote counts.

Liu was nominated for the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has become a test case for both parties and their supporters.