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Senate Democrats have rejected a Republican effort to delay a hearing for a liberal appeals court nominee, making clear they are ready for a partisan fight.

A hearing for University of California-Berkeley, law professor Goodwin Liu will go on as scheduled April 16, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said Wednesday. He said Republicans were unwilling to "put political rancor aside" to debate the nomination, which will test President Obama's ability to fill court seats with liberals as well as moderates.

All seven committee Republicans had asked for a delay. In a letter sent Tuesday, they wrote Leahy arguing Liu's belated responses to a committee questionnaire justified a delay in the hearing for the nominee to a San Francisco-based appeals court.

But Leahy, D-Vt., wrote the panel's senior Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, that he had already postponed the hearing twice — once due to a Republican request and then because of GOP stalling tactics.

The chairman said he was disappointed that "we have seen the same delays and obstructionist approach toward these nominees on the Senate floor extend to the committee's consideration."

If confirmed, Liu would serve on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals serving California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii and Montana.


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