A first for President Obama's term in office: Republicans derailed his nominee for the federal bench.
The president's choice for 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu, was blocked by the Senate after failing to reach the needed 60 votes to invoke cloture and proceed to a vote on the nomination itself.
Liu is a 39-year-old professor of law at University of California at Berkeley, and Republicans call him an ideologue who they believe would become a judicial activist if confirmed for the bench. Democrats pointed out the Liu received a wide range of endorsements. Liu had testified against the nominations of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.
Even GOP Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham -- who had been part of the so-called Gang of 14 that negotiated a deal to prevent judicial filibusters and defer to a president's choice except in "extraordinary cases" -- voted against Liu.
Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke with her party to support Liu's nomination.
Democrats needed seven Republicans to join them.