WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — President Barack Obama has been handed his first Senate defeat of a judicial nominee. Republicans mustered enough votes to continue their filibuster against University of California, Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu.

The 40-year-old Liu could one day be a dream Supreme Court candidate for liberals.

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Democrats needed 60 votes to end the blocking tactics and give Liu an up-or-down vote. The vote to end the filibuster fell short of that, at 52-43.

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Republicans argued that Liu is a liberal ideologue who would bring his views with him to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals. They objected to Liu’s sharp criticisms of Chief Justice John Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when they were Republican nominees.

Democrats said Liu, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, is a scholar who received the American Bar Association’s top rating.

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