Just days after U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu in Washington withdrew from consideration for a top Justice Department post, an association of women lawyers decried the objections to her nomination as “misplaced” and said they were improperly used to derail her ascension to the third-in-command role as associate attorney general.

Liu, the top federal prosecutor in Washington and a former Big Law white-collar partner, ran into opposition on the Senate Judiciary Committee over her past affiliation with the National Association of Women Lawyers, a group that opposed Justice Samuel Alito’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006. Liu’s past affiliation with the group particularly irked Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a former Alito clerk, who questioned her conservative bona fides, including her stance on abortion.

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