Liu Nominated to California High Court

Goodwin Liu
Goodwin Liu

UPDATED:  The Republicans in the U.S. Senate may have filibustered Goodwin Liu to block his  appointment to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but Gov. Jerry Brown just nominated him to the California Supreme Court.  Brown’s nomination of 40-year-old Liu would make him the replacement for retired Justice Carlos Moreno, the only Latino on the court.

The Commission on Judicial Appointments set August 31 for the confirmation hearing on Liu’s appointment.

Liu ran afoul of conservatives last year who feared he could be a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court someday and were upset with his public criticism of Justice Samuel Alito’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by then-President George W. Bush.

Liu, who has been a Berkeley law professor since 2003, was criticized by Republicans for his lack of judicial experience and were concerned about his advocacy of affirmative action and gay marriage.

A majority of the state’s district attorneys also opposed the nomination citing his writings critical of capital punishment.

Liu did have support among liberals and a number of noted legal conservatives, including former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, Richard Painter, who was legal counsel to President George W. Bush and former Rep. Tom Campbell, now dean of Chapman University’s law school.

He was endorsed by the American Bar Association and the California prison guard’s union and labor unions.

Brown called Liu “an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher.”

Liu is the son of Taiwanese immigrants and was born in Georgia.  His family moved to Sacramento when he was 7.

Liu must be confirmed before the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments, consisting of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Joan Dempsey Klein, the state’s senior presiding appellate justice.

That confirmation hearing comes after a review by a California State Bar committee.

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