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Goodwin Liu's California Supreme Court nomination set for Aug. 31 vote

July 27, 2011 |  4:41 pm

Photo: UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu in his office in March 2010. Credit: Laura Morton / For The Times  A state panel will meet Aug. 31 to consider Gov. Jerry Brown's appointment of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court, a process expected to produce quick approval in contrast to the drawn-out debacle that defeated the liberal scholar's nomination for a seat on a federal appeals court.

Liu, 40, will be considered by the state Commission on Judicial Appointments, a three-member panel headed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye,  a moderate Republican appointed to the state high court by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The other panel members are Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat, and Court of Appeal Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, a Brown appointee.  Klein sits on the panel as the state's senior presiding appeals court justice.

President Obama nominated Liu for a seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year, but conservative Republicans blocked his ascent, fearing the appeals court would put him too close to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Liu is expected to be on the state high court in time to hear a key same-sex marriage case.

The court will hold arguments, possibly in early September, on whether state law gives initiative proponents an automatic right to appeal decisions on the measures they sponsored. The 9th Circuit has postponed a decision on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that reinstated the marriage ban, until it determines whether the sponsors of the measure were legally entitled to appeal a District Court ruling against it.

The hearing and confirmation vote will be held at 3 p.m. in the California Supreme Court courtroom in San Francisco.


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Photo: UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu. Credit: Laura Morton / For The Times