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Goodwin Liu, California Supreme Court nominee, 'deeply honored'

July 26, 2011 | 10:23 am

UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu in his office in March 2010.

Gov. Jerry Brown described his nominee to the California Supreme Court as “an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher.”

Brown nominated UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the state’s highest court Tuesday, which would give the seven-member panel a fourth Asian justice and a collegial liberal who is likely to be strongly supportive of civil rights.

“He is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law and has experience in private practice, government service and in the academic community,” Brown said in his announcement. “I know that he will be an outstanding addition to our state supreme court.”

Liu, a graduate of Yale Law School, is the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He was born in Georgia, grew up in Sacramento and has a history of public service.

“I’m deeply honored by Gov. Brown’s nomination and look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of California on our state’s highest court,” Liu said in a statement.

Before joining the Berkeley Law faculty in 2003, Liu was an appellate litigator at O'Melveny & Myers in Washington. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and for Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He also served as special assistant to the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and as senior program officer for higher education at the Corporation for National Service (AmeriCorps).

Brown has forwarded Liu’s name to the State Bar’s Commission of Judicial Nominees Evaluation. The appointment will not become final until the Commission on Judicial Appointments -- consisting of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, senior presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal -- confirms the nomination.

Liu will replace Associate Justice Carlos Moreno, who retired from the court earlier this year.


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-- Maura Dolan

Photo: UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu in his office in March 2010. Credit: Laura Morton / For The Times