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Gov. Jerry Brown nominated UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Surpeme Court today

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Goodwin Liu

Born October 1970 (1970-10) (age 40)
Augusta, Georgia
Nationality American
Alma mater Stanford University (B.S.)
University of Oxford (M.Phil.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)
Occupation Professor, lawyer
Spouse Ann O’Leary
Children Violet O’Leary-Liu
Emmett O’Leary-Liu

Goodwin Hon Liu (Chinese: 劉弘威) (born October 1970) is an American lawyer and educator. He is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).[1] He has been recognized for his writing on constitutional law, education policy, civil rights, and the Supreme Court.[1] On February 24, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Liu to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[2] For more than a year, Liu’s nomination languished, amid significant opposition from Republicans in the U.S. Senate. On May 19, 2011, the Senate rejected cloture on Liu’s nomination in a 52-43 vote,[3] and on May 25, 2011, Liu informed President Obama that he is withdrawing his name from consideration to the seat on the Ninth Circuit, telling the president that “With no possibility of an up-or-down vote on the horizon, my family and I have decided that it is time for us to regain the ability to make plans for the future.”[4]



[edit] Early life, education and career

Liu is of Taiwanese descent. Born in Augusta, Georgia[2] as the second son of Wen-Pen and Yang-Ching Liu, both of whom came to the United States from Taiwan in the late 1960s when foreign doctors were being recruited to work in underserved areas. Liu and his family moved to Clewiston, Florida, shortly after his birth and then in 1977, they relocated to Sacramento, California, where Liu graduated from Rio Americano High School. He went to Stanford University and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. While at Stanford, he was active in student politics as a member of the People’s Platform, serving on the Council of Presidents of the ASSU. He attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a masters degree in philosophy and physiology. Liu received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Yale Law School.

Before joining the Boalt 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 S. 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).

[edit] Nomination to the Ninth Circuit

On February 24, 2010, President Obama nominated Liu to a new judgeship seat on the Ninth Circuit created by the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007; which became effective on January 21, 2009. His nomination was filibustered by Republicans in the Senate and expired with the sine die adjournment of the 111th Congress.[5] He was renominated to the same position on the first full day of the 112th Congress.[6][7] On April 7, 2011 the Senate Judiciary Committee reported his nomination to the floor of the Senate by a 10-8 vote.[8]

Liu’s nomination earned support from former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr [9] and former Associate White House Counsel to President George W. Bush Richard Painter[10] on the right, to former Acting Solicitor General to President Bill Clinton, Walter Dellinger[11] and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA),[12] on the left.

On May 17, 2011, Senator Harry Reid filed a cloture motion on Liu’s nomination.[13] On May 19, 2011, the Senate rejected cloture in a mostly party-line vote of 52-43, with all but one Democrat voting in favor of cloture and all but one Republican voting against.[3] He became the first Obama judicial nominee to be successfully filibustered in the Senate.[14] With the makeup of the Senate unlikely to change until after the 2012 election, Liu withdrew his name from consideration on May 25, 2011.

[edit] Controversy and criticism

In addition to his academic work, Liu gained wide attention for his outspoken opposition to the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In a 2005 op-ed for the Bloomberg news service, Liu argued that “a Supreme Court nominee must be evaluated on more than legal intellect.”[15] He criticized Roberts for having “applied his legal talent to further the cause of the far right” and said that Roberts had “a right-wing vision antagonistic to important rights and protections we currently enjoy.”[15] In response to the defense that Roberts’ opinions as a government attorney could not be attributed to Roberts himself, Liu argued that those positions “cohere with other aspects of his background” and indicate that Roberts would be “a social, political, and economic conservative and, importantly, not a judicial conservative” on the Court.[15] Later, in testimony before the Senate opposing Alito’s nomination, Liu said that, despite Alito’s “exceptionally talented legal mind,” he was “at the margin of the judicial spectrum, not the mainstream.”[16] In flamboyant language, Liu said that Alito “envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse” and “where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man, absent [an] analysis showing discrimination,” concluding that Alito’s America “is not the America we know. Nor is it the America we aspire to be.”[16]

Liu’s nomination was harshly criticized by conservative legal blogger and former Department of Justice lawyer M. Edward Whelan III on National Review Online.[17] Whelan argued that Liu has been a strong proponent of judicial activism in his legal writings, a claim rejected by supporters such as Liu’s faculty colleague Jesse Choper and former Bush White House counsel Richard Painter.[18][19] His arguments against the Roberts and Alito nominations also were an issue, with Whelan terming them “shoddy and demagogic,”[20] while Liu’s supporters such as Painter argue that lawyers should “feel free to speak their minds about Supreme Court and other judicial nominations without fear of retribution.”[19] Although Liu said at his nomination hearing that his statements about Alito were “unduly harsh” and “not an appropriate” description of Alito, one opposing senator described this as a “semi-apology” for “shameful remarks” and a “nomination conversion” that was unlikely to represent Liu’s true views.[14]

Liu was also criticized by Senate Republicans for allegedly failing to disclose 117 of his more controversial writings and speeches.[21][22] On April 6, 2010, Liu submitted the 117 requested items to the committee as a supplemental to the original questionnaire.[23] The committee hearing had been postponed twice particularly due to Republican concerns over Liu’s judicial qualifications and record.[24] On April 6, 2010, a letter was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy by the seven committee Republicans to request a third postponement, which was subsequently rejected.[25] Liu was also criticized for lack of trial-level experience. Prior to his nomination, Liu had not served as a judge and had argued only one case at the appellate court level as a lawyer.[26][27]

[edit] Positions

Liu is socially liberal. He has written in favor of affirmative action, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage and has been critical of Bush-era waterboarding policy and the death penalty. His positions are usually left-leaning; however, Liu has supported charter schools and government-funded vouchers for private schools, particularly if used as a tool to “promote racial diversity.”[28]

[edit] Publications

Liu’s recent work includes “Keeping Faith with the Constitution” (2009) (with Pamela S. Karlan and Christopher H. Schroeder);[29] “Rethinking Constitutional Welfare Rights” in Stanford Law Review (2008);[30] “History Will Be Heard: An Appraisal of the Seattle/Louisville Decision” in Harvard Law & Policy Review (2008);[31] “Improving Title I Funding Equity Across States, Districts, and Schools,” in Iowa Law Review (2008);[32] “Seattle and Louisville” in California Law Review (2007);[33] “Education, Equality, and National Citizenship” in Yale Law Journal (2006);[34] and “Interstate Inequality in Educational Opportunity” in New York University Law Review (2006).[35]

[edit] Accomplishments and awards

In 2007, Liu’s work won the Education Law Association’s Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law.[36] In 2009, Professor Liu won the UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award,[37] the university’s most prestigious award for excellence in teaching. The Boalt Hall Class of 2009 selected him as the faculty commencement speaker.[38]

[edit] Appearances

This biographical section of an article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (August 2010)

Liu is a frequent commentator on constitutional law and education policy in general media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and National Public Radio. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the California Assembly Education Committee, and the California Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees.

[edit] Public service

This biographical section of an article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (August 2010)

Liu recently served on the education policy and agency review teams of the Presidential transition of Barack Obama. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society. He also serves on the boards of National Women’s Law Center, the Public Welfare Foundation, and the Alliance for Excellent Education. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 2008. Liu also served as a faculty advisor to the California College Prep Academy, a public charter school co-founded by UC Berkeley and Aspire Public Schools.

[edit] Personal

Liu is married to Ann O’Leary, the daughter of a social worker and a union leader, who grew up in Orono, Maine. She is the founding Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security. Liu and his wife have one daughter, Violet, and one son, Emmett. Liu has run four marathons and is also a skilled chef and fisherman.[28]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b “Berkeley Law – Faculty Profiles”. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  2. ^ a b President Obama Nominates Goodwin Liu for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Robert N. Chatigny for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, (February 24, 2010).
  3. ^ a b “Senate Roll Call”. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Boalt dean Liu’s nomination to federal appeals court appears dead — for now.
  6. ^ David Kurtz (2011-01-05). “Round 2”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  7. ^ Perez, Evan. “Obama Tries Again on Judicial Nominees”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  8. ^ “Senate Judiciary Committee”. 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  9. ^ Kenneth Starr and Akhil Amar Pen Letter Backing Liu, “”, March 24, 2010.
  10. ^ Goodwin Liu and the Case of the Missing Brown Bag, “Legal Ethics Forum”, April 7, 2010.
  11. ^ Obama nominates Berkeley professor Goodwin Liu to federal appeals court, “The Washington Post”, February 24, 2010.
  12. ^ Boxer Praises President’s Nomination of Goodwin Liu for U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals , “Official Website of Senator Barbara Boxer”, February 24, 2010.
  13. ^ “Congressional Record May 17, 2011, Senate, Items 17 & 18”. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  14. ^ a b Larry Margasak (2011-05-19). “Obama pick for bench blocked by GOP”. Associated Press. 
  15. ^ a b c Goodwin Liu (2005-07-22). “Roberts Would Swing the Supreme Court to the Right: Goodwin Liu”. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  16. ^ a b “Testimony of Professor Goodwin Liu Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the Nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the United States Supreme Court”. United States Senate Judiciary Committee. 2006-01-10. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  17. ^ Unsound and Unfit, National Review Online, March 24, 2010.
  18. ^ Letter from Jesse Choper to Senators Leahy and Sessions, April 7, 2010.
  19. ^ a b Richard Painter (2011-03-02). “Qualified, Measured, and Mainstream: Why the Senate Should Confirm Goodwin Liu”. Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  20. ^ Ed Whelan (2010-05-03). “Painter’s Wild Misportrait of Liu”. National Review Online. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  21. ^ Republicans Slam Obama Judicial Nominee Over 117 Omissions From Record,, April 6, 2010.
  22. ^ Goodwin Hiu Caught Hiding the Ball, Power Line Blog, April 6, 2010.
  23. ^ Pershing, Ben (April 7, 2010). “Senate Democrats defend 9th Circuit Court nominee Liu against GOP criticism”. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  24. ^ Leahy to forge ahead with Liu hearing despite GOP objections, “The Hill”, April 7, 2010.
  25. ^ “Leahy won’t delay hearing for appeals court pick criticism”. Associated Press. April 7, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  26. ^ “Partisan Battle in U.S. Senate May Imperil Judicial Nominee Liu”. Businessweek. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  27. ^ “Liu Nomination Pushes 9th Circuit Farther Left”. Human Events. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  28. ^ a b Egelko, Bob (March 14, 2010). “Obama nominee Goodwin Liu an unassuming man”. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  29. ^ “Keeping Faith with the Constitution | Stanford Law School”. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  30. ^ Goodwin Liu, Rethinking Constitutional Welfare Rights, Stanford Law Review (November 2008).
  31. ^ [1][dead link]
  32. ^ Goodwin Liu, Improving Title I Funding Equity Across States, Districts, and Schools, Iowa Law Review (2008).
  33. ^ Goodwin Liu, Seattle and Louisville, California Law Review (February 2007).
  34. ^ Goodwin Liu, Education, Equality, and National Citizenship, Yale Law Journal (November 5, 2006).
  35. ^ Goodwin Liu, Interstate Inequality in Educational Opportunity
  36. ^ UC Berkeley School of Law Assistant Professor Goodwin Liu Wins Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law, (October 23, 2007).
  37. ^ “Distinguished Teaching Awards 2009 | Goodwin Liu”. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  38. ^ “Berkeley Law – Commencement”. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 

[edit] External links

Name Liu, Goodwin
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Date of birth 1970
Place of birth Augusta, Georgia
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About Leslie Brodie

Leslie Brodie is a reporter, writer, blogger, activist, and a religious leader in the community.


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