Berkeley Law Lauds Gov’s Appointment of Goodwin Liu to CA Supreme Court

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Gluss, 510.642.6936,

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley, Jr., today called Gov. Brown’s nomination of law professor Goodwin Liu to the Supreme Court of California an “absolutely brilliant” move. Gov. Brown announced the appointment earlier today, calling Liu an “an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher.”

Professor Liu had been nominated by President Obama to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit more than one year ago, but Senate Republicans blocked a cloture vote on his nomination. Liu withdrew his name from consideration this past May.

“Governor Brown’s nomination of Goodwin Liu to the state’s highest court is absolutely brilliant. Anyone who watched Professor Liu testify during the rigorous Senate hearings on Capitol Hill knows that he’s an exemplary scholar with enormous constitutional knowledge and intellectual rigor. Liu is widely admired for his decency, moderation, and admirable judicial temperament. Our students and faculty will miss his leadership and scholarship dearly, but it’s a higher calling and California’s gain.”

Liu’s appointment follows the great tradition of UC Berkeley Law faculty and alums that have been chosen to serve on the state’s highest court.  Previous appointments include Ira Thompson 1909, Chief Justice Roger Traynor ’27, Mathew Tobriner ’32, Frank Newman ’41, Alan Broussard ’53, Cruz Reynoso ’58, Chief Justice Rose Bird ’65, and Kathryn Werdegar.

“Goodwin Liu is an outstanding choice,” said Berkeley Law professor and former dean Jesse Choper. “His colleagues, both at Berkeley Law and in the profession, have exceptionally high regard for his integrity, judgment, and legal acumen. He has a deep respect for the judiciary’s limited but important role in our constitutional democracy and will serve with distinction.”


Liu joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 2003 and earned tenure and promotion to Associate Dean in 2008. A nationally recognized expert on issues of educational equity, he won the Education Law Association’s Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in 2007. Liu is also a popular and acclaimed teacher, winning UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009, the university’s highest honor for teaching excellence.

Before coming to Berkeley Law, Liu practiced as a litigation attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of O’Melveny & Myers. He clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge David Tatel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He also served as a special assistant to the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and as a senior program officer at the Corporation for National Service.

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Liu grew up in Sacramento and attended public schools until he went to college at Stanford University. After graduating with honors, he won a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a masters degree at Oxford. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1998 and joined the California bar in 1999, making him the first person in his family to become a lawyer.