WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 24, 2010) The White House Office of the Press Secretary states that President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Goodwin Liu for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Liu currently serves as an Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Judge Chatigny currently serves as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Connecticut. His nomination was supported by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
“Goodwin Liu and Robert Chatigny have proven themselves to be not only first-rate legal minds but faithful public servants,” Obama stated. “It is with full confidence in their ability, integrity, and independence that I nominate them to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals.”
Goodwin Hon Liu is an Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. An acclaimed scholar, teacher, and lawyer, with experience in both the private and public sectors, Liu is a nationally-recognized expert on constitutional law and education law and policy. In 2009, he received Berkeley’s most prestigious teaching award and is a member of the American Law Institute.
Prior to joining the Berkeley faculty in 2003, Liu was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C. Walter Dellinger, chair of O’Melveny’s appellate practice, said Liu was “widely respected in law practice for his superb legal ability, his sound judgment, and his warm collegiality.”
Liu clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the October 2000 Term, and for Judge David S. Tatel on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1998-1999. Between his clerkships, he worked for the Corporation for National Service, where he helped launch the AmeriCorps program, and served as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.
In that capacity, he advised the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on a range of legal issues, including the development of guidelines to implement a $134 million congressional appropriation in 2000 to help turn around low-performing schools.
Former South Carolina Governor Richard Riley, who was U.S. Secretary of Education at the time, said Professor Liu was a “‘go-to’ person for important projects and complex issues because of his ability to see the big picture while also mastering the details of legal and policy problems.”
Liu’s community service work has been recognized through several awards, including the Pacific Islander, Asian, and Native American Law Students Association Alumni Award (Yale Law School); Asian American Alumni Award (Stanford University); and the Stanford Associates Governors’ Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service.
Throughout his career, Liu has gained respect from liberals and conservatives alike.
Clint Bolick, director of constitutional litigation at the Goldwater Institute, said, “Having reviewed several of his academic writings, I find Professor Liu to exhibit fresh, independent thinking and intellectual honesty. He clearly possesses the scholarly credentials and experience to serve with distinction on this important court.”
Tom Campbell, former dean of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a law professor who served nine years in Congress as a Republican, said, “Liu will bring scholarly distinction and a strong reputation for integrity, fair-mindedness, and collegiality to the Ninth Circuit.”
Liu was born in Augusta, Georgia, to Taiwanese doctors recruited to work in the United States by American medical institutions seeking assistance in serving underserved areas. He was raised in Clewiston, Florida and Sacramento, California where he learned to speak English in kindergarten reportedly because his parents worried that he and his brother would acquire an accent if taught English at home. He went on to graduate from public high school in Sacramento in 1977.
Liu then went on to become a distinguished graduate of Stanford University in 1991, before earning a Master’s Degree as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in 2002, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1998. He served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks to the sponsorship of the late Congressman Robert Matsui.
“Professor Liu’s nomination is a positive step to address the glaring absence of Asian Pacific Americans on the appellate level,” said George C. Wu, executive director, Organization of Chinese Americans. “As former law clerk to the Supreme Court and recognized scholar on constitutional law, Professor Liu will bring unsurpassed intellect and fairness to the Ninth Circuit.”
“I applaud President Obama’s nomination of Goodwin Liu to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes a courthouse in my congressional district of Portland, Oregon,” said U.S. Congressman David Wu (OR-1). “As a renowned legal scholar and dedicated public servant, Mr. Liu is an excellent choice to serve on the federal bench.
“We need to continue to increase Asian Pacific American participation in all levels of public life, from city councils to the federal bench, in order to reflect the true diversity of America,” Wu added.
Professor Liu joins Judge Denny Chin, nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Second Circuit, as the second Asian Pacific American federal appellate court nomination by the President.
Currently, there are no Asian Pacific American judges among the approximately 175 active federal appellate court jurists nationwide.
“Professor Liu is an exceptional attorney who is well-respected by lawyers across the ideological spectrum,” said Joseph J. Centeno, president, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “Professor Liu also will bring much-needed diversity to the federal appellate court bench, where Asian Pacific Americans currently are not represented at all.”
It has been over five years since there has been an active Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judge. In the history of the United States, only four Asian Pacific Americans have served as federal appellate court judges.
“We commend the President on nominating Professor Liu to the Ninth Circuit,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of Asian American Justice Center. “Professor Liu has superb integrity, intellect, and fairness, and the Ninth Circuit undoubtedly will benefit from his presence on that court.”
As Associate Dean of the law school, Professor Liu oversees the curriculum and takes the lead in setting instructional priorities, including the promotion process for tenure-track faculty, the hiring of new faculty, and the supervision of the law school’s lecturers and adjunct faculty.
“Goodwin is admired by his colleagues for his integrity, fairness, and good judgment,” said Christopher Edley, Dean of the law school. “He is one of the brightest and most capable colleagues I’ve had in my three decades in academia.”
Jesse Choper, a leading constitutional scholar and chair of Professor Liu’s tenure committee at UC Berkeley, said, “Liu’s qualifications to be a judge are nothing short of outstanding. He is a person of excellent judgment, with carefully considered and balanced views. I am confident he would be an especially fair jurist, and one with real intellectual firepower.”