Berkeley Law Professor Goodwin Liu was sworn into the California Supreme Court last week, just over a month after Governor Jerry Brown nominated Liu to the bench.
The speed in the state confirmation process surprised Liu, who quipped, “I never thought the words nomination and confirmation could be separated by a mere 36 days. It has been a long journey for my family and me,” to the San Jose Mercury News.
Liu’s confirmation and swearing-in comes on the heels of more good news: Last week a California State Bar panel gave Liu their highest rating, complimenting his “brilliant intellect … impartiality, integrity, collegiality, and a work ethic second to none,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Liu first drew national attention in 2006 when he criticized then-Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito in his Supreme Court confirmation process, writing that "Alito's record envisions an American where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse."
Liu's criticism of Alito contributed to the failure of his own Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nomination, but he still maintained a legion of bipartisan fans, including Kenneth Starr and former George W. Bush chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter.
Liu's first week on the bench should be exciting: The court will hear arguments in the Proposition 8 challenge, and will hold a special hearing at U.C. Hastings Law School.
Prior to joining the Berkeley faculty in 2003, Liu 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. Liu 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). Goodwin Liu is a Yale Law School graduate and a Rhodes Scholar.