Brown Nominates Goodwin Liu to Replace Carlos Moreno

Jorde Symposium 2010Liu will have big shoes to fill

by Brian Leubitz

The news of Carlos Moreno’s retirement earlier this year was not entirely surprising, yet it did leave a big hole on the California Supreme Court.  Moreno was the only Justice appointed by a Democrat, and while the Court was fairly moderate on social issues (see marriage equality 1 and 2), it often tilted to the Right on economic issues.

Moreno was a voice that sought fairness and a standard of law that imposed rights and duties on corporations just as it did on ordinary citizens.  His strength of character and perseverance were essential to building a reasonable consensus on the court.  Jerry had quite the shoes to fill when Moreno announced his retirement.

There was a big push for a Latino, and while that goal was not achieved, the appointment of Goodwin Liu will fill many other goals for the Court.

Gov. Jerry Brown nominated UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court Tuesday, giving the state high court a fourth Asian justice and a collegial liberal who is likely to be strongly supportive of civil rights.

Liu was President Obama’s pick for a seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but he failed to garner enough Republican support. Liu, 40, has never been a judge, but his colleagues at Berkeley, including conservatives, strongly endorsed him for the position.(LA Times)

Liu will be a strong voice for ordinary Californians on the Court. While hardly a radical leftist, he does have a sincere respect for civil rights.  While President Obama was not willing to spend the “political capital” to get him on the federal appellate bench, he will be allowed a fairly simple confirmation here.  He may face some pressure when he faces a retention vote in the general election, but unless something drastically changes between now and then, nothing will really come of it.

Liu’s appointment gives the Court a strong representation in the Asian community.  However, the Court will have no Latinos or African-Americans, something the Governor would be wise to rectify in the next appointment process.

4 thoughts on “Brown Nominates Goodwin Liu to Replace Carlos Moreno”

  1. Goodwin is  a strong supporter of Prop 8 and a GREAT choice.

    Wild that there will be FOUR Asian Americans, NO Latinos or African Americans on the 7-member Cal Sup Ct

    1 API woman (CHIEF Cantil-Sakauye)

    2 white women (Werdegar and Corrigan cough)

    2 API male (Chin and Liu)

    1 API woman (Kennard)

    1 white male(Baxter)

  2. Gordon Liu seems like a Great choice

    An academic from UC Berkeley

    I also feel sympathetic after Liu’s mistreatment by the Republican Senate (and brain dead President)

    I’m hopeful, that given a chance, Brown will choose a Latino or African American on his next choice

    I think that kind of inclusion is important

    Especially since Latinos are on the way to becoming the largest ethnic group in the state

  3. While I applaud the Liu nomination to our Supreme Court, I find distressing this “chattering” about some sort of “fair representation” doctrine based on ethnic origin.  Let me pose some examples that may highlight the silliness such counting (and worse, allocating):

    1. Our House of Reps in DC is 435 strong, and 27 members are Jewish.  Followers of Judaism constitute about 1.4% of the US population… 1.4% of Reps would be 6 Jewish members.  Some other group is not “fairly” represented due to this level of Jewish members.  Should we complain or do something?  Heck no, I don’t see an issue here.

    2.  African-Americans are about 6% of our State population.  We seat 7 Justices on the Supreme Court.  6% gets 1 Justice slot?!?  When there is an African-American on the Court, will anyone mind that African-Americans are over-represented by over 50%?  Won’t bother me at all.

    3.  Latino/a people of Mexican origin in California actually are about 10% of all Mexicans worldwide.  Do you hear a call in Mexico for 1 seat (of 11) on the Mexican Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación) to go to a Californian of Mexican origin?  Of course not.

    Race, religion, sex, height, favorite pizza topping… none of these should matter.  If it does… well, shame on us.  So says I, what says you?

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