August 30, 2011
By Adam Bink
I wrote a month ago about Goodwin Liu, the UC-Berkeley law professor whose nomination to the 9th Circuit was torpedoed by U.S. Senate Republicans and was recently nominated instead to the California Supreme Court by Gov. Brown. Liu’s confirmation vote is expected tomorrow. Excerpt:
Liu is likely to face a more welcoming reception to the state court. He is set to replace former Associate Justice Carlos Moreno, a strong backer of LGBT rights, who retired from the court earlier this year.
The State Bar’s Commission of Judicial Nominees Evaluation must first review Liu’s nomination before it goes to the Commission on Judicial Appointments, consisting of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, senior presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal.
The three women will consider the proposed appointment at 3 p.m. Wednesday, August 31 in San Francisco. Atkins said she “fully” expects Liu will be confirmed and “will go on to serve with distinction for many years to come.”
It is unclear if he will be seated in time for when the court hears oral arguments on whether Prop 8 can be defended in federal court by its backers. Due to his involvement in the fight over Prop 8 three years ago, it is likely the law’s supporters would request he recuse himself should his nomination be approved prior to the hearing, expected to take place as early as September.
Yesterday, Liu received a strong review from a state bar panel. SF Chronicle:
Goodwin Liu, the UC Berkeley law professor nominated to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Jerry Brown, drew raves Monday from a State Bar panel, which praised his “brilliant intellect … impartiality, integrity, collegiality, and a work ethic second to none.”
Liu, whose nomination by President Obama to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was derailed by conservative opposition and a Republican-led filibuster, apparently faces no such obstacles to a seat on the state’s high court.
Only supporting witnesses have signed up to testify at Wednesday’s confirmation hearing of the Commission on Judicial Appointments in San Francisco. They include Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a counterweight to the 42 district attorneys from other counties who opposed his federal nomination but did not contact the state commission.
The bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominations Evaluation gave him its highest rating, “exceptionally well-qualified.” He also received supporting letters signed by more than 130 law professors – ranging from fellow liberals to John Yoo, the former Bush administration attorney now teaching at Berkeley – as well as six members of Congress and numerous legal groups.
Judicial Watch did write in to call Liu “radical and inexperienced,” naturally.
I checked on the Commission’s schedule and a confirmation vote is still scheduled for 3 PM tomorrow. It’s expected, though not certain, that if confirmed he would be seated in time for the September 6th hearing on standing in the Prop 8 case at the California Supreme Court. It is worth mentioning that the issue before the court, though, is standing, not the constitutionality of Prop 8, on which Liu has previously spoken out.