April-June 2010 | By Jane Leung Larson
On May 26, the Committee of 100 issued a statement in support of U.S. Senate confirmation of Goodwin H. Liu, whom President Obama has nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco. On May 13, Liu’s nomination was approved by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee by a party-line vote. If Liu is confirmed, he would be the third Chinese American and first Taiwanese American appellate court judge in U.S.
If confirmed, Liu would be the only Asian American appellate court judge in the Ninth Circuit, the region with highest APA population.
Committee Chair John Chen said, “C-100 urges the Senate to confirm
Professor Goodwin Liu. His ascension to the bench would signal that talented people of all backgrounds are integral to our justice system.”
Excerpts of the statement follow:
Consistent with its mission of advancing the participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of public life in the United States, C-100 supports federal judicial nominations of Chinese Americans when the American Bar Association (ABA) gives the nominee its highest rating. C-100 is impressed that the ABA has given Professor Liu such a rating, indicated by a unanimous vote of well-qualified. The ABA is a nonpartisan organization, and conducts its comprehensive review without regard to political affiliation. Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower have relied on the ABA’s evaluations in determining an individual’s fitness for nomination.
Professor Liu's upbringing is the realization of the American Dream. Professor Liu was born in Augusta, Georgia, to Taiwanese immigrants who came to the United States in the late 1960's when foreign doctors were being recruited to work in under-served areas. Living in Georgia and then Florida, Professor Liu did not learn to speak English until kindergarten because his parents worried that Liu and his brother would acquire an accent if they were taught at home. The family then moved to Sacramento in 1977, where he would eventually graduate as valedictorian of his public high school before attending Stanford University and studying at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship.
Professor Liu is eminently qualified to serve as a federal appellate court judge. Professor Liu is a distinguished graduate of Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge David S. Tatel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a Senior Program Officer for Higher Education at the Corporation for National Service in Washington, D.C., where he helped launch the AmeriCorps program. He also served as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary at the US. Department of Education, where he advised the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on a wide range of legal and policy issues. Professor Liu also has private sector experience as a former member of the litigation practice of O'Melveny & Myers in Washington D.C. He is the Associate Dean and Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law, and is a renowned expert on educational and constitutional law.