Commission confirms Liu appointment

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 1, 2011, 11:00am


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - California's Commission on Judicial Appointments has confirmed the proposed appointment of Goodwin Liu to the state Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the commission, made the announcement late Wednesday.

Liu's proposed appointment was approved by a unanimous vote.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Liu, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, to the state Supreme Court to fill the spot of retiring justice Carlos Moreno.

U.S. Senate Republicans blocked Liu's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit earlier this year.

"Professor Liu is an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher," said Brown, who nominated Liu in July. "He is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law and has experience in private practice, government service and in the academic community. I know that he will be an outstanding addition to our state Supreme Court."

In May, Republicans in the U.S. Senate successfully filibustered the nomination, preventing a vote.

"The problem of Professor Liu is he has never practiced law. He's lived in, I think, an unreal world. His writings are beyond anything I've ever seen in justifying the 'evolving Constitution' theory. It's just remarkable," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said.

"If the judge has a philosophy of judging that allows him to update based on cultural changes and advancements and all kinds of evolving standards, at some point they're so untethered from reality, so untethered from law, that they've moved judging from a law practice, an act of lawfulness, to an act of politics, and party and ideology and religion and sociology and whatever's in their head. And judges have never been empowered to do that. Judges are empowered to serve faithfully under the Constitution."

The Commission on Judicial Appointments consists of Cantil-Sakauye; Attorney General Kamala Harris; and Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three (Los Angeles), the senior presiding justice of the state Courts of Appeal.

It is the first time that all members of the commission were women.

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