Will Cal prof face tough confirmation battle?

Goodwin LiuI’ve filed a story today about President Barack Obama nominating University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School Associate Dean and Professor Goodwin Liu to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

All I’m hearing so far today are words of praise from his supporters, but – and I’m just spitballing, here – I’d guess some Republicans might not be so complimentary when his nomination comes to the U.S. Senate for confirmation, perhaps because:

1.) He’s a Democrat.

2.) He’s a Democrat from Berkeley.

3.) He’s 39 years old, and this is a lifetime appointment.

4.) He co-authored (with Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan and Duke Law Professor Christopher Schroeder) “Keeping Faith with the Constitution,” a 2009 book that won’t win him fans among constitutional originalists. The authors described a theory of “constitutional fidelity,” holding that the Constitution’s authority and legitimacy over time relies on its words and principles being “made relevant to the conditions and challenges of each generation through an ongoing process of interpretation.”

5.) He also last year wrote a sharp critique of the Bush Administration’s civil-rights record, which he said “reveals a shift away from traditional enforcement priorities and, more significantly, a worrisome erosion of institutional norms of impartiality, professionalism, and nonpartisanship in civil rights enforcement.” The article also examined the Bush Administration’s handling of the University of Michigan affirmative action cases; the No Child Left Behind K–12 education initiative; and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. “The primary lesson is that, although our society shares a broad commitment to diversity and inclusion, we have yet to develop the political will or the policy frameworks to address the social dysfunctions arising from the intersection of race and poverty.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Common Tater

    Well, gee whiz. It’s hard to believe that a young Berkeley democrat who believes that the US Constitution should be frequently re-interpreted for any passing fad should receive any resistance from anyone to being appointed to a lifetime gig on the 9th Circuit.

    I mean, really. Who could possibly be against such a nomination?

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    The Ninth Circus doesn’t need this parlor pink who worries about “social dysfunctions” at the four corners of “diversity and inclusion” and “race and poverty.” (Sounds like a sociological traffic jam). Send Ron Dellums to the bench instead: Same ideas, shorter likely tenure.

  • John W.

    Republicans have been routinely holding up every other appointment, from White House gardener on up. Why would this be different? I’m sure the Senate Republicans will characterize his nomination as an Obamanation and criticize the Prez for lack of bipartisanship. Their “more reasonable” Berkeley pick — John Yoo!

  • Old Monkey

    Somehow I don’t think if Liu’s parents understood the implications of their son’s sensibalities they would be very happy or proud. It is probable that like my wife’s family they had loved ones tortured by Fascists and murdered Communists. Anyone with the notion that removing a government’s prohibitions into their personal life doesn’t invite peril is foolish.

    Those not satisfied with minding their own business often take pleasure in minding the business of others; when thier meddeling causes harm, instead of owning up to it, they justify it with their good intentions.

  • Old Monkey

    His ancestor’s magic staff in his ear the size of a grain of rice when needed, becomes a hundred feet long and the diameter of a rice bowl. The staff his ancestor used to beat monsters to a meat patty, Monkey uses to beat Statists who would steal freedom from his and the dragon’s progeny.

    Liu isn’t even a thing!
    An appropriate Chinese insult