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.