On September 1, Goodwin Liu was sworn into the California Supreme Court. Last year President Obama had nominated him to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but Liu’s nomination faltered in the Senate. Republicans almost unanimously voted against breaking the filibuster, forcing Liu to withdraw his nomination.
But now, thanks to Governor Brown, Liu takes his revenge in California. Though he won’t enter a court as liberal as the 9th Circuit Court. California’s Supreme Court consists of 6 members appointed by Republican Governors, and now Liu, the only member appointed by a Democratic Governor.
Liu will most certainly bring a streak of liberalism to the court. His prior federal appointment hearings unearthed extensive material from Republican opposition indicating some of the far-left positions he has taken. The Stanford Review published an article last year detailing Liu’s experience at Stanford as part of the far-left People’s Platform, an ASSU Executive Slate that advocated for “a complete divorce of the University from [the] Hoover [Institution].” During his scholarly legal career, Liu published the book Keeping Faith with the Constitution with Stanford law professor Pam Karlan and Christopher H. Schroeder. This book provided opponents with material that they used to paint Liu as a “living constitution” advocate.
For the sake of preventing gridlock, both on Capitol Hill and in the nation’s courts, the Gang of 14 that tries to strike partisan compromise on Presidential nominations is helpful. But Liu’s record of statements and writings about constitutional interpretation, as well as his partisanship indicated in his comments during Justice Alito’s confirmation hearing, justified the opposition to his nomination. Unfortunately, even a holistic view of Liu’s activities, from Stanford to the present, was not enough to dissuade Governor Brown from the appointment.