| Liu will have big shoes to fill
by Brian Leubitz
The news of Carlos Moreno's retirement earlier this year was not entirely surprising, yet it did leave a big hole on the California Supreme Court. Moreno was the only Justice appointed by a Democrat, and while the Court was fairly moderate on social issues (see marriage equality 1 and 2), it often tilted to the Right on economic issues.
Moreno was a voice that sought fairness and a standard of law that imposed rights and duties on corporations just as it did on ordinary citizens. His strength of character and perseverance were essential to building a reasonable consensus on the court. Jerry had quite the shoes to fill when Moreno announced his retirement.
There was a big push for a Latino, and while that goal was not achieved, the appointment of Goodwin Liu will fill many other goals for the Court.
Gov. Jerry Brown nominated UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court Tuesday, giving the state high court a fourth Asian justice and a collegial liberal who is likely to be strongly supportive of civil rights.
Liu was President Obama's pick for a seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but he failed to garner enough Republican support. Liu, 40, has never been a judge, but his colleagues at Berkeley, including conservatives, strongly endorsed him for the position.(LA Times)
Liu will be a strong voice for ordinary Californians on the Court. While hardly a radical leftist, he does have a sincere respect for civil rights. While President Obama was not willing to spend the "political capital" to get him on the federal appellate bench, he will be allowed a fairly simple confirmation here. He may face some pressure when he faces a retention vote in the general election, but unless something drastically changes between now and then, nothing will really come of it.
Liu's appointment gives the Court a strong representation in the Asian community. However, the Court will have no Latinos or African-Americans, something the Governor would be wise to rectify in the next appointment process.