Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Goodwin Liu ’98JD

Wednesday, a group of liberal law professors delivered a letter urging President Barack Obama to move more aggressively in appointing “a new generation of jurists.” That very day, Obama nominated Goodwin Liu ’98JD for a seat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. At age 39, Liu is indeed part of a new generation. He’s also a liberal law professor and associate dean of the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. A former Rhodes scholar who clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court, Liu is perhaps best known for his criticism of Samuel Alito ’75JD—co-authoring a report that accused Alito [PDF] of “diluting norms of basic fairness” in death penalty cases, and then testifying against Alito’s elevation to the Supreme Court. One conservative blog dubbed Liu an “Anti-Alito Left-Winger,” while the L.A. Weekly’s Queer Town blog hailed him as a “Prop 8 Foe” who publicly opposed California’s anti-gay-marriage law.

Liu has at least one booster on the right, though: Clint Bolick—who famously tagged an earlier Yale Law grad and federal nominee as a “quota queen”—wrote to Obama last month supporting the expected nomination. “I find Prof. Liu to exhibit fresh, independent thinking and intellectual honesty,” Bolick wrote.

Filed under Law School, milestones, nominated, lgbtq
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