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NAPABA Contact: Tina Matsuoka (202) 775-9555

February 24, 2010

AAJC Contact: Vincent A. Eng (202) 296-2300, ext. 121
(703) 981-6636 (Mobile)


Washington, D.C. - The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) applauded today the decision of President Barack Obama to nominate University of California Berkeley School of Law Associate Dean and Professor Goodwin H. Liu to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Liu joins Judge Denny Chin, nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Second Circuit, as the second Asian Pacific American federal appellate court nomination by the President. Currently, there are no Asian Pacific American judges among the approximately 175 active federal appellate court jurists nationwide.

"Professor Liu is an exceptional attorney who is well-respected by lawyers across the ideological spectrum," said Joseph J. Centeno, president of NAPABA. "Professor Liu also will bring much-needed diversity to the federal appellate court bench, where Asian Pacific Americans currently are not represented at all."

It has been over five years since there has been an active Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judge. In the history of the United States, only four Asian Pacific Americans have served as federal appellate court judges.

A distinguished graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School, Professor Liu is a Rhodes Scholar, a former Supreme Court clerk, and a member of the American Law Institute. He has worked as a corporate litigator and as a key policy advisor in two federal agencies. In 2003, Professor Liu returned to his home state of California to join the faculty of UC Berkeley School of Law, one of the nation's top law schools, and earned tenure and promotion to Associate Dean in five years.

"We commend the President on nominating Professor Liu to the Ninth Circuit," said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC. "Professor Liu has superb integrity, intellect, and fairness, and the Ninth Circuit undoubtedly will benefit from his presence on that court."

Throughout his career, Professor Liu has gained wide respect for his intelligence, independence, and fair-mindedness. That respect has included many Republicans and conservatives. Clint Bolick, director of constitutional litigation at the Goldwater Institute, said, "Having reviewed several of his academic writings, I find Professor Liu to exhibit fresh, independent thinking and intellectual honesty. He clearly possesses the scholarly credentials and experience to serve with distinction on this important court." Tom Campbell, former dean of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a law professor who served nine years in Congress as a Republican, said, "Liu will bring scholarly distinction and a strong reputation for integrity, fair-mindedness, and collegiality to the Ninth Circuit."

Professor Liu's tenure at UC Berkeley School of Law reflects the excellence that he will bring to the Ninth Circuit. Jesse Choper, a leading constitutional scholar and chair of Professor Liu's tenure committee at UC Berkeley, said, "Liu's qualifications to be a judge are nothing short of outstanding. He is a person of excellent judgment, with carefully considered and balanced views. I am confident he would be an especially fair jurist, and one with real intellectual firepower." In the classroom, Professor Liu is one of the most popular teachers, and his courses are some of the most over-subscribed and highly rated by the students. As Associate Dean of the law school, Professor Liu oversees the curriculum and takes the lead in setting instructional priorities, including the promotion process for tenure-track faculty, the hiring of new faculty, and the supervision of the law school's lecturers and adjunct faculty. "Goodwin is admired by his colleagues for his integrity, fairness, and good judgment," said Christopher Edley, Dean of the law school. "He is one of the brightest and most capable colleagues I've had in my three decades in academia."

Professor Liu also has practical experience in the law. Professor Liu served as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. In that capacity, he advised the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on a range of legal issues, including the development of guidelines to implement a $134 million congressional appropriation in 2000 to help turn around low-performing schools. Former South Carolina Governor Richard Riley, who was U.S. Secretary of Education at the time, said Professor Liu was a "'go-to' person for important projects and complex issues because of his ability to see the big picture while also mastering the details of legal and policy problems." In additional to his public service, Professor Liu was an attorney with the corporate litigation practice of O'Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C. Walter Dellinger, chair of O'Melveny's appellate practice, said Professor Liu was "widely respected in law practice for his superb legal ability, his sound judgment, and his warm collegiality."

Professor Liu was born in Augusta, Georgia, to Taiwanese doctors recruited to work in the United States by American medical institutions seeking assistance in serving underserved areas. Living in Georgia and then Florida in the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s, Professor Liu did not learn to speak English until kindergarten because his parents worried that Liu and his brother would acquire an accent if they were taught at home. The family then moved to Sacramento in 1977. Professor Liu's interest in public service and the law was sparked when he served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks to the sponsorship of the late Congressman Robert Matsui.

NAPABA and AAJC congratulate Professor Liu on his historic nomination. The organizations thank President Obama for nominating him, and commend Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer for their support of Professor Liu's nomination.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 63 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

The Asian American Justice Center is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates - the Asian American Institute in Chicago, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles - and nearly 100 community partners in 47 cities, 25 states and the District of Columbia.


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