''It has been a long journey for my family, and it has definitely ended with the most pleasant, enjoyable confirmation,'' said Liu, alluding to differences between the state and federal nomination process. Liu's recent bid for a seat on the federal appeals court was filled with contention and ultimately blocked by Senate Republicans who disapproved of his liberal views. However, at last week's 70 minute state confirmation hearing, Liu received only praise.
Hollie Fujie, the former president of the California State Bar, also jokingly referenced Liu's federal confirmation proceedings when she declared that she examined all of Liu's writings ''to see if he wanted to overthrow the American government.'' She went on to praise him as a brilliant and worthy candidate for a seat on the state's high court.
Liu, who takes the seat of retired Justice Carlos Moreno, will be present for Tuesday's arguments in a Proposition 8 case that questions whether sponsors of a measure can advocate for the state and its voters when by officials fail to do so. As the only Democrat on the court, it is likely that conservatives will be watching him closely. Liu made no secret of the fact that he supports the idea that same-sex marriages are a constitutional right. The fact that he signed a legal brief in favor of same-sex marriage in 2008 caused problems for him during this bid for the federal appeals court. However, he has also said that the Proposition 8 is a legitimate amendment to the state constitution.
In addition to the controversy surrounding his left-leaning views, Liu's nomination was also contested by some who argued that the seven-member court already had three Asian members. Many within the Hispanic community believed that they would best be represented by a Hispanic appointee.
However, despite criticism, Liu was given the top rating of exceptionally well qualified by a state bar evaluating committee. The Commission on Judicial Appointments, which was established in 1934 as a means of eliminating political prejudices from high court judicial appointments, currently consists of two Democrats and one Republican. The members are the Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the Court of Appeal Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, and Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Liu has been a part of the Berkeley faculty since 2003 and became an associate dean in 2008. Prior to joining the law school, he managed higher education programs for the Americorps program. He also served as a law clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Liu earned his law degree from Yale Law School and holds a master's degree from Oxford University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford University and graduated with honors.
He will go before voters in the next gubernatorial election.
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