Associate Justice, California Supreme Court; Senior Research Fellow, HLS Center on the Legal Profession
Justice Goodwin Liu is an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. He was appointed, confirmed, and sworn into office in 2011. Before joining the state’s highest court, Justice Liu was Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law. His primary areas of expertise are constitutional law, education law and policy, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Justice Liu grew up in Sacramento, where he attended public schools. He went to Stanford University and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1991. He attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a masters degree in philosophy and physiology. Upon returning to the United States, he went to Washington D.C. to help launch the AmeriCorps national service program and worked for two years as a senior program officer at the Corporation for National Service.
Justice Liu graduated from Yale Law School in 1998, becoming the first in his family to earn a law degree. He clerked for Judge David Tatel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, where he developed and coordinated K-12 education policy. He went on to clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the October 2000 Term. From 2001 to 2003, he worked in the litigation practice of O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C.
Justice Liu is a prolific and influential scholar. In 2017, Justice Liu, with coauthors Eric Chung, Samuel Dong, Christine Kwon, and Xiaonan Hu, published the first comprehensive study of Asian Americans in the legal profession (A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law). He has also published articles on constitutional law and education policy in the California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, NYU Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. In 2017, he gave the William J. Brennan Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice at NYU, titled “State Constitutions and the Protection of Individual Rights: A Reappraisal” (NYU Law Review). His 2006 article, “Education, Equality, and National Citizenship” (Yale Law Journal), won the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law, conferred by the Education Law Association. Justice Liu is also a popular and acclaimed teacher. In 2009, he received UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s most prestigious honor for individual excellence in teaching. He earned tenure at Boalt Hall in 2008 and was promoted to Associate Dean. The Boalt Hall Class of 2009 selected him as the faculty commencement speaker.
Justice Liu serves on the Council of the American Law Institute, the Board of Directors of the James Irvine Foundation, California Commission on Access to Justice, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. He has previously served on the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and the board of directors of the American Constitution Society, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Public Welfare Foundation.