9th Circuit Nominee Has Deep Ed. Policy Experience

By Mark Walsh — April 15, 2010 1 min read
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Goodwin H. Liu, a federal appeals court nominee who is drawing criticism from Republicans, has a long record of policy experience in education.

Liu, a law professor at the University of California-Berkeley who was nominated by President Obama to an opening on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, faces a confirmation hearing Friday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Education Week’s Michelle McNeil, in her Politics K-12 blog, pointed out the other day that a bipartisan group of educators and education policy experts have sent a letter to the committee backing Liu’s nomination. The letter was signed by, among others, former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and Michael Cohen, as assistant secretary under Riley, on the left. From the right, Liu has won support from Christopher T. Cross, an assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, and Michael J. Petrilli, an Education Department official under President George W. Bush.

“We do not necessarily agree with all of Professor Liu’s views,” says the letter. “But we do agree that his record demonstrates the habits of rigorous inquiry, open-mindedness, independence, and intellectual honesty that we want and expect our judges to have.”

As The New York Times noted earlier this week, Republicans are criticizing Liu as a potential activist judge and for some of his views about welfare and health care rights.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has posted Liu’s lengthy judicial questionnaire, which includes a list of his writings as well as a list of every article in which he as been quoted (including this one by me after the Supreme Court’s decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District).

The committee has also posted this supplement, which includes many of Liu’s writings, including numerous ones on education policy.

As an example, this essay in the Harvard Law & Policy Review is critical of the high court’s 2007 Seattle decision, which sharply limited the ability of school districts to take race into account in assigning students to schools.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.