UC Berkeley Law Professor Goodwin Liu
UC Berkeley Law Professor Goodwin Liu

Queer Town: Obama's Appeals Court Pick Prop. 8 Foe

Proposition 8 opponents in California should be pleased with President Barack Obama today.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Obama will nominate UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the Proposition 8 federal lawsuit when it's most probably appealed.

The Times goes high with the fact that Liu has been a critic of U.S. Supreme Court Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., but the professor was one of many law scholars who publicly challenged the legal arguments put forth by the "Yes on 8" campaign.

On October 29, 2008, just days before the Prop. 8 vote and Obama was elected president, the "No on 8" campaign released a joint statement signed by 59 "distinguished" law professors that said "people who want to take the right to marry away from same-sex couples

should not rely on misleading claims about the current state of the law

or about what Proposition 8 would do."

Professor Goodwin Liu, UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and other legal scholars attached their names to the press release.

In very precise language, the statement says "Prop. 8 clearly discriminates against gay men and lesbians...would have no effect on the tax exemptions of churches... (and) would have no effect on teaching or the protection of

parental rights already provided by state law."

In a November 10, 2008, LA Times op-ed, which was published days after Prop. 8 was passed by California voters, Liu also wrote that "Proposition 8 may then come to be viewed, in the long run, not as an

enduring constitutional principle but as the will of a narrow and

ultimately temporary majority."

Liu will have to go through a U.S. Senate confirmation process before he takes a seat on the 9th circuit. The Times writes that "Liu's supporters hope that his personal story and slightly

unpredictable politics will help him win confirmation."

Liu would be the only full-time Asian American judge on a federal appellate court if confirmed.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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