August 4, 2011
Article hints at Governor’s possible motivations in nominating Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court
The biggest story regarding the Supreme Court last week—aside from the setting of the Prop 8 argument—was the news that Governor Jerry Brown had nominated U.C. Berkeley law prof Goodwin Liu to be the Court’s newest associate justice, replacing retired Justice Carlos Moreno. This opinion piece by the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Morain suggests a reason for the nomination. Morain, who months ago suggested Liu as a possible Supreme Court nominee, has a theory that Brown chose Liu to erase any stain on Brown’s reputation resulting from his pick of Rose Elizabeth Bird for Chief Justice in 1977. Bird’s sometimes controversial rulings led to her removal in a 1986 election. This time around, Morain posits, Brown has chosen an eminently qualified but less controversial nominee, someone who can help to shape California law for years to come, thereby enhancing the legacy of the governor who placed him on the Court. Morain goes so far as to engage in a bit of psychoanalysis of the Governor, suggesting that, by nominating Liu, Brown is seeking to follow in the footsteps of his late father, Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, who elevated Roger Traynor to the position of Chief Justice in 1964 and, in so doing, left a lasting impact on California jurisprudence.
Posted for Brad Pauley