Supreme Court of California Justia
Justice Goodwin Liu

Justice Goodwin Liu is an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. He was confirmed to office by a unanimous vote of the California Commission on Judicial Appointments on August 31, 2011, following his appointment by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on July 26, 2011. The Governor administered the oath of office to Justice Liu in a public ceremony in Sacramento, California on September 1, 2011.
Before joining the state’s highest court, Justice Liu was Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). His primary areas of expertise are constitutional law, education law and policy, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has published widely on these subjects in books, law reviews, and the general media.

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. In 2001, he joined the appellate litigation practice of O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C., and worked on an array of antitrust, white collar, insurance, product liability, and pro bono matters.

Justice Liu is a prolific and influential scholar. He has 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. His 2006 article, “Education, Equality, and National Citizenship,” 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 Board of Trustees of Stanford University. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Constitution Society, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Public Welfare Foundation. In 2008, he was elected to the American Law Institute. He has also served as a faculty advisor to the California College Prep Academy, a public charter school co-founded by UC Berkeley and Aspire Public Schools.

Justice Liu is married to Ann O’Leary, Director of the Children and Families Program at the Center for the Next Generation. They have two children.


Position: Associate Justice

Status: Active

Born: Monday, October 19, 1970

Law School: Yale Law School

Recent Opinions

Cal. Redevelopment Assoc. v. Matosantos
Citation: 53 Cal. 4th 231, 267 P.3d 580, 135 Cal. Rptr. 3d 683
Decided: Thursday, December 29, 2011

In re Lucas
Citation: 53 Cal. 4th 839, 269 P.3d 1160, 137 Cal. Rptr. 3d 595
Decided: Monday, March 5, 2012

Dicon Fiberoptics v. Franchise Tax Bd.
Citation: 53 Cal. 4th 1227, 274 P.3d 446, 139 Cal. Rptr. 3d 825
Decided: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc.
Citation: 53 Cal. 4th 1244, 274 P.3d 1160, 140 Cal. Rptr. 3d 173
Decided: Monday, April 30, 2012

People v. Thomas
Citation: 53 Cal. 4th 1276, 274 P.3d 1170, 140 Cal. Rptr. 3d 184
Decided: Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recent Concurring Opinions

Richey v. Autonation, Inc.
Citation: 60 Cal.4th 909m, 341 P.3d 438, 15 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 1024, 2015 Daily Journal D.A.R. 1229
Decided: Thursday, January 29, 2015

People v. Centeno
Citation: 60 Cal.4th 659; 338 P.3d 938; 14 Cal. Daily Op Serv. 13,545; 2014 Daily Journal D.A.R. 16,015; No. S209957; 180 Cal.Rptr.3d 649;
Decided: Thursday, December 4, 2014

People v. Smith
Citation: 60 Cal. 4th 603, 180 Cal. Rptr. 3d 100, 337 P.3d 1159, 14 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 13,134, 2014 Daily Journal D.A.R. 15, 517
Decided: Thursday, November 20, 2014

Duran v. U.S. Bank National Assn.
Citation: 59 Cal.4th 1172, Cal. Rptr. 3d 371, 325 P.3d 916
Decided: Thursday, May 29, 2014

People v. Scott
Citation: 324 P.3d 827 (Cal. 2014); 58 Cal.4th 1415; 171 Cal.Rptr.3d 638; 2014 Daily Journal D.A.R. 6226
Decided: Monday, May 19, 2014

Recent Dissenting Opinions

Loeffler v. Target Corporation
Citation: Loeffler v. Target Corp., 58 Cal.4th 1081, 324 P.3d 50, 171 Cal. Rptr.3d 189, 14 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 4736
Decided: Thursday, May 1, 2014

Neighbors etc. v. Exposition Metro Line
Citation: 57 Cal.4th 439, 160 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 304 P.3d 499
Decided: Monday, August 5, 2013

People v. Schmitz
Citation: 55 Cal. 4th 909
Decided: Monday, December 3, 2012

In re Richards
Citation: 55 Cal. 4th 948 (Cal. 2012), 150 Cal. Rptr. 3d 84 (Cal. 2012), 289 P.3d 860 (Cal. 2012), 12 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 13209, 2012 Daily Journal D.A.R. 16126, 2012 Cal. LEXIS 11005
Decided: Monday, December 3, 2012

People v. Lopez
Citation: 55 Cal. 4th 569; 286 P.3d 469; 147 Cal. Rptr. 3d 559; 12 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 11,608; 2012 Daily Journal D.A.R. 14,153
Decided: Monday, October 15, 2012