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Reform Movement Supports Confirmation of Goodwin Liu

Saperstein: “Professor Liu’s keen intellect, thoughtful approach to constitutional questions, and commitment to public service make him a terrific nominee to the 9th Circuit.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Jessica Weiser
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5th, 2010 — In anticipation of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration tomorrow of the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center, sent the following letter to the members of the Committee:

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900 congregations encompass nearly 1.5 million Reform Jews, I write to express support for the confirmation of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Prof. Liu’s educational background and professional experience make him exceedingly qualified for this appointment. 

Prof. Liu has had a distinguished academic career.  A Rhodes Scholar, Prof. Liu has taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law since 2003, and has served as Associate Dean and Professor of Law since 2008.  In 2009, he was awarded Berkeley’s most prestigious teaching honor—the Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Prof. Liu has had varied legal experience outside of academia as well. He clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge David S. Tatel and served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Education before clerking for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the October 2000 term of the Supreme Court. He has also been involved with various organizations committed to upholding civil right and civil liberties, having worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right Under the Law, and served on the boards of the American Constitution Society, American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Women’s Law Center.

In all of these roles, Prof. Liu has displayed a superb legal mind and an abiding respect for constitutional values. Accordingly, he has garnered support and praise from both sides of the aisle. His home-state Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, have expressed support for his confirmation, the latter stating, “[h]e’s as sharp as they come, with a kind demeanor and a good temperament.” Clint Bolick, President of the conservative Goldwater Institute wrote, "Having reviewed several of his academic writings, I find Prof. Liu to exhibit fresh, independent thinking and intellectual honesty. He clearly possesses the scholarly credentials and experience to serve with distinction on this important court." 

The Jewish tradition teaches the importance of fair, just, and impartial courts.  Nominees to the federal bench, serving lifetime appointments, can have an influence on federal jurisprudence for decades, eroding or enhancing the core values that the Reform Movement supports.  We therefore pay close attention to the nominees who are appointed.

Prof. Liu’s keen intellect, thoughtful approach to constitutional questions, and commitment to public service make him a terrific nominee to the 9th Circuit.  Therefore, in anticipation of the upcoming Committee vote, we urge you to quickly move his nomination through the confirmation process and support his appointment to this critical post.

Sincerely,

/s/

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director and Counsel

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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