California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin H. Liu was named a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences today. Founded in 1780, the academy is one of the nation’s most prestigious honor societies that recognizes global leaders across diverse fields who are addressing societal challenges and advancing the public good.
He is the state's second Supreme Court justice to join the academy—his colleague, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, was elected last year.
This year, the academy elected more than 200 scholars, artists, jurists, and leaders from 25 different disciplines, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, NPR correspondent Michel Martin, and actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith.
“I’ve always been a strong believer in the importance of scholarship, education, and participation in national dialogue on what it means to be an engaged member of our democracy,” said Liu. “I thank the Academy for this great opportunity, and I am honored to be in the company of such incredible minds and contributors to the fabric of our country. I especially look forward to contributing to the Academy’s work on improving access to justice, which is essential to safeguarding the rule of law for everyone in our society."
“With the election of these members, the Academy upholds the ideals of research and scholarship, creativity and imagination, intellectual exchange and civil discourse, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge in all its forms,” said David W. Oxtoby, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Justice Liu grew up and attended public schools in Sacramento, California. Later, he graduated from Stanford University, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1991. He then went to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. Liu graduated from Yale Law School in 1998, becoming the first in his family to earn a law degree.
Liu went on to clerk for Judge David Tatel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. He also worked as a special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, where he developed and coordinated K-12 education policy.
Returning to California, Liu became a law professor and an associate dean at UC Berkeley School of Law, where he taught courses on constitutional law and education law and policy. In 2009, he received UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2011, Gov. Edmund G. Brown appointed Liu to the California Supreme Court, where he currently serves as an associate justice.
Liu was elected to the American Law Institute in 2008 and currently serves on the executive committee of the ALI Council. He also serves on the board of directors of the James Irvine Foundation and has previously served on the board of trustees of Stanford University.
Liu will be inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit the academy’s website for a list of the 239th class of new members.