Goodwin Liu
Justice Goodwin Liu. Image from Stanford University video

For the past four years, the people of California have been blessed to have Xavier Becerra serve as the most outstanding attorney general in the nation.  He has fought vigorously in court and through legislative action against the Trump administration on climate change, toxic pollutants, and environmental issues.  And he has advocated for all Californians by enforcing civil rights, minimum wage laws, worker safety, farmworker protections, and health care reform.

Now that Atty. Gen. Becerra is joining the Biden-Harris administration as Secretary of Health and Human Services, California needs a top lawyer with his brilliance, legal knowledge, and forcefulness to lead the Attorney General’s office as we move forward.  Few people can carry Becerra’s storied legacy.

Although many traditional politicians have been floated, there is no better candidate with more experience or visionary leadership than California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.  With ten years on California’s highest court, nine years as a constitutional rights scholar, and experience as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Liu has exceptional standing in the legal community and ample preparation for the office.  He possesses all the necessary qualities to be a highly effective Attorney General. 

Liu has already been endorsed by leaders across California, including retired judgesunion leaderslaw deansracial justice advocates160+ prominent Asian American leaders, and U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono. As the former president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, I am proud to lend my name in support too. Gov. Gavin Newsom should appoint Liu to lead California’s Department of Justice. 

As a son of Taiwanese immigrants who appreciates the dynamics of California’s rich diversity, Liu has worked tirelessly throughout his legal career to advance civil rightsworkers’ rights and safetyconstitutional protectionscriminal justice reform, and educational rights for minority children, to build a thriving economy for all Californians. 

Liu is unafraid to stand for what is right.  Most importantly, he shares Newsom’s values and vision for a vibrant California, and he has unique knowledge and ability to tackle the legal, economic, and social challenges that lie ahead.

Having known Liu for over two decades now, I can vouch that he is smart, energetic, and determined to place the public good ahead of all.  He has the leadership skills and team spirit to help California respond to the pandemic, assert our role as the nation’s leader on racial justice, and build an inclusive economy that works for everyone, including California’s diverse Latino communities.

In addition, Liu has earned a national reputation for his mastery of the law and is well-regarded across America.  He will be a major asset in positioning California to partner with other states and with national policymakers in the Biden-Harris era to build on Becerra’s efforts to tackle environmental issues, housing, health care access, police reform, and more.  Liu will pave the way forward to a brighter and more prosperous California for all.

Especially during these difficult times, vulnerable Californians cannot afford an Attorney General who needs to learn on the job.  We deserve an Attorney General who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to equal justice under the law, who will promote confidence in our justice system, and who will help reignite the California Dream for all. 

Gov. Newsom should make an inspired choice for Attorney General.  He should appoint Justice Goodwin Liu.

Antonia Hernández, the current president of the California Community Foundation and the former president of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.