Gov. Brown nominated UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, 40, to the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, which would give the court an Asian majority and a collegial liberal who is likely to be strongly supportive of civil rights. This nomination is expected to produce quick approval when a state panel meets Aug. 31.
Nominated earlier by President Obama for a seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, he lost the seat when he did not gather enough Republican support. Their fear was that he was too left-leaning. Now he is being judged by his ethnicity.
Liu will replace the retiring Justice Carlos R. Moreno, who was the only Latino and Democrat on the court. A few activists and Latino leaders have voiced their displeasure in the nomination, not because of his political leanings, but of his ethnicity. They would prefer a Latino nomination that would represent the ethnic majority of California.
Like Goodwin Liu, I am Chinese. Does that sway me one way or another on his nomination? No. I am color blind when it comes to politics. I vote for the person that I believe can do the best job. I don't believe that Asians are the only ones that can look after my interests or understand my special needs. If I did, I would only hire Asians, be friends with only Asians, only buy Asian products, and work for Asians; it would be a xenophobic life.
I trust Goodwin Liu and the other Appellate judges to make the right decisions that follow the letter of the law - not because of what color they are.
Artist, designer and teacher Ophelia Chong explores her adopted city of Los Angeles with an eye and ear for the small moments that tests the duality of being an Asian American. Join her on her journey every Thursday on KCET's SoCal blog.
Image: Ophelia Chong