Ca. Litig. Rev. 2016

Amazing Cool: Keeping Up With Goodwin Liu

By Benjamin G. Shatz

According to Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu has "amazing cool." California Litigation Review couldn’t agree more! Justice Liu granted us an hour of his time on November 15, 2016, in his chambers—a spacious corner office formerly occupied by judicial luminaries including Justices Carlos Moreno, Stanley Mosk, and Roger Traynor. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

CLR: Much of your personal background is already public record. You were born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1970, to Taiwanese immigrant parents, who were both medical doctors. You moved to Sacramento in 1977 and attended public schools, earning straight A’s since the fifth grade. Why were you such a slacker in the fourth grade? What else can you share about your childhood?

GL: Fourth grade was challenging! I tried to do all kinds of things to fit into the mainstream. I often give a talk about what it was like to be a little Asian-American kid growing up in the predominantly white suburbs of Sacramento. I tried to do very American things, like join the Cub Scouts. There’s a great photo of me in the regulation shirt, scarf, and hat, accompanied by horrible plaid pants with knee patches. The pants were not regulation.

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