Washington, DC, Nov. 19, 2010 – The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law today announced support for President Obama’s nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“Federal courts are critical to the enforcement of the rights of people with disabilities. Based on his writings on the importance of inclusion and diversity in public settings, we believe that Goodwin Liu will be a leader in enforcing disability rights in the Ninth Circuit,” said Robert Bernstein, Ph.D., executive director of the Bazelon Center.
Professor Liu is Associate Dean at the University of California’s Boalt Hall School of Law. The White House nominated him to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February, but the Senate has yet to schedule a floor vote on the nomination.
“As Professor Liu wrote in a 1998 article in the Harvard Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review," continued Bernstein, "the interests of ‘discrete and insular minorities’ merit protection under the Constitution in large part ‘because prejudice perpetuates, and is perpetuated by, their isolation and marginalization.’ This is especially true of the disability community: because of prejudicial stereotypes, too many people with disabilities continue to be placed in segregated classrooms, isolated in residential institutions, and excluded from the regular workforce.”
Bazelon Center law fellow Samantha Crane, who has researched Professor Liu’s writings, expressed particular interest in Liu's work on education. "Professor Liu has expressed a profound understanding that education is an essential part of modern citizenship and that disability is an important part of educational diversity. We therefore predict that, as a judge, he will consistently enforce to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which guarantees children with disabilities access to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting.”
"The federal court system needs judges like Goodwin Liu who will consistently enforce federal disability antidiscrimination laws," said Robert Bernstein. "We hope that the Senate will confirm President Obama's nomination of Professor Liu without further delay."