The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning recommended the nomination of pro-gay law professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals by a vote of 12 to 7.

Liu’s opposition to California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, came up prominently during his confirmation hearing in April and will likely come up on the floor of the Senate as well. Liu tried to position himself as having played the role of a “neutral” legal scholar during the initiative campaign.


Although he did not discuss his personal views on Proposition 8 during the hearing, in one of many essays he has published in various newspapers and publications, he wrote “there is no question that [Proposition 8] targets a historically vulnerable group and eliminates a very important right.” He also predicted that same-sex marriage would eventually “become an unremarkable thread of our social fabric” and that those opposing it now will eventually be viewed as a “narrow and ultimately temporary majority.”

Republican John Cornyn said he was opposing Liu’s nomination because Liu is “committed to the life of an advocate” and “would use his perch to advance his policy views.”

President Obama nominated Liu, a professor of law at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, in February and his confirmation hearing has been delayed twice due to Republican opposition.

If confirmed, he would take a seat on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which covers California and eight other western states. The American Bar Association gave him a “unanimously well-qualified” rating.