Goodwin Liu's background and experience make him an ideal choice for Calif. attorney general
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As one of only two Asian Americans in the Senate, I have seen firsthand the importance of representation for communities of color. The rise in anti-Asian sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic is just one example of why it is crucial that our leaders fully reflect America’s diversity. To this end, I have worked hard to elevate more Asian Americans to top positions not only in Hawaii and Washington, D.C., but also throughout the country.

When my former House colleague Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraThe Memo: Biden faces first major setback as Tanden teeters The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks MORE is confirmed as U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble California law will send 0 direct payments to low-income residents Democrats look to improve outreach to Asian and Latino communities MORE will select the next attorney general of California — a state where Asian Americans comprise 16.5 percent of the population, the highest concentration outside of Hawaii.

Based on his background, experience, and national reputation, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu would be an excellent choice. With no Asian American among incoming Cabinet secretaries, the appointment of Justice Liu as California attorney general would make him one of the most important Asian American public officials in the country.

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I have evaluated hundreds of nominees to serve on our courts and in the U.S. Department of Justice — including the U.S. attorney general — as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I look for nominees who have the intellect, temperament, and understanding to be fair and objective in upholding the law. I look for nominees who understand the real-world impact of their decisions.

A nominee for state attorney general must know and understand the community he or she will serve. I have known Justice Liu for over a decade because of our shared passion for advancing equal justice under law and diversity in our leadership ranks. He is well prepared to serve as California’s chief law enforcement officer.

Justice Liu is the son of immigrants from Taiwan who fled martial law so their children could grow up in a country that cherishes freedom and democracy. He has lived that promise, and he has dedicated his career to making the justice system fairer and more equitable for all.

A Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law graduate and law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general A powerful tool to take on the Supreme Court — if Democrats use it right Fauci says he was nervous about catching COVID-19 in Trump White House MORE, Justice Liu was a renowned constitutional and education rights scholar before joining California’s highest court in 2011. On and off the bench, he has been a leading voice for civil rights, racial equality, and equal justice under the law.

Throughout California and nationally, he is a recognized leader in the Asian American community. Especially notable is his work highlighting barriers Asian Americans face in advancing to the top ranks of law and government. In 2017, he published the first-ever comprehensive study of Asian Americans’ progress and challenges in the legal profession. His study documented the lack of representation in positions that wield the most power and influence in our nation — including the fact that among the more than 2,400 elected attorneys general and district attorneys in 2016, only four were Asian American.

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This seminal study is well known to Asian American lawyers and law students everywhere, and it earned Justice Liu the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s President’s Award. In another study published last year, Justice Liu charted a troubling decline in Asian Americans attending law school and issued a call to action to reverse the trend. That study also identified ongoing challenges that women, Black, and Latinx law students face.

Justice Liu has done serious work to help members of marginalized communities rise to the top ranks of our society. At countless community events and conferences, he speaks, mentors, motivates, and inspires. He has devoted his energy and prestige to building a just and inclusive democracy. As attorney general, Justice Liu can do even more for the people of California.

As one of the most populous and economically powerful states in the union, California has an outsized role in advancing important national priorities on climate change, environmental justice, immigration, and criminal justice reform. Justice Liu’s national reputation makes him an ideal candidate for California attorney general at this crucial time. And his appointment would underscore the importance of diversity in our nation’s leadership.

Mazie K. Hirono is Hawaii’s first woman and the United States’ first Asian American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Born in Fukushima, Japan, she previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, as the lieutenant governor of Hawaii, and in the Hawaii House of Representatives.