Liu, 40, withdrew his nomination to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in May after Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation.
"Professor Liu is an extraordinary man and a distinguished legal scholar and teacher," Brown said in a prepared statement. "He is a nationally-recognized expert on constitutional law and has experience in private practice, government service and in the academic community. I know that he will be an outstanding addition to our state supreme court."
Liu, a Georgia native, joined the Berkeley faculty in 2003. He was an appellate lawyer in Washington D.C. and previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the governor's office said.
He attended public schools in Sacramento before receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Stanford University, a master's from Oxford University, and a law degree from Yale Law School, the governor's office said. Liu, a Democrat, will replace Carlos Moreno, the only Democrat on the court, who retired earlier this year.
"I'm deeply honored by Governor Brown's nomination and look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of California on our state's highest court," Liu said in a prepared statement.
Brown, a Democrat, made controversial judicial appointments when he was first governor, from 1975 to 1983, including the appointment of Rose Bird chief justice. His nomination of Liu is the first of his third term.
PHOTO CREDIT: File photo of Goodwin Liu from University of California, Berkeley School of Law.