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National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street N.W., Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006


NAPABA Contact: Aleli Samson 202.775.9555

October 6, 2009

AAJC Contact: Nicole Duran 202.296.2300, ext. 144

NAPABA and AAJC Applaud Nomination of Judge Denny Chin to Become First Active
Asian Pacific American Federal Appellate Court Judge in Over Five Years

Washington, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) celebrate the nomination of the Honorable Denny Chin for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If confirmed, Judge Chin would be the only currently active Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judge in the United States out of approximately 175 federal appellate court judgeships. Judge Chin also would become the first-ever Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judge nominated and confirmed outside of the Ninth Circuit and the first Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judge ever in the Northeast.

“Judge Chin is an active and longstanding member of NAPABA, and we are ecstatic about his nomination. We thank the Obama Administration for its continued commitment to increasing diversity in the judiciary and Senator Charles Schumer for his strong support of Judge Chin and the Asian Pacific American community,” said Andrew T. Hahn, President of NAPABA.

It has been over five years since there has been an Asian Pacific American active on any federal appellate court in the United States, and it has been over 14 years since an Asian Pacific American has been nominated to serve on any federal appellate court. If Judge Chin is confirmed, he will be the fifth-ever Asian Pacific American judge to serve on the United States Court of Appeals.

“We applaud President Obama’s nomination of United States District Court Judge Chin to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Born to a working class Chinese American family, Judge Chin has lived the American dream and is a great example to all Americans,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC. “Known as a ‘judge’s judge’ for mentoring many new members of the bench, Judge Chin consistently receives strong reviews from lawyers appearing before him, regardless of whether the lawyer represents the government, criminal defendants, plaintiffs, or defendants.”

Judge Chin has been a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York since 1994, and he is currently the longest serving Asian Pacific American federal district court judge. He has earned a reputation as an erudite, conscientious jurist and received countless distinctions such as the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Trailblazer Award, the New York State Division of Human Rights’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Asian American Justice Center’s Distinguished Service Award, and Fordham Law School Alumni Association’s Medal of Achievement. Judge Chin is a widely respected leader in the community, actively participating in Asian Pacific American bar associations for approximately 20 years and having served on the boards of various non-profit organizations, including Hartley House, Care for the Homeless, and the Brooklyn Center for Urban Environment.

Prior to serving as a federal district court judge, Judge Chin worked for several years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He also has worked in private practice, both in large and small firms – including his own small firm for four years. Judge Chin began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Henry F. Werker, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Many of the traits that make Judge Chin an excellent jurist can be traced to his own background. Judge Chin was born in Hong Kong, and moved to the United States when he was two years old. His parents, who fled from China to Hong Kong to escape the Communists, were able to move to the United States under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953. He grew up in New York City in Hell’s Kitchen. His father worked as a cook in Chinese restaurants, while his mother worked as a seamstress in the garment industry. Through hard work and family sacrifices, he was able to attend the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York, graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, and was Managing Editor for the Law Review at Fordham Law School. His upbringing epitomizes the all-American story of families seeking to create a better life in the United States. To this day, one of Judge Chin’s favorite “duties” is to swear in new citizens of the United States. He proudly shows a picture of his grandfather and his grandfather’s naturalization certificate, and tells the new citizens how his family came to the United States and succeeded. By doing so, he hopes to encourage the new citizens to pursue the opportunities that exist only in America to their fullest potential.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 60 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

The Asian American Justice Center is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates – the Asian American Institute in Chicago the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles – and nearly 100 community partners in 47 cities, 25 states and the District of Columbia.


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