National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
1612 K Street N.W., Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aleli Samson
August 7, 2009
NAPABA and AAJC Applaud the Nominations of
Dolly M. Gee and Edward M. Chen to the Federal Judiciary
Washington, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) celebrate the nominations of Dolly M. Gee for United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the Honorable Edward M. Chen for United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. If confirmed, Ms. Gee would become the first Asian Pacific American female judge to serve on the District Court of the Central District of California and Judge Chen would become the first Asian Pacific American federal district court judge in the San Francisco area.
“This marks the first time in history that two Asian Pacific American judicial nominations have been made on the same day. These historic nominations come on the heels of the nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Nguyen for United States District Court for the Central District of California just one week ago and demonstrate President Obama’s commitment to improving the long-needed diversity of the federal judiciary,” said Andrew T. Hahn, Sr. President of NAPABA.
Ms. Gee and Judge Chen’s appointments would increase desperately needed racial and gender diversity in the federal judiciary. Of the over 850 active Article III judgeships nationwide, less than 1% are filled by Asian Pacific American judges. Of these eight, only two are women. As the first Asian Pacific American federal district court judge in the San Francisco area, Judge Chen’s confirmation would bring long overdue diversity to the court that first rendered many of the most infamous civil rights decisions affecting Asian Pacific Americans – including United States v. Korematsu, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, and Lau v. Nichols.
“AAJC and NAPABA are proud to have recommended Ms. Gee and Judge Chen for these seats and to have worked with the Obama administration, the White House Counsel’s office, and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein in supporting them and many other talented Asian Pacific American lawyers highly qualified to serve on the federal bench,” said Karen Narasaki, President of AAJC.
Since 1986, Ms. Gee has been Partner at Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers LLP, where she specializes in labor and employment law. She also presides over disputes as an arbitrator with the Kaiser Permanente Independent Arbitration System, has served as a court-appointed independent election monitor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Delegate and Officers Elections, and was appointed to serve on the Federal Service Impasses Panel. Ms. Gee’s numerous contributions to the community include service on the boards of the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the California Women’s Law Center. Ms. Gee has received NAPABA’s highest honor, the Trailblazer Award, as well as numerous pro bono service awards and the “Super Lawyer” distinction from Los Angeles Magazine.
For the past eight years, Judge Chen has served as a federal magistrate judge for the Northern District of California. Notably, Judge Chen was also part of the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu over 40 years after the fact in a coram nobis case. Among his numerous awards, Judge Chen was voted “Judge of the Year” by the Barristers Club of San Francisco in 2007 and was California Law Review’s “Alumnus of the Year” in 2002. Judge Chen has received endorsements from a wide range of groups and individuals, including federal prosecutors, city attorneys, police officer associations, and numerous national and local civic and community organizations. Judge Chen has received a well-qualified ranking from the American Bar Association for the current nomination.
NAPABA and AAJC thank President Obama for nominating Dolly M. Gee and Edward M. Chen, Senator Barbara Boxer for recommending Ms. Gee to the President, and Senator Dianne Feinstein for recommending Judge Chen to the President. Judge Chen is Senator Feinstein’s second nomination of an Asian Pacific American for the federal judiciary this year.
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.