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Click here to download a PDF copy of the press release.


NAPABA Contact: Tina Matsuoka (202) 775-9555

April 21, 2010

AAJC Contact: Nicole Duran (202) 296-2300, ext. 144


WASHINGTON - Today, President Barack Obama nominated the Honorable Leslie E. Kobayashi to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii and Edmond E. Chang to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. If confirmed, Judge Kobayashi would be only the second female Asian Pacific American Article III judge in the District of Hawaii. Mr. Chang is the first-ever Asian Pacific American to be nominated to serve as an Article III judge in any of the federal courts covered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. If confirmed, he would be only the second Asian Pacific American to serve as an Article III judge outside of the East and West Coasts.

"I am very pleased to see the nomination of two exceptionally well-qualified Asian Pacific Americans to serve as federal district court judges," said Joseph J. Centeno, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. "Judge Kobayashi's nomination is especially fitting because over 75% of Hawaii's population is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Likewise, Mr. Chang will bring greater diversity to the Northern District of Illinois, which is important given the significant percentage of Asian Pacific Americans in Illinois and particularly in the Chicago area."

Judge Kobayashi has served as a U.S. magistrate judge in Hawaii since 1999. Before that she was a partner and commercial litigator in Hawaii. Judge Kobayashi began her career as a Deputy Prosecution Attorney with the City and County of Hawaii. Mr. Chang has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Office for the last 11 years, including service for the last five years as the Chief of the Appeals Division. Mr. Chang has taught civil rights litigation as an Adjunct Professor at the Northwestern University School of Law for the last four years.

"Judge Kobayashi is a proven federal judge who has served as a federal magistrate judge for over 10 years on the court to which she has been nominated," said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. "Mr. Chang is a highly experienced federal practitioner who will be fair and impartial on the bench."

NAPABA and AAJC congratulate Judge Kobayashi and Mr. Chang upon their historic nominations and thank President Obama for nominating them and Sens. Dan Inouye, Daniel Akaka, and Dick Durbin for their support.


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 63 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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