FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAPABA Contact: Tina Matsuoka (202) 775-9555
September 24, 2009
AAJC Contact: Nicole Duran (202) 296-2300, ext. 144
NAPABA and AAJC Leaders Pleased With Senate Hearing
on Three Asian Pacific American Federal Judicial Nominees
Washington, Sept. 24, 2009 — Representatives of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) were pleased with the outcome of Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Edward M. Chen, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Dolly M. Gee, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California; and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
“All three nominees have the experience, intellectual capacity, integrity and temperament to serve admirably as U.S. District Court judges,” NAPABA Executive Director Tina Matsuoka said. “We look forward to a speedy confirmation for each nominee.”
While presiding over the hearing Sen. Al Franken noted that, if confirmed, the three nominees would increase the number of Asian Pacific American Senate-confirmed lifetime judges from eight to 11. There are more than 850 Senate-confirmed lifetime judgeships at the U.S. District Courts, Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court. There are no Asian Pacific Americans currently active on the U.S. Courts of Appeals and there has never been an Asian Pacific American Supreme Court justice. In a written statement, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy said: “This is an historic hearing and an historic day … the progress that we make today is long overdue.”
AAJC President and Executive Director Karen K. Narasaki said: “We have historically stressed the importance of diversity in the judiciary and are pleased that yesterday’s hearing brought to light the distinct contributions that each of these nominees will make to the federal judiciary.”
Individually, the confirmation of each would be a milestone as well. Gee and Nguyen would become the first Chinese American woman and Vietnamese American, respectively, ever to sit on a U.S. District Court or higher. And Chen would be the first Asian Pacific American to sit on the San Francisco-based District Court.
California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who recommended the trio, also introduced them. Boxer proudly stated that her selection committee was charged with “giving us the best.”
Matsuoka and Narasaki thanked Sens. Feinstein and Boxer, President Obama and the Senate Judiciary Committee for their recommendation, nomination and prompt consideration of all three candidates.
PHOTO CREDIT: NAPABA. Photographed are Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Edward M. Chen, and Dolly M. Gee
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.