FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAPABA Contact: Tina Matsuoka (202) 775-9555
November 19, 2009
AAJC Contact: Nicole Duran (202) 296-2300, ext. 144
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN JUDGE PRAISED IN SENATE HEARING
APA Leaders Pleased with Progress on Chin Nomination to Appellate Court
Washington, DC – With Asian Pacific American leaders providing key testimony, the Senate Judiciary Committee moved Judge Denny Chin’s federal Appellate Court nomination forward Wednesday.
“Judge Chin is a distinguished leader in the legal community and has a strong record as a District Court judge,” said Tina Matsuoka, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association executive director. “He has the experience, intellect, integrity and temperament to serve admirably as a federal appellate court judge.
“We look forward to a speedy confirmation,” Matsuoka added.
While presiding over the hearing, New York Sen. Charles Schumer noted that, if confirmed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Judge Chin will be “the only active Asian American appellate judge on the federal bench.”
In a written statement, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy stated: “It is unbelievable that of the approximately 175 active appellate court judges in our country, none are Asian Pacific American. More than 14 years have passed since an Asian Pacific American was nominated to a federal appellate court. The progress we make today is long overdue.”
Judge Chin’s confirmation would be a milestone. He would be only the fifth ever Asian Pacific American federal Appellate Court judge and the first outside of the Ninth Circuit.
“We applaud yesterday’s hearing as a positive step toward a more diverse judiciary,” said Karen K. Narasaki, Asian American Justice Center president and executive director. “Judge Chin has been a trailblazer in the Asian Pacific American community. While the underrepresentation of Asian Pacific Americans in the judiciary continues, we appreciate that the contributions of leaders such as Judge Chin are being recognized.”
Sen. Schumer, who recommended Judge Chin, praised him for bringing “excellence, moderation, and diversity” to the bench in opening remarks that often echoed the testimony of NAPABA and AAJC leaders. He also noted that the committee received strongly supportive letters from former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Judge John S. Martin.
Matsuoka and Narasaki thanked Sen. Schumer for presiding over the hearing and recommending Judge Chin, Sen. Jeff Sessions for attending the hearing, President Obama for nominating him and the committee for its prompt confirmation hearing.
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 61 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.