FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAPABA Contact: Tina Matsuoka (202) 775-9555
February 12, 2010
AAJC Contact: Vincent Eng (202) 296-2300, ext.121
(703) 981-6636 (mobile)
Asian Pacific American Leaders Pleased with Senate Hearing
for Federal Court Judicial Nominee Lucy H. Koh
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, the U.S. Senate took the first step toward confirming the Honorable Lucy H. Koh to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Koh was nominated on January 20, 2010 and is the fifth Asian Pacific American nominated to the federal bench by President Obama.
"Judge Koh is a uniquely qualified nominee with a wealth of experience as a jurist," said Joseph J. Centeno, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. "Her confirmation will be historic for the Asian Pacific American community to which she has been so committed throughout her career. We recognized Judge Koh's commitment last year by awarding her the NAPABA Trailblazer Award, which is our highest honor."
Judge Koh was appointed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court in January 2008 by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prior, she was an intellectual property and commercial litigator in Silicon Valley for more than eight years. She began her legal career in the public sector, serving as an assistant U. S. attorney in Los Angeles in the major frauds section and in several positions at Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. If confirmed, she will be the first female Korean American Article III judge.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will have its first opportunity to vote on Judge Koh's nomination at the next scheduled executive business meeting. If voted out of the committee, Koh will be placed on the Senate Executive Calendar for a final confirmation floor vote.
"We have no doubt the Judiciary Committee will recognize that Judge Koh is a strong and qualified nominee," said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. "Her speedy confirmation will be an important step in addressing the appalling absence of Asian American Article III judges, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area."
There has never been an Asian Pacific American Article III judge in the 160 year history of the Northern District of California (San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley). This fact is especially significant given that some of the most infamous cases affecting Asian Pacific Americans - including United States v. Korematsu, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, and Lau v. Nichols - were first decided by the federal district court in the Bay Area. Today, approximately one-third of the population in the Bay Area is Asian Pacific American. Judge Koh's nomination received strong support from law enforcement and prominent individuals including Gov. Schwarzenegger, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, Viet Dinh, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy to then-attorney general John Ashcroft, Santa Clara sheriff Laurie Smith, Santa Clara district attorney Dolores Carr, and Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler.
Centeno and Narasaki thank President Obama and California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein for nominating Judge Koh.
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.