NCAPA Applauds Hearing for Two AAPI Judges; Urges Prompt Hearing for Supreme Court and other Pending AAPI Nominees
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a nomination hearing for Judges Lucy Koh and Florence Pan.
President Obama has nominated Judge Lucy Koh to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She already is the first Korean American woman to be appointed to a lifetime federal judgeship, and if confirmed, she would be just the second AAPI woman to serve as a circuit judge in our nation’s history. President Obama has nominated Judge Florence Pan to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and she would be the first AAPI female lifetime federal judge to serve on that court.
“Today’s hearing is an important next step in the Senate’s consideration of Judges Koh and Pan, two highly qualified nominees who already have earned unanimous support from the Senate in previous confirmations,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “However, hearings are not enough, as 26 judicial nominees have had hearings but have not received consideration by the full Senate—one waiting since November 2014. We urge the Senate to consider all of these nominations without further delay.”
“We also remind the Senate Judiciary Committee of its constitutional responsibility to consider the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Kang continued. “Chief Judge Garland was nominated 119 days ago. No pending Supreme Court nominee has ever been denied a hearing or waited this long for one. As we saw in the U.S. v. Texas case regarding the President’s immigration executive actions, the Supreme Court can not fully function with only eight Justices.”
"Today's hearings demonstrate that Judge Lucy Koh and Judge Florence Pan are two highly qualified nominees," said Jin Y. Hwang, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) president. "Both are experienced and fair jurists who were overwhelmingly confirmed by the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support for their current positions. We are also encouraged by the fact that today's hearing included two Asian Pacific American women nominees, strengthening diversity on the federal bench. NAPABA urges for a prompt vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee and for the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Koh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Pan to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia."
Prior to 2009, only two AAPI women had ever been appointed to lifetime federal judgeships, and none had served at the U.S. Court of Appeals level, just below the Supreme Court. Since then, President Obama has appointed 10 AAPI female lifetime federal judges, including Judge Jacqueline Nguyen as the first AAPI female U.S. Court of Appeals judge.
NCAPA also urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold prompt hearings on the three pending AAPI judicial nominees who have not yet had one:
Regina Rodriguez has been nominated for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and would be the first AAPI lifetime federal judge to serve in the Tenth Circuit, which covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
Karen Gren Scholer has been nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and would be the first AAPI lifetime federal judge to serve in the Fifth Circuit, which covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has been nominated for the District Court of Guam for another term of ten years.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.