WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 17, 2011) – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee once again recommended Judge Edward M. Chen for a federal judgeship. Members of the committee voted 10-8 on a party line vote, with all Democrats voting in support of Judge Chen’s nomination and all Republicans opposing. Leaders of the Asian Pacific American community renewed their call for the full Senate to confirm Judge Chen without additional delay.
“Judge Chen is eminently well-qualified to serve as a U.S. District Court judge, and we urge the Senate to give him the up-or-down vote that he rightly deserves,” said Paul O. Hirose, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “Judge Chen has a 10-year track record as a federal magistrate judge, broad bipartisan support from law enforcement, the judiciary, and the legal community, and an exceptional commitment to the Asian Pacific American community. He is an outstanding nominee, and needless to say is long overdue a confirmation vote before the Senate.”
Judge Chen has waited longer than any other judicial nominee for a confirmation vote. He was originally nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Aug. 6, 2009. The full Senate neglected to hold an up-or-down vote for Chen before the conclusion of the 111th Congress in December 2010. As anticipated, in January 2011, President Obama renominated Judge Chen and 41 other judicial nominees who also did not get confirmation votes last year. The seat that he has been nominated to is classified as a “judicial emergency.”
“Now that Judge Chen has been voted out of committee, the full Senate must finally take up his confirmation and hold a vote,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center.”This exceptional nominee was first nominated over a year and a half ago, and it is mission critical to the administration of justice and the health of our courts that nominees like Judge Chen get timely votes and that judicial vacancies with pending nominees not be allowed to be left unfilled. The American people deserve true access to justice, and our judicial nominees should not be forced to live in limbo.”
Hirose and Narasaki applaud President Obama for nominating Judge Chen to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and thank California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer for their continued support of his nomination.
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 (www.advancingequality.org), a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, works closely with its sister organizations – the Asian American Institute in Chicago (www.aaichicago.org), the Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcaucus.org) in San Francisco and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org) in Los Angeles – to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.
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