AAP staff report
WASHINGTON (April 25, 2012) — President Obama formally nominated Lorna Schofield to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first person of Filipino descent to serve as an Article III judge in American history.
Obama nominated Schofield on Wednesday along with other District Court nominees Terrence G. Berg, Jesus G. Bernal, Shelly Deckert Dick.
“I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench,” Obama said. “They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court.”
Schofield graduated from Indiana University magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and went on to earn her law degree from NYU Law School, where she served as an editor of the NYU Law Review. She became a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton in 1991, after working in previous positions at the law firm of Clearly, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Asian Pacific Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary. In the New York City area, approximately ten percent of the population is Asian Pacific American. However, of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, none is Asian Pacific American in the Southern District and only one is Asian Pacific American in the Eastern District.
“We commend President Obama for nominating Lorna Schofield to be a federal district court judge on the Southern District of New York,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center, member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. “Ms. Schofield has the experience to be an excellent judge in the Southern District of New York, and her confirmation will add much needed diversity to the federal bench in New York. Both the Obama Administration and Senator Schumer should be commended for their ongoing effort to put forward well-qualified, diverse nominees for the federal judiciary.”
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus, applauded the nomination.
“Lorna Schofield is an exceptionally well qualified nominee with the intellect, experience, and credentials to serve as an Article III judge,” Chu said. “If confirmed, Ms. Schofield would become the first Filipino-American federal judge in U.S. history and would be serving in a district where nearly one in ten residents identifies as Asian American or Pacific Islander.
“I commend Senator Chuck Schumer for recommending Ms. Schofield, and thank President Obama for his firm commitment to promoting diversity in our federal judiciary. Over the past three years, the President and Senate leadership have literally doubled the number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on the federal bench to ensure that our courts reflect the populations they serve. I urge the Senate to move forward with Ms. Schofield’s confirmation to the District Court for the Southern District of New York.”
“As CAPAC Chair Emeritus, I am proud to support the Obama Administration’s efforts to nominate experienced candidates like Ms. Schofield to the judiciary,” Honda said. “I thank Senator Schumer and President Obama for their leadership with her nomination, and I now urge the Senate to act swiftly in confirming her to ensure a more diverse representation of AAPIs on the federal bench.”
“We congratulate Lorna Schofield on her nomination to serve as a federal district court judge on the Southern District of New York,” said Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “She is an exceptionally well-qualified nominee, and we thank both President Obama and Senator Schumer for putting her name forward to serve on such a distinguished court. If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Schofield will be the first Filipino American in the history of the United States to serve as an Article III judge.”
Ms. Schofield was the first Asian Pacific American to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, which is the ABA’s largest section with over 60,000 members, and has also served as a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. For almost 20 years, Ms. Schofield has been a litigation partner at the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, where she has focused on white collar criminal defense and general civil litigation.
She became the firm’s first minority partner in 1991 and since January 2012 has served as Of Counsel. Prior to joining Debevoise, she was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Criminal Division) for four years. In 2008, Ms. Schofield was named one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers by the National Law Journal.