WASHINGTON (March 16, 2012) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached an agreement March 15, to allow votes on all three Asian Pacific American nominees pending on the Senate floor.
aThe Asian Pacific American nominees include Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Miranda Du, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and John Z. Lee, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Nguyen, Ms. Du, and Mr. Lee have all been nominated to fill vacancies that are classified as “judicial emergencies.” Eleven other judicial nominees were also included in the Senate deal, and it is expected that all 14 judicial nominees will receive a floor vote by May 7th.
“The Asian Pacific American community is delighted by the news that Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Miranda Du, and John Z. Lee are finally scheduled to have confirmation votes in the coming weeks after much unneeded delay,” said Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “If confirmed, these qualified nominees will bring much needed diversity to courts in California, Nevada, and Illinois, and fill judicial seats that have been vacant for far too long.”
If confirmed, Judge Nguyen would be the first Asian Pacific American female federal appellate court judge in the history of the United States, Ms. Du would be the first Asian Pacific American Article III judge in Nevada, and Mr. Lee would be only the second Asian Pacific American Article III judge on the Northern District of Illinois.
“We hope that this agreement will help break the backlog of nominations still pending in the Senate, and that the final confirmation votes for all three Asian Pacific American nominees are scheduled soon,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC). “We applaud Senator Reid for shining a spotlight on the judicial vacancy crisis and pushing these Asian Pacific American nominees forward for a vote in the coming weeks.”
There are currently 15 active Asian Pacific American Article III Judges out of approximately 875 authorized Article III Judges – 1 circuit court judge and 14 district court judges. If the number of Asian Pacific American judges reflected the general population, then there should be approximately 11-12 Asian Pacific American federal circuit court judges, and 40-41 Asian Pacific American federal district court judges.
AAJC and NAPABA urge members of the Asian Pacific American community to continue to contact their Senators about these judicial nominations until Judge Nguyen, Ms. Du, and Mr. Lee have received their final confirmation votes in the Senate. We look forward to continuing to work with the Senate on the confirmation of these and future Asian Pacific American judicial candidates.
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 (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.