The U.S. Senate today confirmed Judge Edward M. Chen to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Until today, his nomination languished for more than 600 days.
From all of us involved with the FairJudges.net website, we want to express our sincere and deep appreciation for your support of Judge Chen and his nomination. Your support was an important part of moving his nomination to the floor of the Senate for a full vote today.
Several organizations and individuals issued statements following Judge Chen’s nomination and we share a few of them below.
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) applauds the U.S. Senate’s vote today confirming the nomination of Magistrate Judge Edward M. Chen to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
“AABA congratulates Judge Chen on his confirmation and expresses our appreciation to Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer for their tremendous efforts in bringing this nomination to a successful vote by the full Senate,” said Malcolm Yeung, President of AABA. “Judge Chen is eminently qualified for the federal bench, having distinguished himself through a decade of service as a Magistrate Judge in the Northern District and through his involvement with the Asian American legal community.”
“We also thank President Obama and the White House for nominating Judge Chen to the federal bench. His Administration made history with its nominations and the Senate’s confirmations of the first two Asian American judges in the 150-year history of the Northern District of California,” said Yeung. With today’s Senate confirmation, Judge Chen is only the second Asian American judge in the Northern District of California, following the confirmation of Judge Lucy Koh in 2010.
AABA will continue to promote the appointment and confirmation of more Asian Pacific Americans to the judiciary, where they are vastly underrepresented at both the state and federal levels. Our judiciary serves the people best when it reflects the diversity of the general public.
“Judge Chen’s confirmation was imperative to our community for many reasons. Judge Chen was a highly qualified jurist whose nomination was stalled for more than 600 days because of unnecessary Senate politics, with his nomination being returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee a record four times.” said Edwin Prather, AABA past president.
“We were able to overcome his nomination’s roadblocks only through the efforts of Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer and because numerous Asian American organizations worked together, with other groups of color, and with organizations advancing a fair judiciary. Judge Chen’s confirmation is not just the confirmation of a wonderful and intelligent jurist, but an affirmation that our community can achieve victories when we are united behind a cause.”
“This is a day of true celebration as we congratulate Judge Chen on his long-awaited confirmation vote,” said Paul O. Hirose, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “He has been an exemplary federal magistrate judge, and we know that he will be an equally excellent federal district court judge. Judge Chen has been an active member of the Asian Pacific American community for a long time and a hero to many of us, and we are so proud of him today.”
With Senate confirmation of the nomination of Judge Chen, President Obama has confirmed more Asian Pacific American federal judges than any other President in history. There are now 14 active Asian Pacific American Article III judges in the nation, 7 of whom were nominated by President Obama.
“Judge Chen has been a tremendous leader within the Asian Pacific American community and a great example to all Americans. We could not be happier for Judge Chen, or prouder of his achievement,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. “The Asian Pacific American community applauds the President’s continued commitment to diversity and thanks all those Senators who agreed to end debate on his nomination and give Judge Chen the vote that he deserves.”
Judge Chen is the first Asian Pacific American to serve as an Article III judge in San Francisco. He has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Northern District of California since 2001, where he was the first-ever Asian Pacific American federal judge in the 150-year history of that court. Prior to the bench, Judge Chen had over 20 years of litigation experience, including serving on the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu in a coram nobis case. Judge Chen is the recipient of numerous awards, including “Judge of the Year” from the Barristers Club of San Francisco in 2007, California Law Review’s “Alumnus of the Year” in 2002, and NAPABA’s highest honor, its Trailblazer Award, in 2001.
NAPABA and AAJC are proud to have supported Judge Chen. The organizations applaud President Obama for his nomination, Senate Majority Leader Reid for bringing Judge Chen’s nomination for a vote, and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her stalwart support of Judge Chen.
NAPABA and AAJC also thank California Sen. Barbara Boxer and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy for their unwavering support of his nomination, and the Senate Republican Leadership for agreeing to the expedited time agreement before Judge Chen’s roll call vote.
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to today’s confirmation of Judge Edward Chen to the U.S. District Court of Northern California:
“This is welcome news for an overworked federal bench that has waited almost two years for Judge Edward Chen’s confirmation. Judge Chen’s experiences – as a magistrate judge and author of more than 300 opinions, a community advocate, a small business owner, and the son of immigrants – combine to make him a well?rounded candidate who will always seek to ensure just results for all litigants who appear before him.
What’s troubling is that that it took so long to confirm such a well-qualified nominee to this position, which was designated as a “judicial emergency” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. With such impeccable qualifications and demonstrated need for his service, there was no legitimate reason that his confirmation to a judiciary-in-crisis should have taken this long.
There was not even the pretense on the part of Senate Republicans that they were considering Judge Chen’s merits. These politicians are engaging in an unprecedented use of secret holds and filibusters to delay – and ultimately deny – the confirmation of a significant number of highly qualified and uncontroversial judicial nominees. This blanket obstructionism is nothing less than an abuse of the Senate’s constitutional duty to “advise and consent” on a president’s nominees.
The Leadership Conference applauds the vote to confirm Edward Chen and urges the Senate to put partisanship aside and promptly provide up-or-down confirmation votes to every nominee recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
From Congressman Mike Honda: “My heartiest congratulations to Ed Chen on his confirmation to the U.S. District Court. Despite receiving the highest rating by the American Bar Association, Judge Chen’s vote was held up for 600 days. Today’s confirmation is a step towards fulfilling the President’s promise of a well qualified & diverse judiciary. Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) hold only 13 positions out of 875 active Article III judges.”