FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2016
CONTACT: Theodore K. Cheng, Esq., [email protected]
NEWARK – On February 29, 2016, Governor Chris Christie nominated New Jersey Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman to a seat on New Jersey’s highest court. If confirmed, Judge Bauman, who is Japanese-American, would be the first Supreme Court Justice of Asian Pacific American (APA) descent in the history of New Jersey.
“This is an incredibly proud moment for the APA community. APALA-NJ commends Governor Christie for again nominating Judge Bauman, who is unquestionably an exceptional candidate and highly qualified to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court. We proudly support Judge Bauman’s nomination and know that he will be a prestigious addition to the State’s highest court,” said Theodore K. Cheng, President of APALA-NJ.
Judge Bauman was nominated to the New Jersey Superior Court by Governor Jon Corzine, unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and thereafter confirmed by the full Senate in 2008. He was named Presiding Judge of the Civil Division in Monmouth County in 2009 and received tenure last year. He currently serves in the Criminal Division. Last October, the New Jersey State Bar Association honored Judge Bauman with its annual Minority Judge’s Award, which is given “to an outstanding diverse jurist and exemplary lawyers who have demonstrated through personal and professional achievement the ideals espoused” in the State Bar Diversity Committee’s overall mission and objectives.
Prior to taking the judicial oath in July 2008, Judge Bauman was a partner at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., specializing in general litigation with a focus on complex civil and criminal matters. From 1988 through 1991, he served on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, working as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and lead trial attorney for high profile criminal matters. He held positions in the Marine Corps Reserve, such as staff judge advocate, company commander and appellate government counsel. His service awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Letter of Commendation, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps, and Certificate of Commendation, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines. In December 2012, Governor Christie nominated Judge Bauman to fill one of two then vacant seats on the New Jersey Supreme Court. However, the Senate never afforded Judge Bauman a confirmation hearing, and the nomination subsequently expired.
“For six years, a seat on New Jersey’s highest court has remained vacant. Unified action from our elected officials is long overdue. Judge Bauman deserves a speedy and fair hearing. This time around, we are hopeful that the Executive and the Legislature will overcome the politicization of the judicial nomination process, and we can move forward with efforts to diversify the State’s Judiciary,” said Jhanice V. Domingo, Immediate Past President of APALA-NJ and Chair of APALA-NJ’s Judicial & Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
According to the 2010 Census, APAs represent over 8.3 percent of New Jersey’s population. New Jersey is among the top five U.S. states with the largest APA population. Between 2000 and 2010, the APA population more than doubled in 110 New Jersey municipalities and every county in New Jersey experienced double-digit growth of its APA population. APAs were also the fastest growing minority group during the past decade nationwide.
Notwithstanding, APAs remain underrepresented in the State Judiciary. There are only four judges of APA descent out of approximately 360 Superior Court judges. Judge Bauman’s confirmation would advance diversity in a branch of government that does not today adequately reflect the entire constituency of New Jersey. Throughout the State’s history, there have only been two African-American and one Hispanic Justice, and not one APA has ever served on the New Jersey Supreme Court. Although there is still much work to be done to diversify the State Judiciary, Judge Bauman’s confirmation to the State’s highest court would be a step in the right direction. APALA-NJ will continue to work with its sister bar associations on the State and Federal level and leaders in the community to ameliorate the glaring underrepresentation of APAs in the judiciary.
The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) is New Jersey’s only pan-Asian bar association serving Asian Pacific American attorneys across the State. Founded in 1983, APALA-NJ continues to be a strong advocate for increased diversity in the Federal and State judiciaries. To learn more about APALA-NJ, visit www.apalanj.org.