On July 11th, at the Museum of Korean American Heritage, AABANY, along with KAAGNY and KALAGNY, co-sponsored the robing ceremony for the Hon. Michael H. Park, United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The event was held to commemorate and celebrate Judge Park as the first Korean American to serve on the Second Circuit.
The program kicked off with a spirited rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Then, Charles Yoon, President of KAAGNY, delivered opening remarks from the podium noting the historic nature of this event in Korean American history. The venue was especially fitting for the ceremony as many momentous Korean American milestones were printed on the walls—from honoring the first Korean naturalized citizen of the United States, Philip Jaisohn, to remembering the Korean comfort women.
KALAGNY President Gene Kang then delivered heartfelt comments on the necessity of diversity on the judicial bench and how far Korean Americans have advanced in the legal profession starting out with humble origins from “a small Asian peninsula.” Next, Michael Kim, a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Yale Law School classmate of the Hon. Michael Park, shared a memory from when he was still in law school and Judge Park belted out an NSYNC song at Karaoke—true to Korean fashion. Kim commented that if Judge Park had decided to stay in Korea, he might be introducing a K-pop star instead of a Second Circuit Judge. Finally, the Hon. Denny Chin, the first Asian American United States Second Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, administered the oath of office to the Hon. Michael Park. Sarah Seo, Judge Park’s wife, robed him. KALAGNY generously provided the new robe for Judge Park.
After the robing ceremony, Judge Park took the stage to thank attendees and organizations such as AABANY, KALAGNY, and KAAGNY for their support. He especially thanked those who had come before him, such as the Hon. Denny Chin, in paving a path for more Asian American judges, like him, to follow. In closing, AABANY President Brian Song cited AABANY’s mission statement and shared hopes that one day, a robing ceremony for an APA judge might not appear so remarkable as many more APA judges are elevated to the bench in the future, to more accurately reflect the diversity of America.
AABANY congratulates the Hon. Michael H. Park and warmly thanks all attendees for joining us in celebrating the historic event.