NAPABA Congratulates Julie Su on her Confirmation to Become Deputy Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON – NAPABA congratulates Julie Su on her confirmation to become Deputy Secretary of Labor. Ms. Su will be the first Asian American woman to serve as the Department of Labor’s second-in-command.

“Julie Su’s experience leading California’s labor department – the country’s largest in a state that ranks as the fifth largest economy in the world, makes her extraordinarily well-prepared to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “NAPABA congratulates Julie Su and applauds the Senate on her well-deserved confirmation.”

In 2014, NAPABA honored Ms. Su with its prestigious Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Ms. Su was recognized for her advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable, poor, and disenfranchised workers, including for her efforts to hold garment manufacturers liable for exploiting slave labor.

Prior to her role as California Labor Secretary, Ms. Su was California Labor Commissioner, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, and has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. Ms. Su was a recipient of the 2019 American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Stanford University.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Congratulates Kiran Ahuja on her Confirmation to Become the First Asian American Woman to Lead OPM

For Immediate Release: Date: June 22, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA congratulates Kiran Ahuja on her confirmation to become Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  In this role, Ms. Ahuja will be the first Asian American woman to lead the federal government’s principal human resources agency. 

“Kiran Ahuja’s prior governmental experience as OPM’s Chief of Staff, as a career government lawyer at DOJ, and as Executive Director of the White House’s Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI, now the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders) make her ready to lead OPM and its diverse and talented workforce at a critical time,” said A.B. Cruz III, the President of NAPABA. “NAPABA congratulates Kiran Ahuja on her well-earned confirmation.”

In 2011, NAPABA honored Ms. Ahuja with its Women’s Leadership Award for her decades long efforts towards improving the lives of women of color in the United States and the advancement of AAPI women both as founding Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum and as Executive Director of WHIAAPI.

Ms. Ahuja earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and a law degree from the University of Georgia.  NAPABA applauded the nomination of Ms. Ahuja and had written to all Senators voicing support for her confirmation.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Statement on the Senate Confirmation of Vanita Gupta

For Immediate Release: Date: April 21, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Vanita Gupta on her historic bipartisan confirmation by the Senate, to serve as Associate Attorney General in the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the third highest ranking position at the Department. She now becomes the most senior Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leader at DOJ ever, and the first woman of color to serve as Associate Attorney General.

“NAPABA is thrilled that the Senate has confirmed Vanita Gupta to lead the DOJ’s efforts in the critical areas of civil rights, the environment, justice-oriented grant making, community policing, community relations, violence against women, tax enforcement, antitrust, and ensuring the rights of service members and veterans, among other responsibilities” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Her tenure could not have come at a more pivotal time for so many populations of color and vulnerable people, especially as we face an onslaught of anti-Asian hate crimes and bias-motivated attacks against our communities.” 

NAPABA applauds President Biden for nominating Ms. Gupta to the position and the Senate for confirming her at this crucial time.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Congratulates Katherine Tai on Confirmation as U.S. Trade Representative

For Immediate Release: Date: March 18, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) celebrates Katherine Tai’s confirmation to be U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the Biden-Harris administration. Tai is the first Asian American woman and woman of color to lead the agency.

“We congratulate Katherine Tai on her historic confirmation today,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Ambassador Tai’s confirmation by a 98 to 0 vote to lead the Biden-Harris administration’s trade policy shows that she is the most qualified person for this position. We look forward to Ambassador Tai serving as a voice for our community in the Cabinet, especially in the wake of increased acts of hate against Asian Americans.”

Tai formerly served as Chief Trade Counsel and Staff Director of the Trade Subcommittee in the Ways & Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, as Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and clerked for Judge John D. Bates, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Tai is the first AAPI to be confirmed to serve in President Biden’s Cabinet. She was first nominated December 2020. NAPABA advocated for Ambassador Katherine Tai’s nomination. We thank President Biden and the Senate for nominating and confirming her.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession. 

AABANY CONGRATULATES JUDGE LILLIAN WAN ON HER HISTORIC APPOINTMENT AS THE FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO SERVE ON THE NEW YORK COURT OF CLAIMS

NEW YORK – June 25, 2018- The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”)
congratulates the Honorable Lillian Wan on being confirmed by the New York State Senate on
June 20, 2018, to sit as a judge on the New York Court of Claims, where she will rule on cases
involving claims against the state or its agencies. As Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) stated
at the confirmation, Judge Wan will be “making history” by serving as the first Asian American
woman on the Court of Claims. 

Prior to her confirmation, Judge Wan served as a Judge on the Kings County Family Court after
being appointed in 2012 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where she heard a number of
complex cases pertaining to child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, and family offenses. She
also presided over “crossover youth” cases, which involve children who enter the juvenile justice
system after spending time in the state’s child welfare system or in foster care. 

Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Wan led a successful legal career as an experienced
trial attorney for the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”) in the Family Court Legal
Services Division, where she litigated cases on neglect and abuse. Judge Wan also served as a
Court Attorney-Referee in Kings County Surrogate’s Court, where she participated in settlement
conferences and held hearings related to guardianship, kinship, adoption, and estates. Judge Wan
received her B.A. from Binghamton University and her J.D. from Albany Law School, where she
served on the Albany Law Review and graduated within the top five of her class. 

Judge Wan is an active member of various organizations and committees dedicated to the
advancement of justice, including the Encourage Judicial Service Committee and the New York
State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics. She currently serves as a board member for the
Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and the New York State Family Court Judges Association,
and has served as the former Co-Chair of the Government and Public Sector (now the
Government and Public Interest) Committee for AABANY. Judge Wan is active within her local
community, taking part in outreach programs such as the National Association of Women Judges
“Color of Justice” Program, which aims to introduce students to the legal profession. 

“AABANY is immensely proud of Judge Wan. Her experience in the courtroom, compassion,
and unwavering dedication make her an unparalleled candidate to serve as a judge on the Court
of Claims,” said James Cho, President of AABANY. “Judge Wan’s confirmation also reminds us
of the progress we have made in advancing diversity and inclusion on the bench; Asian Pacific
Americans and other minority communities continue to be underrepresented on the bench, but
we are gratified to see that New York is appointing minority judges like Judge Wan. Her
appointment marks a historic and significant step forward in making the judiciary more diverse
and inclusive.” 

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-
2478, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org. 

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of
attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated
in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also
to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is a New York
regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). 

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Congratulations to Hon. Lillian Wan, first Asian American woman in the New York State Court of Claims, confirmed by the New York State Senate on the evening of June 20, 2018. AABANY congratulates Judge Wan on this historic appointment. Please join us in wishing her every success in this next phase of Judge Wan’s judicial career.

Congratulations also to all the appointees confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 20:

  • JOEL M. COHEN 
  • JOHN R. HIGGITT 
  • FRANCIS A. KAHN III 
  • Hon. CHRIS ANN KELLEY 
  • DAVID L. LEWIS 
  • JAMES A. McCARTY, Jr. 
  • MICHELE SHARON RODNEY

NAPABA Celebrates Confirmation of James Ho to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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For Immediate Release

Dec. 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Today, the United States Senate voted to confirm James C. Ho as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Ho is the first Asian Pacific American to serve on the Fifth Circuit and the sixth active Asian Pacific American federal appellate judge.

“James Ho is nationally recognized for his legal acumen and we congratulate him on his historic confirmation,” said Pankit J. Doshi, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Widely respected throughout NAPABA for his leadership and mentorship, we congratulate him on his confirmation. It is fitting that he continues to break barriers on behalf of the community as the first Asian Pacific American to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.”

Ho is the co-chair of the Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group at the law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. He has presented over 45 oral arguments in federal and state courts nationwide, including 16 arguments before the Fifth Circuit. He has argued and won cases before both the U.S. Supreme Court and the entire Fifth Circuit en banc.

Throughout Ho’s career, he has had extensive experience in all three branches of government: as former chief counsel for Senator John Cornyn, as an appointee at the U.S. Department of Justice, and as a law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Most recently, he was the first Asian Pacific American ever appointed to serve as the solicitor general of Texas, the state’s chief appellate and Supreme Court litigator.

Ho is an active member of the Asian Pacific American community. He is co-chair of the NAPABA Judiciary & Executive Nominations & Appointments Committee, and he has written and spoken on numerous occasions about the role of Asian Pacific Americans in the law.

Ho has been recognized for his leadership and honored by organizations throughout the Asian Pacific American community, both nationally and in Texas, including the President’s Award from NAPABA, the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Asian Pacific American Leadership from the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, the Justice David Wellington Chew Award from the Asian Pacific Interest Section of the State Bar of Texas, the Community Leader Award from the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, the Award for Outstanding Contributions in Law from the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the SMU Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.

NAPABA is proud to have supported James Ho during his nomination process. We thank President Trump for nominating him and Senators Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas for recommending him to the White House.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, 202-775-9555, bschuster@napaba.org.

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 almost 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services 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 the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit
www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter(@NAPABA).

NAPABA Celebrates Confirmation of BJay Pak to be the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Byung J. “BJay” Pak to be the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Pak is the first Asian Pacific American to hold this position.

“We congratulate BJay Pak on his confirmation to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia,” said Cyndie M. Chang, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “A respected community leader and attorney, Mr. Pak’s confirmation is an inspiration for young Asian Pacific American attorneys across the country.”

A longtime member of the Asian Pacific American legal community, Pak has served on the board of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, a NAPABA affiliate, and was a former chair of the NAPABA Government Enforcement and Compliance Committee. He has also spoken on legal education courses sponsored by NAPABA and is a recipient of the NAPABA Best Under 40 Award.

An experienced litigator and former prosecutor, Pak is currently a partner at Chambers Pak Burch & Adams LLC, where he focuses on complex litigation. Previously, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Georgia for six years, a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP and Schiff Harding LLP, and an associate at Alston & Bird LLP. Mr. Pak also served in the Georgia House or Representatives.

Pak clerked for Judge Richard Mills of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. He received his B.B.A. from Stetson University in 1995 and his J.D., summa cum laude, from University of Illinois College of Law in 1998.

NAPABA is proud to have supported Pak during his nomination and thanks President Trump for nominating him to the position.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

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 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services 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 the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

NAPABA CELEBRATES CONFIRMATION OF NORMAN C. BAY TO THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        
July 15, 2014
Contact: Azizah Ahmad
(202) 775-9555
                                                              

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Norman C. Bay to be Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by a vote of 52-45. He is the first Asian Pacific American to lead this powerful regulatory agency. Commissioner Bay is only the third Asian Pacific American to serve as head of a government department or agency during President Obama’s second term.

“Norman C. Bay is a dedicated public servant with the stellar credentials and professional background to be an outstanding leader of FERC. We are proud of Commissioner Bay, who is a longtime NAPABA member. We applaud him on his much deserved confirmation,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “NAPABA thanks President Obama for nominating Commissioner Bay to lead FERC, and appointing well-qualified, diverse candidates to the bench and to positions in his Administration. More qualified people of color like Commissioner Bay need to be given the opportunity to lead.”

Prior to his confirmation, Commissioner Bay served as Director of the Office of Enforcement at FERC, where he received the FERC Chairman’s Medal in 2013. Before joining FERC, he was a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico from 2002 to 2009. His career in academia was preceded by time in public service — Mr. Bay served as the U.S. Attorney for the district of New Mexico, and spent many years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and also as an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of State. Commissioner Bay graduated from Dartmouth College summa cum laude and Harvard Law School cum laude. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Otto R. Skopil, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Portland, Oregon.

NAPABA thanks Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii for their strong support of Norman C. Bay’s nomination.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA Celebrates Historic Milestone with Chuang Confirmation to the Federal District Court for Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee
(202) 775-9555

NAPABA CELEBRATES HISTORIC MILESTONE WITH CHUANG CONFIRMATION TO THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT FOR MARYLAND

WASHINGTON — Today, with the confirmation of Theodore Chuang to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the Obama Administration has tripled the number of Asian Pacific American judges on the federal bench, going from 8 judges to 24 active Article III APA judges since 2008. Judge Chuang is the first Asian Pacific American judge to serve on the federal judiciary in Maryland or in any of the states in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

“Theodore Chuang’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland is a historic occasion on many fronts,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Judge Chuang has a long history of public service and will be the first Asian Pacific American federal judge to ever sit on the bench in Maryland, breaking yet another barrier in the legal profession. He has long been an active member of NAPABA and the Asian Pacific American community, and we are proud to have supported his nomination. We applaud Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland for putting Judge Chuang’s name forward.”

“Judge Chuang’s confirmation today also sets a new high for the number of Asian Pacific Americans to serve on the federal bench, and is a fantastic way to begin Asian Pacific American Heritage Month,” added Simonitsch. “President Obama and his administration have demonstrated unwavering support and dedication to the appointment of well-qualified, diverse nominees to the bench, making genuine progress in building a judiciary that looks like our great nation. We also thank all of the U.S. Senators who have supported diverse candidates like Judge Chuang to the bench, and look forward to working with the Senate to do even better in years to come.”

Before his service on the bench, Judge Chuang served as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he worked since 2009. He was previously the Chief Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in 2009 and Deputy Chief Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, Chuang served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Massachusetts and as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Chuang has held leadership positions with the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, the District of Columbia Bar, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington D.C. Area.

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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 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include 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 the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.