NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge John Z. Lee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


WASHINGTON – 
Today, [Sept. 7], the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge John Z. Lee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Lee is the first Asian American appellate judge to serve on the Seventh Circuit. 

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Lee on his historic confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,” said A. B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Judge Lee is an experienced jurist with a decade of experience as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Moreover, Judge Lee’s story, the son of a coal miner and a nurse who immigrated to the United States when he was only five years old, resonates with many in our community.”

Judge Lee is an active member in the AAPI legal community, serving as a former Board Member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area (AABA Chicago) and continues to be active with both AABA Chicago and NAPABA. He was the President of the Board of Directors for the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), a co-founder of the Willow Creek Legal Aid Clinic in Hoffman Estates (a joint program between CARPLS and Willow Creek Church), and the President of the Board of Directors of Asian Human Services. 

In addition to his service as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois since 2012, Judge Lee worked in private practice and as a trial attorney in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Lee and Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth for recommending and supporting his nomination..
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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Roopali H. Desai to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 5, 2022

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Roopali H. Desai to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Confirmed in record time, Judge Desai is the first South Asian American judge to serve on the Ninth Circuit.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Desai on her confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” said A. B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA.” Judge Desai is a trusted legal expert with a broad coalition of bipartisan support. Her experience, legal acumen and background brings much needed representation and legal diversity to the Ninth Circuit.”

Previously Judge Desai served as partner at Coppersmith Brockelman. She served as a law clerk for The Honorable Mary Schroeder, Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is a graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the University of Arizona.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Desai and Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for recommending and supporting her nomination.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Nina Y. Wang to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado

For Immediate Release: July 19, 2022
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Nina Y. Wang to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Nina Y. Wang on her confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado,” said A.B. Cruz III, Acting President of NAPABA. “Judge Wang’s childhood experience of navigating the immigration system for two years to correct an administrative error gave her an understanding on the importance on how courts affect the lives of individuals. We are proud to see her represent our community and bring not just her vast knowledge as a magistrate judge and as a federal litigator, but her personal experience that makes her an inspiration for our community.”

Judge Nina Y. Wang is a U.S. magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Previously, she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Colorado and was a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. Judge Wang clerked for the Honorable Peter J. Messitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and is a graduate of Washington University and Harvard Law School. Active in the APA community, Judge Wang is a recipient of NAPABA’s Best Under 40 Award and served as president of NAPABA’s Colorado affiliate APABA Colorado.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Nina Y. Wang and Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper for recommending and supporting her nomination.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Celebrates the Confirmation of Judge John H. Chun

For Immediate Release: 
Date: March 24, 2022 

ContactMary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON –Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge John H. Chun to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Chun on his confirmation to become only the second Asian American Article III district court judge in the state of Washington,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Judge Chun is a well-respected jurist who has deep ties to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, including as a past president of the Korean American Bar Association of Washington and as a member of NAPABA and the Asian Bar Association of Washington.”

“We thank Senators Murray and Cantwell for recommending Judge Chun and the Biden-Harris Administration for upholding their promise to diversify the judiciary.”

AAPIs represent nearly 10% of the population and constitute the largest community of color in the state of Washington.

Judge Chun served as a judge on the Washington State Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington and as a judge on the King County Superior Court. He has been recognized as a top Washington “Super Lawyer.” He was a clerk for the Honorable Eugene A. Wright on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is a graduate of Columbia University and Cornell Law School.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Celebrates the Confirmation of Lucy H. Koh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

WASHINGTON- On Dec. 13, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Lucy H. Koh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Koh is the first Korean American female federal appellate judge in the nation’s history.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Koh on her historic confirmation to the Ninth Circuit to become the first Korean American female federal appellate judge in the United States,” said Sid Kanazawa, president of NAPABA. “Judge Koh is a devoted public servant, a trailblazer, a mentor to young lawyers, and a dear friend. She has and continues to make us so proud.

“Thank you, Senators Feinstein and Padilla for recommending Judge Koh. Thank you, President Biden for nominating her. And thank you Leader Schumer for announcing, during our annual NAPABA Convention, that Judge Koh would receive a floor vote.”

In 2010, Judge Koh made history, becoming the first Korean American federal district court judge when she was unanimously confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Prior to the federal bench, Judge Koh has served on the Superior Court of California, in the U.S. Department of Justice, as special counsel in the Office of Legislative Affairs, and as an assistant U.S. attorney. Her nomination had strong bi-partisan support, including from former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Judge Koh is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Celebrates the Confirmation of Judge Jinsook Ohta to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and Judge Shalina D. Kumar to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

WASHINGTON – Sid Kanazawa, president of NAPABA, issued the following statement in response to the confirmations of Judge Jinsook Ohta to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and Judge Shalina D. Kumar to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan:

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Ohta on her confirmation to become the first Asian American woman to serve as an Article III judge in the Southern District of California. She has a career in public service, serving as a judge on the California Superior Court and as a Supervising Deputy Attorney General in California. Judge Ohta has strong ties to the AAPI community as an active member of NAPABA and the Korean American Bar Association of San Diego. We thank Senators Feinstein and Padilla for recommending Judge Ohta.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Kumar on her historic confirmation to the Eastern District of Michigan. She is the first Asian American to serve as an Article III judge on the federal courts in Michigan. Judge Kumar has extensive experience on the bench, serving as Chief Judge of the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court in Michigan covering both civil and criminal matters. We thank Senators Stabenow and Peters for recommending Judge Kumar.

“December 2021 has been a historic month with a record four AAPI women judges confirmed by the Senate. We applaud Leader Schumer for his leadership and the Senate for swiftly confirming these nominees, and we thank President Biden for his commitment to diversifying the judiciary.”

Judge Ohta served as a Superior Court Judge for the Superior Court in San Diego County. Previously, she worked in the Consumer Protection Section of the California Attorney General’s Office as Supervising Deputy Attorney General. Judge Ohta clerked for the Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and is a graduate of Yale University and New York University School of Law.

Judge Kumar has been on the bench since 2007, and over the years, has served as a presiding judge of the Adult Treatment Court, the Chairperson of the Oakland County Criminal Assignment Committee, the bench liaison to the Oakland County Bar Association Circuit Court Committee, a member of the Michigan State Bar Professionalism Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Judges’ Association. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Celebrates the Confirmation of Jennifer Sung to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jennifer Sung to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Sung is the first AAPI to serve on the Ninth Circuit in Oregon—a state where Asians are the fastest-growing group and now make up six percent of the state’s population.

“NAPABA congratulates Jennifer Sung on her historic confirmation to the Ninth Circuit to become the first AAPI to serve in Oregon,” said Sid Kanazawa, president of NAPABA. “Judge Sung has a long career serving as an advocate for AAPIs and workers across the nation. We are thankful to Leader Schumer for bringing her nomination for a floor vote, Senators Wyden and Merkley for recommending Judge Sung, and President Biden for nominating her.

“Today there are twelve AAPI federal appellate court judges out of 179 and there has never been a AAPI on the U.S. Supreme Court. The confirmation of Judge Sung highlights an important and urgent need for greater representation of our community on the courts.”

Judge Sung is a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board and was previously an executive board member of the New York chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. She was a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP in Portland. Judge Sung is a graduate of Oberlin College and Yale Law School.

Judge Sung’s confirmation follows the confirmation of Judge Lucy H. Koh to the Ninth Circuit on Monday.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Celebrates the Historic Confirmation of Tana Lin to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

On Oct. 21, the U.S. Senate confirmed Tana Lin to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. 

“NAPABA congratulates Tana Lin on her historic confirmation to become the first Asian American Article III district court judge in the state of Washington,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “She is a devout public servant who has an exemplary legal career as a civil rights attorney and former public defender who’s enforced civil rights statutes, federal anti-discrimination laws, and a variety of other complex litigation matters.

“In addition to her impeccable qualifications, Judge Lin has a life experience that many in our community can relate to. She immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when she was three years old, worked her way through school, and is a leader in the community. Judge Lin has also served as a past board member of the Asian Bar Association of Washington, where she continues to be an active member.”

AAPIs represent nearly 10% of the population and constitute the largest community of color in the state of Washington. President Biden has nominated two AAPIs to the Federal courts in Washington State.

With 30 years of legal experience, Judge Lin has been named as a Super Lawyer for Washington for her practice at Keller Rohrback LLP. She has worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Michigan Poverty Law Program. Judge Lin is a graduate of the New York University School of Law and Cornell University. 

NAPABA commends President Biden for nominating Judge Lin to the bench and thanks Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for their support of her nomination. Judge Lin’s confirmation increases the number of active AAPI Article III judges to 40 nationwide: 10 federal appellate court judges and 30 federal district court judges.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

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.