AABANY Co-Hosts Webinar on Becoming a Magistrate Judge

On May 20, 2020, the Judiciary Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Public Interest Committee of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) co-hosted a panel on how to become a Magistrate Judge. Recently, the Eastern District of New York announced vacancies for four US Magistrate Judge positions, the first time so many opportunities have been simultaneously available since the positions were created. The webinar provided important information and advice for individuals who might be considering a career as a Magistrate Judge.

The event featured panelists Hon. Sanket Bulsara, Hon. Peggy Kuo, and Linda Lin. Judge Bulsara was appointed as a Magistrate Judge of EDNY on August 28, 2017, and previously served as Acting General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Judge Kuo was appointed on October 9, 2015, and prior to her appointment, she served as the Acting Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division Criminal Section at the U.S. Department of Justice; litigation counsel at Wilmer Hale, LLP; Chief Hearing Officer at the New York Stock Exchange; and Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Linda Lin is the General Counsel of Business Unit Support at QBE North America and a member of the EDNY Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel. Austin D’Souza, Principal Law Clerk to Hon. Faviola A. Soto at the New York Court of Claims and Vice President of Public Relations at SABANY, served as the moderator.

Judge Bulsara and Judge Kuo discussed their responsibilities as Magistrate Judges. They emphasized that though their docket is heavily civil, varying between 400-500 cases per judge, they also play an important role on the criminal side. Magistrate Judges are on criminal duty approximately once every ten weeks, during which they preside over arraignments, initial appearances, and bail hearings. They also conduct jury selection in felony cases. Judge Bulsara noted that his favorite part of being a Magistrate Judge is presiding over naturalization ceremonies and interacting with wonderful colleagues.

Linda Lin described the application process and how potential candidates are evaluated. Members of the Selection Panel independently review the applications and decide on which candidates to interview. Prior to the interview, the panel conducts due diligence and may reach out to references beyond those mentioned in the candidate’s application. The Selection Panel also requests writing samples, preferably those that demonstrate analysis and are centered around advocacy and litigation. Finally, five names are presented to the Board of Judges, who decide whom to appoint as a Magistrate Judge. While reviewing applications, members of the Selection Panel look for the following qualities: scholarship, from academic records to achievements; active practice of the law, including breadth and depth of experience, professional competence, and pro bono and public service activities; knowledge of the court system and recent experience in front of the federal bench; and personal attributes, or judicial temperament.

Judge Kuo advised individuals applying to become a Magistrate Judge to prepare for their interviews by going back and reading their application and writing samples, looking up the biographies of members of the Selection Panel, and reviewing the Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Bulsara urged candidates to take advantage of the mock interviews offered by AABANY and sit in on proceedings in court.

We thank our panelists for speaking on the program and sharing insightful advice about the process of becoming a United States Magistrate Judge. Thanks also to Austin D’Souza for serving as an excellent moderator. For more information on AABANY’s Judiciary Committee, please see https://www.aabany.org/page/115.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: A Reenactment of Ozawa & Thind

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, AABANY and SABANY co-sponsored a trial reenactment of two Supreme Court cases, Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922), and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) at the Ceremonial Courtroom in 225 Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. These cases revolved around the fight of two Asian Americans to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Takao Ozawa, was born in Japan but moved to the United States at a young age in 1914. He attended the University of California, became a businessman, converted to Christianity, got married and had children in the United States. He sought to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, but his application was denied. His fight for citizenship went all the way to the Supreme Court, where he argued that people of Japanese descent should be classified as “free white persons” under the Naturalization Act of 1906. However, Justice Sutherland, writing for a unanimous Court, held that a person of Japanese descent could not be classified as “white.” In reaching that decision, the court relied on scientific evidence and found that the term “white persons” in the Naturalization Act of 1906 only includes persons of the “Caucasian race.”

Bhagat Singh was born in India and received his bachelor’s degree there before moving to the United States, seeking higher education in 1913. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of California and went on to give lectures in metaphysics. He also joined the U.S. Army during World War I and became the first turbaned Sikh man to serve alongside American soldiers. After the war ended, he was honorably discharged and applied for citizenship. His petition for citizenship was granted initially in Oregon, but government attorneys initiated proceedings to have it canceled on the grounds that he was not “white.” His case went to the Supreme Court, where he presented scientific evidence asserting that South Asians, such as himself, were actually of Aryan descent and therefore of the Caucasian race and thus he should be granted citizenship.

However, the Supreme Court held that even though it “may be true that the blond Scandinavian and the brown Hindu have a common ancestor in the dim reaches of antiquity … the average man knows perfectly well that there are unmistakable and profound differences between them today.” The court backtracked on the rationale it used in Ozawa, where it relied on scientific evidence to find that Takao Ozawa could not be classified as Caucasian, and therefore was ineligible for citizenship.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s rulings in Ozawa and Thind, many Asians were stripped of their citizenship retroactively, leading a man named Vaishno Das Bagai to take his own life. He left a note that read: “But now they come and say to me I am no longer an American citizen. What have I made of myself and my children? We cannot exercise our rights, we cannot leave this country. Humility and insults… blockades this way, and bridges burned behind.”

These two Supreme Court decisions are a stain on our great nation’s history. They set the precedent that being an American was not enough, that to be a real American you had to be “white” based on society’s perception of what qualifies as “white” during a given period of time in history.

The reenactment serves as a reminder of the struggles that Asian Americans had to endure in the past, and it highlights why we must continue to strive to create change for the future generations of Asian Americans.

We thank Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin for leading the reenactment program and thank our judicial all-star cast which included: EDNY Chief Judge Hon. Dora Irizarry, Hon. Kiyo Matsumoto, Hon. Pamela Chen, Hon. Peggy Kuo, Hon. Sanket Bulsara, and Hon. Faviola Soto.

Thanks to SABANY for performing this re-enactment. AABANY was proud to be a co-sponsor, presenting 1.5 CLE credits in the Diversity & Inclusion category.

EDNY Accepting Applications for Mediator Incubator Program

The EDNY ADR Department is currently accepting applications for a new pilot program entitled the EDNY Mediator Incubator.

The Mediator Incubator is designed as a means to recruit and train junior attorneys (less than 10 years of experience) to serve as mediators on the EDNY Mediation Panel. Incubator candidates will participate in an initial orientation and training session, and then be permitted to observe three EDNY cases and co-mediate three EDNY cases under the supervision and guidance of experienced EDNY mediators. Upon completion of their observations and co-mediations, incubator participants will be eligible to apply for membership to the EDNY Mediation Panel. Additional information about the Mediator Incubator is available here: https://www.nyed.uscourts.gov/mediator-incubator

As this is a pilot program, the initial class will be very small (most likely 4 candidates). Below is the link to the application which is due on April 1, 2019:

Mediator Incubator Application:

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York serves a wide variety of litigants, including persons of varying age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, religion, socioeconomic and family status. The Court’s ADR Department recognizes that mediators and arbitrators with a wide variety of cultural and life experiences enrich the program by bringing diverse perspectives to resolving disputes. To that end, applicants of all diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply.


Brooklyn Junior Lawyer Initiative – Workshop Registration Form [ November 27, 2018 6:00 – 7:30 PM ] Survey

Brooklyn Junior Lawyer Initiative – Workshop Registration Form [ November 27, 2018 6:00 – 7:30 PM ] Survey

New CJA Mentoring Program in the EDNY

New CJA Mentoring Program in the EDNY

PRESS RELEASE | NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Diane Gujarati to U.S. District Court – E.D.N.Y.

For Immediate Release
Sept. 13, 2016

For More Information, Contact:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — Today, President Obama nominated Diane Gujarati to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed, Gujarati will be the first Indian American to serve as an Article III federal judge in New York. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds her nomination and encourages the Senate to swiftly confirm her to the bench.

“Diane Gujarati has a long and distinguished record of service in the U.S. attorney’s office that prepares her to be an asset to the District Court for the Eastern District of New York,” said Jin Y. Hwang, president of NAPABA. “I urge the Senate to quickly confirm Ms. Gujarati to the district court.”

Ms. Gujarati is currently the deputy chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York. An experienced litigator, she has been an assistant U.S. attorney for 17 years, and worked on a range of criminal prosecutions and appellate matters, including: economic, violent, narcotics, trafficking, and exploitation crimes.

Ms. Gujarati is an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law and was previously a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. She clerked for the Honorable John M. Walker, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and Yale Law School.

NAPABA commends President Obama for nominating Ms. Gujarati to the bench. NAPABA thanks Senators Gillibrand and Schumer for recommending Ms. Gujarati to the White House.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 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 almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 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.

Woman forced into teen prostitution weds in ceremony led by judge who prosecuted her traffickers: ‘I believed I would never be able to love a man again’

Woman forced into teen prostitution weds in ceremony led by judge who prosecuted her traffickers: ‘I believed I would never be able to love a man again’

Federal Magistrate Judge Vacancy – Eastern District of New York

Shared By: Linda Lin, Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee


There is one (1) full-time United States Magistrate Judge position vacancy at the Brooklyn
Courthouse of the Eastern District of New York located at 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY
11201 effective October 1, 2015. 

The duties of the position are demanding and wide-ranging, and will

  1. conduct of preliminary proceedings in criminal cases; 
  2. trial and disposition of
    misdemeanor cases; 
  3. conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation
    from the judges of the district court; 
  4. trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants;
  5. assignment of additional duties not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United

The basic jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge is specified in 28 U.S.C., section 636. 

To be qualified for appointment, an applicant must: 

  1. be a member in good standing of the bar of the
    highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin
    Islands for at least five years;
  2. have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least
    five years (with some substitutions authorized); 
  3. be competent to perform all the duties of the office,
    of good moral character, emotionally stable and mature, committed to equal justice under the law, in
    good health, patient and courteous, and capable of deliberation and decisiveness; 
  4. be less than 70
    years old; and 
  5. not be related to a judge of the district court. An applicant should have federal court
    experience and be knowledgeable in federal civil and criminal practices and procedures.

A Merit Selection Panel composed of attorneys and other residents of the district will review all
applications and recommend in confidence to the judges of the district court the five persons whom it
considers best qualified. The Court will make the appointment following an FBI and IRS investigation
of the appointees. An affirmative effort will be made to give due consideration to all qualified
candidates, including women and members of minority groups. The salary of each position is now
$185,012 per annum. The term of office is eight years.

Please note that the application form can be accessed on-line at the district’s website:
www.nyed.uscourts.gov. Application forms also may be obtained from the Clerk of Court at 225
Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York 11201, (718) 613-2270. Applications must be personally
prepared by potential nominees and must be received no later than SEPTEMBER 11, 2015. An email
with a copy in Word or PDF sent to NYED-APPLICATIONS@nyed.uscourts.gov and eight (8) paper
copies of the completed application must be mailed or delivered to the office of the Clerk of Court at the
above address.