Press Release: NAPABA Applauds Restraining Order Against President’s Revised Muslim and Refugee Ban

For Immediate Release
March 15, 2017

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

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii’s nationwide order to halt President Trump’s March 6, 2017, revised executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States, which would have gone into effect on March 16.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson granted the State of Hawaii’s motion for a temporary restraining order hours after the hearing, which was held earlier today. He concluded that Hawaii had met its burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of its Establishment Clause claim, that irreparable injury would likely occur if the executive order was not halted, and that the “balance of the equities and public interest” warranted the relief.

On March 12, NAPABA filed an amicus brief in support of Hawaii, describing the history of the statutory exclusion of Asians and Pacific Islanders under early U.S. immigration law — including the first federal law to ban a group of people from entering the country on the basis of race — prior to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which outlawed nationality-based discrimination. NAPABA argued that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates this unambiguous prohibition on discrimination established by Congress.

The court agreed with Hawaii’s assertion that religious animus motivated the revised order. Noting the Muslim-majority populations of the countries at issue, Judge Watson wrote, “It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam.”

NAPABA will continue to work to ensure the executive order is permanently struck down by the courts.

Read Judge Watson’s order here (PDF).

Read NAPABA’s amicus brief here.

Read the statement of NAPABA and the South Asian Bar Association – North America, joined by 14 affiliates, against the revised executive order.

Read the March 6, 2017, statement of NAPABA and the South Asian Bar Association – North America, joined by 14 affiliates, against the revised executive order.

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 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.

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

NAPABA Western Regional Conference 2015: April 16-18, Honolulu, HI

The ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division (GPSolo) and NAPABA Hawaii are proud to be jointly hosting the 2015 GPSolo Spring Meeting and NAPABA Western Regional Conference on April 16 to 18, 2015 at the Westin Moana Surfrider in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Travel Discount

NAPABA has partnered with Hawaiian Airlines to provide attendees with a 5% discount on web fares. To receive your web fare discount, click here and use the code “NAPABA”. The booking period is now through April 15, 2015, for travel from April 1-30, 2015.

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.

DERRICK KAHALA WATSON CONFIRMED TO HAWAII DISTRICT COURT

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
April 18, 2013

NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555 
AAJC Contact: Kimberly Goulart (202) 499-7027

DERRICK KAHALA WATSON CONFIRMED TO HAWAII DISTRICT COURT 
Watson becomes only person of Native Hawaiian descent to serve on federal bench

WASHINGTON – Today, leaders of the Asian Pacific American community applaud the confirmation of Derrick Kahala Watson to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. With a Senate vote of 94-0, he becomes the only person of native Hawaiian descent to currently serve as an Article III judge, and only the fourth in American history.

“Derrick Kahala Watson’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii is an important step forward for our nation,” said Wendy C. Shiba, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “With Judge Watson’s well-deserved confirmation, the federal bench will be further diversified. Of note, the District of Hawaii will become the first federal court in U.S. history with a majority of Asian Pacific Americans, as Judge Watson joins Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway and Judge Leslie Kobayashi on the bench.”

“Judge Watson’s confirmation brings with it much needed diversity to the federal bench,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. “He brings with him not only a history of government service to the bench, but also a personal story that inspires all members of our community.”

Until his confirmation, Watson served as chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii. He has deep roots in Hawaii, growing up in a multi-generational household on Oahu that included his mother, who worked at a local bank until her retirement several years ago, and his father, who retired from the Honolulu Police Department. Judge Watson attended the Kamehameha Schools, Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and is the first person in his family to attend college.

NAPABA and AAJC applaud President Obama for nominating Judge Watson to the bench and thank the late Senator Inouye, former Senator Akaka, and Senators Schatz and Hirono for their recommendation and support of Judge Watson’s nomination.

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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 63 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.

The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (www.advancingjustice.org) works to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities, and is comprised of the Asian American Justice Center (www.advancingequality.org), the Asian American Institute (www.aaichicago.org), the Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcaucus.org) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org).