NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Roopali H. Desai to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2022
Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Roopali H. Desai to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. If confirmed, Desai would be the first South Asian American appellate judge on the Ninth Circuit.

“NAPABA congratulates Roopali H. Desai on her historic nomination to the Ninth Circuit,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Ms. Desai is a highly respected attorney, with nearly two decades of experience and a strong commitment to public interest. Her broad range of legal experience, representing both plaintiffs and defendants—including state agencies and municipalities, unions, corporations, elected officials, non-profit and public interest organizations, membership/professional organizations, individuals, and hospital and health care institutions, will be a welcome addition on the appellate court.”

Desai is a partner in the litigation group at Coopersmith Brockelman, PLC in Phoenix, AZ. She also serves as a professor of practice at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Earlier in her career, Desai clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder. She is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate the Arizona Asian American Bar Association. Desai received her Juris Doctor, Master of Public Health, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Roopali H. 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 Nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court

Released: February 25, 2022

ContactMary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON –Today, President Biden announced the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Jackson clerked for Justice Breyer and currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA, released the following statement:

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Jackson on her historic nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a brilliant legal scholar and is well qualified to serve on the Court.

“President Biden’s promise to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court underscores his commitment to diversifying our judiciary. Notably, women and persons of color, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, continue to be underrepresented on our courts.

“If confirmed, Judge Jackson will be the sixth woman and third black Justice in our nation’s history to have served on the Court.

“We thank President Biden for nominating Judge Jackson and we urge the Senate to confirm her swiftly.

“NAPABA thanks Justice Stephen Breyer for his service on the Court and his mentorship of many NAPABA members who will continue his legacy in the legal profession and on the courts.”

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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 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 Applauds Nomination of Lucy H. Koh to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

On September 8, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Lucy H. Koh of California to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

If confirmed, Judge Koh would be the first female Korean American federal circuit court judge in the nation’s history.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Lucy H. Koh on her historic nomination to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “Judge Koh is a proven entity with over a decade of state and federal judicial service, with strong bona fides in technology, intellectual property, business litigation, and criminal law.”

In 2010, Judge Koh was unanimously confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by a 90-0 vote after her nomination received wide bipartisan support. Prior to her tenure on the federal bench, Judge Koh served on the Superior Court of California for Santa Clara County, having been appointed in 2008 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Judge Koh has held various positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, notably as a special assistant to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General, as Special Counsel in the Office of Legislative Affairs, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Judge Koh has been a partner at the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery in Silicon Valley and before that, worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. 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.

AABANY at the Movies: Membership Committee Hosts Viewing of “Shang-Chi” at AMC Times Square in a Private Theater on Opening Weekend

On Friday, September 3, 2021, the Membership Committee hosted a private screening of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” for AABANY members and friends at AMC Times Square. Nearly 90 attendees came out to see the premiere of the latest Marvel movie, which featured the first Asian lead character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Actor Simu Liu starred in the leading role as the superhero Shang-Chi alongside Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh and others. The Membership Committee is thrilled to have been part of a historic weekend in which “Shang-Chi” debuted to record-breaking box office numbers for Labor Day Weekend with the movie grossing an estimated $83.5 million domestic total in its four-day opening. Make sure to go out and watch the movie if you haven’t done so already. Highly recommended!

NAPABA Co-Sponsors Resolution on Hate Crimes Adopted by the American Bar Association in Historic First

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the American Bar Association’s (ABA) adoption of Resolution 514, which calls for Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions that have not already done so to enact bias-motivated crime legislation to encompass arson, trespass, mischief, harassment, intimidation, and other criminal conduct as predicate acts of hate crimes. This is the first ABA resolution that NAPABA has co-sponsored in its history, and it comes at a critical juncture in the history of our country as the nation confronts the twin scourges of both the pandemic and a precipitous rise in anti-Asian American hate crimes and incidents. “The number of reported hate crimes and incidents represents only the tip of the iceberg,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III and NAPABA Past President Wendy Shiba, who serves as NAPABA’s delegate before the ABA’s House of Delegates, in a joint statement. “Racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes have been on the rise not only against Asian Americans, but against other groups of color and religion as well.  This resolution recognizes that we are not alone in our suffering, and that a consistent, nationwide approach to battling bias-motivated crimes and improving the reporting and collection of data about such acts is required.”
             
The Resolution also urges all jurisdictions to enact civil remedies for victims to recover damages for bias-motivated crimes and urges all jurisdictions to require data collection on bias-motivated crimes and to adequately fund law enforcement best practices, policies, training on data collection, and victim services in response to such crimes. NAPABA extends its gratitude to the ABA’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and to all the co-sponsors who have championed adoption of this resolution.
 
In addition to co-sponsorship of Resolution 514, this session NAPABA also co-sponsored Resolution 102, which urges members of the legal profession to devote at least 20 hours each year to efforts to advance and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession; and Resolution 801, urging support for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which was launched after the discovery in the United States and Canada of unmarked mass gravesites at boarding schools designed to forcibly assimilate indigenous children. The Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative is designed to investigate, locate, and record such burial sites as well as to study the historical legacy of such schools. NAPABA is grateful to the other co-sponsors and leaders of these important efforts before the ABA House of Delegates, including by NAPABA Past President Jin Y. Hwang, who as NAPABA’s representative to the ABA’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and Chair of the Council’s Policy Innovation and Resolution Incubator Subcommittee, co-authored and co-shepherded Resolution 102.

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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.

AABANY Congratulates Member Rose Cuison-Villazor on Her Appointment as the First Filipina-American Dean of an American Law School

AABANY has learned that Dean Rose Cuison-Villazor will be serving as interim co-dean of Rutgers Law School, becoming the first Asian-American female dean at Rutgers Law and the first Filipina-American dean of an American law school. Since July 2019, she has served as the vice dean of Rutgers Law School (https://patch.com/new-jersey/newarknj/rutgers-law-school-dean-trailblazes-asian-american-women).

AABANY is proud to recognize Dean Cuison-Villazor among its membership and congratulates her on this historic appointment, just one among many of her trailblazing accomplishments. An expert in immigration and citizenship law, she is a founding director of the Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice at Rutgers Law School. According to Rutgers Law’s own announcement:

Cuison-Villazor teaches, researches and writes in the areas of immigration and citizenship law, property law, Asian Americans and the law, equal protection law and critical race theory. She teaches Property Law, Immigration Law, Critical Race Theory, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and the Law, Estates in Land, and Introduction to U.S. Law and recently testified before a Congressional committee on land rights. She earned her LLM from Columbia Law School, JD from American University and BA from the University of Texas.

Dean Cuison-Villazor’s scholarship regarding immigration and citizenship law has been notable, highlighting previously neglected legal history concerning property and race. Dean Cuison-Villazor’s 2010 law review article “Rediscovering Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race, and Citizenship” inspired AABANY’s own Oyama v. California trial reenactment. Oyama v. California overturned the California Alien Land Laws which prohibited “aliens ineligible for citizenship,” i.e., Asian Americans, from owning property. The case established legal precedent for future civil rights cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. Read more about the trial reenactment here.

AABANY’s Academic Committee Co-Chairs Catherine Kim, Donna Lee, Elaine Chiu, and Thomas Lee extend a special congratulations to Dean Cuison-Villazor, stating:

AABANY congratulates and is extremely proud of Dean Cuison-Villazor’s appointment as interim co-dean of Rutgers Law School. She is an immigration, citizenship, and race & the law scholar with a national reputation, a gifted teacher, and a superb leader. Rutgers Law is fortunate to have Rose lead its Newark campus at this critical time, as is AABANY to claim her as a cherished colleague.

Please join AABANY in recognizing Dean Cuison-Villazor for her accomplishment. To learn more about the Academic Committee, visit https://www.aabany.org/page/352.

NAPABA Congratulates Regina M. Rodriguez and Zahid N. Quraishi on their Historic Confirmations by the U.S. Senate as United States District Court Judges

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Regina M. Rodriguez and Zahid N. Quraishi on their historic confirmations by the U.S. Senate as United States District Court Judges.

Rodriguez will become the first Asian Pacific American (APA) judge to sit on the District Court for the District of Colorado, and the first to serve as an Article III judge within the 10th Circuit.  Quraishi, already a federal magistrate judge, will become the first APA to serve as a district court judge in New Jersey and the first Muslim American Article III judge in the country.

“Regina Rodriguez and Zahid Quraishi represent the promise of justice, equity, and opportunity that is so critical for the success of our federal judiciary,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “NAPABA applauds the Senate for the strong bipartisan confirmation of these two highly qualified and experienced nominees.” 

Regina M. Rodriguez has a distinguished reputation as one of Colorado’s most accomplished attorneys with deep experience in both the public and private sectors and a demonstrated commitment to serving the public interest. Rodriguez served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, rising to become Deputy Chief and later Chief of the Civil Division, where she oversaw all civil litigation for the District.  She was the youngest person and the first of Japanese and Mexican descent to hold that role. She received her J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law and her B.S. with honors from the University of Iowa. Rodriguez is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado. 

Judge Quraishi has a distinguished legal career with extensive experience as a prosecutor, in the private sector, and serving his country in uniform. In 2019, Judge Quraishi was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey. His previous government service includes over five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and as a decorated military prosecutor with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Judge Quraishi is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He received a J.D. from Rutgers Law School in Newark. Quraishi is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate, the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. 

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Rodriguez, Quraishi, and other highly qualified judicial candidates to the federal bench.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in 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.