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.

NAPABA Applauds the Historic Nominations of Judge Zahid N. Quraishi, Judge Florence Y. Pan, and Regina M. Rodriguez to the U.S. District Court

For Immediate Release: Date: March 30, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Zahid N. Quraishi to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Judge Florence Y. Pan to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and Regina Rodriguez to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

If confirmed, Judge Quraishi will be the first AAPI to serve as a federal district court judge in New Jersey and the first American Muslim to serve as an Article III judge in the United States; Judge Pan will be the first AAPI woman to serve as a federal district court judge in the District of Columbia; and Rodriguez would be the first AAPI to serve as an Article III judge in the 10th Circuit.

“NAPABA offers its congratulations to Judge Quraishi, Judge Pan, and Gina Rodriguez on their historic nominations,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “We applaud President Biden for nominating these well-qualified candidates and taking action to nominate a representative judiciary. These nominations are particularly meaningful to our community, especially in the wake of anti-Asian violence. It is particularly notable that Judge Quraishi would become the first Muslim American Article III judge, and that Judge Pan and Ms. Rodriguez will both have groundbreaking roles if confirmed. We urge the Senate to quickly confirm them.”

Judge Zahid N. Quraishi

In 2019, Judge Quraishi was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey becoming the first AAPI to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey. Prior to his appointment, he was Chair of Riker Danzig’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Group and his firm’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Previously he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and Assistant Chief Counsel and trial attorney with the Department of Homeland Security. A U.S. Army veteran, Quraishi served as a military prosecutor and achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal; Army Combat Action Badge; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service & Expeditionary Medals; Army Commendation and Achievement Medals, among other awards for his service. Judge Quraishi is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Rutgers Law School. Judge Quraishi is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate APALA-NJ and is the recipient of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey Professional Achievement Award in 2019.

Judge Florence Y. Pan

In 2009, Judge Pan was nominated by President Obama to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and was confirmed by unanimous consent by the Senate. She was the first judicial nominee to be confirmed under the Obama Administration. In 2016, Judge Pan was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Previously, she served for 10 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including two years as the deputy chief of the appellate division. She also held positions in the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice, notably in the Office of the Solicitor General. Judge Pan taught at Georgetown University Law Center and American University, Washington College of Law, and is active in her community having served as the Secretary of NAPABA’s Judicial Council. She formerly served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ralph K. Winter, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Pan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford Law School. Judge Pan is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate APABA-DC.

Regina M. Rodriguez

Regina M. Rodriguez is a partner at WilmerHale where she handles complex litigation matters and serves as co-chair of the trial practice group. Previously she worked as a partner at Hogan Lovells US LLP and at Faegre & Benson LLP. Earlier in her career, Rodriguez served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, where she served as the Deputy Chief of the Civil Division and later as Chief of the Civil Division. 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 APABA-CO. She is also active with the Hispanic National Bar Association and serves as a member on its Law Enforcement Reform & Racial Justice Committee.

NAPABA Congratulates President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on Historic Election

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Harris is the first Black, Asian American and Female to be elected to the Executive Office

WASHINGTON — Today, American voters elected Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as 49th Vice President. The Biden|Harris presidential ticket included Harris as the first woman of color to be nominated and elected on a presidential ticket for a major party. Vice President-elect Harris will be the highest ranking Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) ever in line for presidential succession.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is a non-partisan organization comprised of lawyers and leaders in both major political parties. As an organization, NAPABA has worked diligently with presidents, administrations and congressional members of both parties, on behalf of millions of AAPIs nationwide.

Amid a global pandemic and a contentious election, our nation has been tested. As members of the legal profession, we have a special responsibility to ensure the continuity of our best legal traditions, and to defend and uphold our commitments to justice, fairness, equity and the Rule of Law under our Constitution. We must work together to unite our membership and our nation to find common ground for a better path forward. NAPABA embraces the solidarity and strength of our robust and diverse community and is committed to our mission to serve as the voice of the AAPI legal profession.

We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their historic win. NAPABA is committed to working with the Biden administration and the new Congress to advance the representation and interests of the AAPI community. 

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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 Applauds Nomination of Senator Kamala Harris

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 19, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) recognizes the historic significance of Sen. Kamala Harris’ nomination as vice president on the Democratic ticket. Harris is the first woman of color to be nominated on a presidential ticket for a major party. If elected, she would become the highest ranking Asian Pacific American ever in line for presidential succession.

“Sen. Harris has defined herself as a leader and legislator in the U.S. Senate,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, president of NAPABA. “Her nomination is not only historic, but deeply meaningful to the Asian Pacific American community. Sen. Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, and she understands the priorities and concerns of Asian Pacific American and Black communities, which have been underrepresented at all levels of government. Since her tenure in the Senate, Sen. Harris has shown a strong commitment to diversity—including having one of the most diverse staff in the Senate and elevating people of color to leadership positions.”

“As a non-partisan organization, NAPABA works with presidential administrations and members of Congress from both parties to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American community. NAPABA applauds Sen. Harris’ nomination and looks forward to greater representation and diversity of political candidates, executive branch appointees, and judges.”

AABANY Presents Robe to Hon. Michael H. Park

AABANY presented Hon. Michael H. Park with a robe on Thursday, July 25, at his chambers, at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse.  President Brian Song, joined by Judiciary Committee Co-Chairs Will Wang and Rena Malik, were on hand for the presentation.

On July 11th, AABANY co-sponsored the robing ceremony for the Hon. Michael H. Park with KAAGNY and KALAGNY at the Museum of Korean American Heritage. Click here for more details and photos. AABANY congratulates Judge Park again on his historic appointment to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  

NAPABA Congratulates APA Nominees to the Second and Ninth Circuits

On Wednesday, President Trump announced his intent to nominate three Asian Pacific Americans to serve on the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Michael H. Park was nominated to serve as a judge on the Second Circuit. Patrick J. Bumatay and Kenneth K. Lee were nominated to serve as judges on the Ninth Circuit. If they are confirmed, the number of active Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judges would increase to a historic ten. Six Asian Pacific Americans have been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals this year, which is the highest number to ever have been nominated to federal appellate courts during a single presidential term. This is also the first time that three Asian Pacific Americans have been nominated to federal appellate court judgeships in a single day.

Michael H. Park is a partner at Consovoy McCarthy Park, where he focuses on litigation and securities enforcement. He has experience in both private practice and government, including in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. He clerked for then-Judge Samuel Alito on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and later clerked for Justice Alito on the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School. If confirmed, Park would be the second Asian Pacific American to serve on the Second Circuit.

Patrick J. Bumatay is an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. He is currently on detail to the Office of the Attorney General in the Department of Justice. Bumatay has held numerous positions in public service throughout the Department of Justice. He clerked for Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and Judge Sandra L. Townes of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He is an active member of NAPABA, its affiliated bar—the National Filipino American Lawyers Association—and the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association. If confirmed, Bumatay would be the first Filipino American to serve as an Article III federal appellate judge.

Kenneth Kiyul Lee is a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, where his practice focuses on internal investigations and appellate litigation before multiple U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is also member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and maintains a robust pro bono practice. Lee has worked in private practice and as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush. He clerked for Judge Emilio M. Garza of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. If confirmed, Lee would join Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, the only other active Asian Pacific American judge on the Ninth Circuit.