An Unsung Hero in the Story of Interracial Marriage – The New Yorker
Hon. Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, alerted us to this article just published in The New Yorker that talks about the landmark US Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia which struck down as unconstitutional anti-miscegenation laws. The article brings out the little known role played by William Marutani, who argued on behalf of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), an amicus curiae in the case.
Marutani was later appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, becoming the first Asian American judge in Pennsylvania.
Our own trailblazer, Hon. Marilyn Go, clerked for Judge Muritani. She shared with us this link to the oral argument in Loving v. Virginia. You can both hear and read the transcript, including Judge Marutani arguing for JACL. It comes from oyez.org, a multi-media archive project of Chicago-Kent College of Law, with a mission to make the “Supreme Court of the United States accessible to everyone.”
With the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, we here at AABANY are truly blessed and grateful to have our esteemed jurists, Judge Chin and Judge Go, remind us of the contributions made by Asian American lawyers to the development of civil rights law in the United States. Let us not forget the struggles and triumphs of our trailblazers and predecessors for their role in paving the way to greater equality and justice for all. We need to follow and build on their example because the struggle continues.
Me, My Grandfather and Citizenship Day
One of the things I have missed since becoming an appellate judge is the naturalization ceremony. When I served as a Federal District Court judge, I performed the naturalization ceremony regularly. I would naturalize some 200 immigrants at a time, from dozens of countries around the world. And when I performed that ceremony, I would take my grandfather’s naturalization certificate into the courtroom, and I would show it to the new citizens and tell them the story of my grandfather.
Thanks to Judge Chin for this moving and thoughtful Op-Ed in the New York Times to commemorate Citizenship Day. Read the full article by following the link in the title.
Crain’s New York Power Couples – Denny Chin & Kathy Chin
Please join us in congratulating Judge Denny Chin, (Court of Appeals Judge for the Second Circuit) and Kathy Hirata Chin (Partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft), named one of Crain’s New York Power Couples. This list, linked above, asks the important question, “What makes a power couple in New York business?”
According to Crain, this list "weighed revenue and budget figures, charitable giving and net worth. And we’ve considered those sums against the intangible impact their work and extracurricular lives have on the businesses—for profit and not—that shape the character of the city.”
We could not agree more that Judge Chin and Kathy exemplify power, grace, and achievement. AABANY is proud to have them lead our trial reenactments and act as role models to us all. They are individually the definition of the highest levels of the legal profession and together, they are the definition of relationship goals.
The Problem With Calling Out Judges for Their Race
In a June 5 article in the Atlantic by Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law and creative writing for law students at the University of Baltimore, the author commented on the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s criticism of Judge Curiel because of his race by citing the 1998 case of Macdraw Inc. v. CIT Equipment Financing. That case is notable for the fact that the Hon. Denny Chin, then the only Article III United States District Judge east of the Mississippi, presided over it.
In response to an unfavorable decision against the plaintiff, plaintiff’s counsel filed a brief in which they questioned Judge Chin’s impartiality on account of his race. Responding to this point, Judge Chin wrote: “This sentiment is absurd and demeans me individually and the Court as a whole.” He then sanctioned plaintiff’s attorneys by requiring them to withdraw from the case and banning them from appearing before him in any future matter. He also directed the court clerk to report this sanction to every court in which plaintiff’s attorneys held bar membership.
On appeal to the Second Circuit, Judge Chin’s ruling was upheld in strong terms. Chief Judge Ralph Winter wrote: “Courts have repeatedly held that matters such as race or ethnicity are improper bases for challenging a judge’s impartiality.”
The article goes on to cite the case of the Vietnamese Fishermen against the Ku Klux Klan, without realizing that this latest AABANY Trial Reenactment was led by Judge Chin. In that case, the Ku Klux Klan sought to disqualify Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, the first African American appointed to the Federal bench in Texas, on the grounds that she would not be impartial in a case in which the Ku Klux Klan was the defendant. Judge McDonald denied the motion from the bench, stating: “You are not entitled to a judge of your choice. You are entitled to a judge who will give you a fair trial. I am deeply committed to equal justice under the law and you will get it. You are entitled to nothing more and nothing less.”
In the three decades since the Vietnamese Fishermen case, we are still confronting race-based attacks against judges, which is indeed a sad state of affairs. We thank Judge Chin for standing up against this type of racism back in 1998 and for his continuing to teach all of us that these kinds of attacks against judges and the judiciary are improper, inappropriate and intolerable.
To read the full article, click the link in the title.
To learn more about the Vietnamese Fishermen trial reenactment, click here. For more information about the AABANY Trial Reenactments click here.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, the AABANY Trial Re-enactment Team, led by Hon. Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin, took to the stage at the NAPABA National Convention to perform “Vietnamese Fishermen v. KKK.” Set in the aftermath of the Fall of the Saigon, when Vietnamese immigrants arrived in the Gulf Coast and became fishermen, the case recounts their experience as targets of terrorizing tactics from the Ku Klux Klan designed to drive them out. The Vietnamese fishermen fought back with a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction against these actions.
The AABANY Trial Re-enactment Team played to a capacity crowd that was fully engaged from start to finish. The cast included no less than seven Past Presidents of AABANY: Hon. Denny Chin, Andy Hahn, Vincent Chang, Yang Chen, Robert Leung, Jean Lee and Clara Ohr.
During the post-performance discussion, one of the audience members stated that he was a young boy in New Orleans during the time of the events being re-enacted, and he appreciated learning about the case. He also shared that over the past three decades, progress has been made to improve relations between Asian Americans in the local fishing industry with the general community of fishermen in the Gulf Coast.
The Vietnamese Fishermen re-enactment is the ninth case presented by the AABANY Trial Re-enactment Team. Thanks to Judge Chin and Kathy Chin for leading us in yet another successful and impactful trial re-enactment. Stayed tuned for information about the New York premiere.
In the meantime, save the date for the re-enactment of last year’s “Justice Denied: Wards Cove v. Atonio” at the New York City Bar Association on Dec. 7. Free for AABANY members. To register go to http://bit.ly/wardscove120715.
- Janicelynn J. Asamoto
- Vincent T. Chang
- Yang Chen
- Theodore K. Cheng
- Francis H. Chin
- Andrew T. Hahn, Sr.
- Kathy Hirata Chin
- Jean Lee
- Lauren U.Y. Lee
- Robert Leung
- Hon. Kiyo A. Matsumoto
- Concepcion A. Montoya
- Clara J. Ohr
- Vinoo Varghese
- Jessica C. Wong
- Michael Yap
The slideshow presentation featuring historical photographs is courtesy of David Weinberg of Jury Group. Thank you!
(Thanks to AABANY Program Associate Simone Nguyen for photos from the rehearsal and performance.)