Asian American Judges Association of New York (AAJANY) Statement Raising Concern about Newly Proposed Program Bill

March 30, 2023 – On behalf of the Asian American Judges Association of New York (AAJANY), we would first like to congratulate the seven candidates who have been nominated to fill the Chief Judge vacancy on the New York State Court of Appeals. Our state’s highest court is a Court for the people, inclusive of every race, ethnicity, gender, religion and more. Likewise, the process of selecting the six Associate Judges and Chief Judge that make up this Court must be thorough and all-inclusive. We wish to emphasize the importance of a fair and thoughtful selection process for any future Associate Judge appointment and express concern over the newly proposed Program Bill.

There has never been an Asian American judge on the Court of Appeals. To date, there have only been five Asian American judges on the Appellate Division, and only in the First and Second Departments. Since 1979, the Commission on Judicial Nomination has published 37 nomination lists for appointment to the Court of Appeals. An Asian American candidate did not appear on a list until the 25th vacancy in 2012. In the entire history of the Commission on Judicial Nomination, an Asian American has only appeared on the list on five occasions.

Jeh Johnson’s report on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts, dated October 1, 2020, highlighted the significant deficiencies in the representation and promotion of Asian American and Latino judges. There are no Asian American or Latino American candidates on the Commission’s current list for the Chief Judge vacancy. On Monday, March 27, 2023, new legislation was proposed which would significantly modify the well-established procedure for filling an Associate Judge vacancy on the Court of Appeals. Were the Governor to select a sitting Associate Judge from the Court of Appeals as the next Chief Judge, and then select from this same list of nominees to fill that vacancy, there will be no opportunity for the Governor to consider an Asian American for the Associate Judge position. In fact, there will be no opportunity for the Governor to consider any candidate of color. Diversity of candidates is paramount in the selection process of an Associate Judge to our highest court, and so we call for that process to be complete, fair, and inclusive of all.

AABANY Applauds Nomination of Kathy Hirata Chin for New York Court of Appeals Vacancy

December 18, 2014

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(718) 228-7206

NEW YORK – December 18, 2014 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that the Commission on Judicial Nominations has named Kathy Hirata Chin (Partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft LLP) as one of seven well-qualified nominees for the judgeship vacancy on the New York State Court of Appeals created by the retirement of Judge Robert Smith. The Commission on Judicial Nomination, charged with evaluating and recommending to the Governor candidates to fill vacancies on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, received 53 applications and interviewed 22 candidates for the Smith opening.

“AABANY applauds the Commission on Judicial Nomination for its recommendation of Kathy Hirata Chin to join the highest court of New York and strongly encourages Governor Cuomo to make history by appointing the first-ever Asian Pacific American (APA) judge to this esteemed institution,” said AABANY President Clara Ohr.  “Kathy’s qualifications would make her a valuable addition to this court and her appointment would be an important step toward making the judiciary in New York a more accurate reflection of the population it serves.” APAs remain significantly underrepresented in the New York Judiciary. With approximately 1300 judges in the New York State court system, only 22 of them are APAs in spite of the fact that APAs make up approximately 8% of the population of New York State.  

“We congratulate Kathy on her selection as a nominee to the State’s highest court,” said Linda Lin, Co-Chair of AABANY’s Judiciary Committee. “Her outstanding credentials, balanced temperament, and sterling achievements undoubtedly make her an excellent candidate for the bench and we strongly urge Governor Cuomo to appoint Kathy Chin to the New York Court of Appeals bench.”

Kathy Hirata Chin is an accomplished litigator who has handled dozens of appellate cases, concentrating her practice in healthcare and real estate. After graduating magna cum laude from Princeton University and graduating Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Ms. Chin joined Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, becoming one of the first minority and women Partners in 1990. Nominated by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Ms. Chin served on the New York City Planning Commission from 1995-2001. Nominated by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Ms. Chin has served on the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption since August 2003. She has also served on Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s Judicial Screening Committee for the First Judicial Department from1992-1994; the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Eastern District of New York from 1992-1999; the Gender Bias Committee of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Race, and Ethnic Fairness; the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Task Force to Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession; and Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye’s Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections from 2003-2006; and the New York County Lawyers’ Association Board of Directors. She currently serves as a member of The Attorney Emeritus Advisory Council and The Commercial Division Advisory Council, and as member of the Board of Directors of the Medicare Rights Center. Ms. Chin has been a longstanding and active member of AABANY.


For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to [email protected].

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community.  Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole.  AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).


Additional information about AABANY is available at

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