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.

NAPABA Congratulates Sarala Nagala on Her Historic Nomination to Become a District Court Judge for the District of Connecticut

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Sarala Nagala on her historic nomination to become a district court judge for the District of Connecticut. If confirmed, Ms. Nagala will become the first Asian Pacific American judge to sit as an Article III judge in the District. “NAPABA applauds the Biden Administration for continuing to advance highly experienced and qualified candidates to serve on federal judiciary,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “Ms. Nagala has a demonstrated commitment to public service and protecting the rights and safety of her community.”

Ms. Nagala currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut where she is responsible for overseeing prosecutions involving human trafficking, child exploitation, hate crimes, and government program fraud and has served as the District’s Hate Crimes Coordinator. Ms. Nagala is a graduate of Stanford University and University of California Berkeley School of Law. She clerked for the Honorable Judge Susan P. Graber on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is 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 Congratulates Angel Kelley on her Nomination to serve on the District Court for the District of Massachusetts

For Immediate Release: 
Date: May 12, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the third slate of judicial nominees sent to the Senate, President Joe Biden nominated Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Angel Kelley to become a federal district court judge for the District of Massachusetts.  If confirmed, Judge Kelley would become only the second African American woman judge and second Asian American judge to serve on the Massachusetts district court, following Judge Indira Talwani who was confirmed in 2014. 

NAPABA applauds the Biden Administration for continuing to nominate experienced individuals  with diverse professional and personal backgrounds who reflect the diversity of the country. The daughter of a Japanese immigrant mother who found work as a meat packer, and an African American father originally from Selma, Alabama who was a truck driver, Judge Kelley began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society working in the Juvenile Rights Division in Brooklyn, New York, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and began her judicial service on the Massachusetts state court in 2009.

Judge Kelley received her LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple University in 2003, her J.D. from Georgetown University in 1992, and her B.A. from Colgate University in 1989. 

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing 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.

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NAPABA Applauds the Historic Nomination of Tana Lin to Serve the U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release: Date: April 29, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Tana Lin to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. If confirmed, Lin will be the first Asian American in the state of Washington to be a sitting Article III judge.

“NAPABA congratulates Tana Lin on her historic nomination to be the first Asian American district court judge on the federal bench in the state of Washington,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “She has a demonstrated commitment to her community, including as an active member of our NAPABA affiliate, the Asian Bar Association of Washington. We applaud President Biden for continuing to nominate judicial candidates who will better reflect the diversity of the communities and nation they are being called to serve.”

Ms. Lin has a strong record of public service beginning her career with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, handling cases at both the trial and appellate stages. She then joined the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where she enforced federal anti-discrimination laws as a trial attorney with the Employment Litigation Section. She continued her public service at the Chicago office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she investigated and litigated employment discrimination cases, enforcing civil rights statutes including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Between 2001-2004, she was the litigation coordinator for the Michigan Poverty Law Program. Ms. Lin is currently of Counsel at Keller Rohback LLP where she handles a variety of complex litigation matters. Her pro bono work there includes securing a nationwide preliminary injunction against the suspension of follow-to-join refugee admissions which was part of the Muslim travel ban. With 30 years of legal experience, she has been named to the Super Lawyers List for Washington from 2012, and 2014-2020.

Ms. Lin immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when she was 3-years old, and worked her way through high school and also while attending Cornell University and the New York University School of Law.

NAPABA urges the Senate to swiftly confirm Tana Lin for District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing 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 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.

Seema Nanda Nominated Solicitor of Labor in the Department of Labor

For Immediate Release: Date: March 26, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Seema Nanda as Solicitor of Labor in the U.S. Department of Labor. If confirmed, Nanda will be the first AAPI and woman of color to lead the department as its chief legal officer.

“NAPABA congratulates Seema Nanda on her nomination to be Solicitor of Labor of the U.S. Department of Labor,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Seema is an experienced litigator who has extensive experience as a labor and employment attorney. She has been a critical leader in the Department of Labor and Department of Justice under the Obama-Biden administration, advocating for underserved and underrepresented communities like ours. We urge the Senate to quickly confirm Seema.”

Seema Nanda is currently a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. She has served as CEO of the Democratic National Committee and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Nanda served in the Obama-Biden administration as Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Solicitor of Labor at the Department of Labor; Deputy Special Counsel and Senior Trial Attorney at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; and as a supervisory attorney on the National Labor Relations Board. She is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.

NAPABA has advocated for Seema Nanda and thanks the Biden-Harris administration for her nomination.

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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.

Todd Kim Nominated Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources at the U.S. Department of Justice

For Immediate Release: Date: March 15, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Todd Kim as Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources at the U.S. Department of Justice. If confirmed, Kim will be the first AAPI to lead this division.

“NAPABA offers its sincerest congratulations to Todd Kim on his nomination to lead the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Todd is a talented and accomplished attorney who has extensive litigation experience of high-profile matters of national significance, including winning appeals with the U.S. Supreme Court and across appellate and state supreme courts. NAPABA applauds the Biden-Harris administration on their commitment to diversity with the nomination of Todd, and urges the Senate to confirm him as Assistant Attorney General.”

Todd Kim currently serves as the Deputy General Counsel for Litigation, Regulation, and Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Energy, and previously served as the first Solicitor General of the District of Columbia, and as an appellate attorney with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Kim was a partner at Reed Smith and clerked for Judge Judith Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He received his A.B. with honors from Harvard College and his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.

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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 Congratulates Julie Su on Labor Deputy Secretary Nomination

For Immediate Release: Date: February 10, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – 
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates NAPABA Trailblazer, California Labor Secretary Julie Su, on her nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Biden-Harris administration.

“California Labor Secretary Julie Su currently oversees the largest state labor department in the country and is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor,” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Julie is a nationally recognized expert on workers’ rights and civil rights and has spent a large portion of her career advocating for the immigrant community. 2020 has been a difficult year for most Americans, but even in the face of a pandemic and severe economic decline, as California Labor Secretary, Julie led the state through decisive actions and creative solutions to rescue California businesses. With a state economy of over $3.2 trillion that spans diverse industries, NAPABA is confident that her leadership will steer our country toward recovery and opportunity. Our strong support of her underscores the importance of having public servants who are representative of the American people: whether it’s race, gender or socioeconomic status.”

Prior to her role as California Labor Secretary, Su was California Labor Commissioner, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. Su was a recipient of the 2019 American Bar Association Margaret Brent Award and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant. She is a graduate from Harvard Law School and Stanford University.

NAPABA advocated for and strongly supported Julie Su’s nomination. We thank President Biden for nominating Julie Su to Deputy Secretary of Labor.

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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 in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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 Congratulates Katherine Tai on Nomination for U.S. Trade Representative

For Immediate Release: December 10, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Katherine Tai on her nomination to be U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the Biden-Harris administration. If confirmed, Tai will be the first woman of color to lead the agency.

“Katherine Tai has been a valued member of our NAPABA community, and we are thrilled that President-elect Biden has nominated her to be U.S. Trade Representative,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Her background is a story that many AAPIs can relate to—like many of us, Katherine is the daughter of immigrants who came to this country to embark on a better life. Since then, she has excelled in her illustrious career, counselling our nation’s leaders on trade policy in past administrations and in Congress. NAPABA congratulates Katherine and urges the Senate to confirm her as Trade Representative.”

Tai is currently Chief Trade Counsel and Staff Director of the Trade Subcommittee in the Ways & Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. She formerly served as Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and clerked for Judge John D. Bates, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

NAPABA advocated for Katherine Tai’s nomination. We thank President-elect Biden for nominating her to the position.

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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.”