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.

AABANY Congratulates Former Board Member Kevin Kim on His Appointments to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and as the New Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses

On December 31st, 2021 former AABANY Board Member Kevin Kim was selected as the first Korean American  to hold the position of Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses where he will be responsible for running a dynamic City agency focused on connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a thriving economy. Kevin also was selected on December 20th, 2021 to be a Commissioner to President Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders which has been tasked with advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for AANHPI communities.

Kevin is a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating law school Kevin began his legal career as a law clerk for then United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Denny Chin. He then worked as an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell where he practiced corporate law. 

Kevin has devoted his career to public service and specifically promoting greater Asian representation in positions of power. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the City University of New York and was elected to the national Board of Directors for the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club. His past board service includes the American Red Cross in Queens, Friends of Thirteen (public media provider featuring PBS series), Korean American Association of Greater New York, and the Korean American Community Foundation. From 2014-2016, Kevin was the Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, becoming the first Asian American appointed to this position. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York, making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. In that position, he chaired the Audit Committee and is a member of the Subcommittee on Investments. 

Kevin has received countless awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Columbia Law School APALSA Hong Yen Chang Award for inspiring civic engagement; KAAGNY, Man of the Year; and City Hall News (“40 Under 40”).

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin on his appointments to these important positions.

NAPABA Applauds the Nomination of Judge Kenly Kiya Kato to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

WASHINGTON –Today, President Biden nominated Judge Kenly Kiya Kato to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Kato on her nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She is an experienced jurist and has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge on that court since 2014,” said Sid Kanazawa, president of NAPABA. “Judge Kato’s life experience, as a daughter whose parents and family were incarcerated during World War II solely because they were of Japanese descent, has shaped her interest in constitutional protections and her work to ensure access to justice. Active in the AAPI community in Riverside, CA, she is a member of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers of the Inland Empire.

“We thank President Biden for nominating Judge Kato, and Senators Feinstein and Padilla for recommending her. With only 30 out of the 673 district court judges being AAPI, we urge the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Kato.”

Judge Kato serves as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she maintained a private practice and has served as a deputy federal public defender. Judge Kato was a law clerk to the late Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles 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.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Establishes the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

On May 28, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and delivering on the President’s commitment to reinstate and reinvigorate this historic Initiative.

The new Initiative is charged with driving an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities by:

  • Helping to coordinate a comprehensive Federal response to the rise in acts of anti-Asian bias and violence
  • Addressing the systemic lack of disaggregated data on AA and NHPI communities in Federal statistical systems
  • Expanding language access and language assistance programs for AA and NHPI individuals across Federal programs
  • Strengthening economic security and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities by empowering AA and NHPI entrepreneurs, building new workforce training opportunities, and promoting workplaces that are free from harassment against AA and NHPI workers
  • Addressing the concentration of poverty experienced in many AA and NHPI communities
  • Addressing disparities in educational outcomes for AA and NHPI students of all ages, and addressing bullying, harassment, and discrimination in our Nation’s schools
  • Advancing climate and environmental justice for AA and NHPI communities who are particularly impacted by the climate crisis and are overburdened by environmental degradation
  • Promoting inclusion and belonging for all AA and NHPI communities by strengthening public awareness and education about AA and NHPI communities, cultures, and traditions
  • Empowering AA and NHPI communities to be civically engaged, including through electoral participation
  • Building a Federal workforce where AA and NHPI public servants are leaders at the most senior levels of our government
  • Ensuring that AA and NHPI communities are empowered and equitably served by Federal funding, grants, and contracts

To read The White House’s full fact sheet, click here.

NAPABA Statement on President Biden’s Signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 20, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON 
– Today, President Biden signed into the law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House. This legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Justice designate a point person whose sole responsibility is to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic and to expand public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes.  The Justice Department shall also issue guidance on greater accessibility for online hate crimes reporting for victims in multiple languages and for those with disabilities.  The law also incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No HATE ACT Act which increases resources for training on identifying and classifying hate crimes.

“NAPABA thanks President Biden for signing into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which answers the call for greater resources to improve education, training, reporting, and data collection on hate crimes in this country,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III.  “This law is a strong step forward to stem the ongoing tide of anti-Asian hate, bias and violence.” 

The legislation also authorizes grants for states to create state-run hate crimes reporting hotlines and crime reduction programs to prevent, address, or respond to hate crimes. Finally, for individuals convicted of federal hate crime offenses and placed on supervised release, the bill allows a court to order that the individual participate in educational classes or community service directly related to the community harmed by the defendant’s offense, as a condition of supervised release.

In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of such different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders. 

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the Senate, and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House.  The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).  NAPABA thanks them for their leadership.

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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 Commends President Biden’s Memorandum on Anti-AAPI Xenophobia

For Immediate Release: Date: January 27, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) commends President Biden’s Presidential Memorandum denouncing discrimination and xenophobia against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

In the memorandum, President Biden directed the Attorney General, to investigate, document and address hate incidents and harassment against AAPIs. Additionally, the President directed the Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, to issue guidance, including language access, toward AAPIs in the nation’s COVID-19 response.

“Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community have been victims of increased acts of discrimination, hate and racist violence, and harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic, much of which has been underreported by the media,” said NAPABA president A.B. Cruz III. “We applaud President Biden’s efforts to unify the country by recognizing and addressing these despicable acts that have devastated our community and businesses. We strongly urge all leaders, organizations and individuals to join us and take a stand against hate.”

According to the Stop AAPI Hate project, there were over two thousand documented incidents of hate or violence targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over the summer of 2020 related to COVID-19.

Please see NAPABA’s Hate Crimes Center for more resources on how to respond to acts of hate. Organizations are invited to join NAPABA’s Stand Against Hate campaign. NAPABA addressed and condemned racist language in an organization statement last fall.

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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 | Statement on Executive Orders

For Immediate Release: Date: January 21, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Reversing the Muslim Ban, Restoring DACA, and Promoting Diversity

WASHINGTON—The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) supports the efforts by President Biden to repeal the Muslim Ban, to preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion—values important to NAPABA, as outlined in the Executive Orders he signed yesterday.

“We applaud President Biden’s initial executive orders that specifically address many of the key issues that NAPABA cares about and has been advocating on,” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “We are encouraged by the Administration’s steps today to promote religious tolerance by reversing the Muslim Ban, fortify the DACA program to better protect DREAMers, and commit to promoting racial equity for all Americans. We look forward to working with the new administration on policies that meaningfully support and advance our community.”

NAPABA and our affiliated bar associations opposed the Muslim Ban, including filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court. NAPABA supports the DACA program and efforts to find a bipartisan solution for the status of the undocumented in the country.

NAPABA congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris on their historic inauguration.

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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.