NAPABA Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on Protecting DREAMers

For Immediate Release: 
Date: June 18, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
Email: ppurandare@napaba.org

Today, in a 5-4 landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision in 2017 to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) violated federal law in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. The DACA program, whose beneficiaries are also known as DREAMers, protects eligible undocumented youth from deportation and provides them with work permits. Approximately 650,000 individuals, including more than 16,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), benefit from this program and about 120,000 AAPIs are eligible for DACA. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the Court for its decision, which will protect these individuals, many of whom are the sole providers in their families.

“The Court’s decision ensures the protection of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. These DREAMers now know they are currently safe from being suddenly deported from the country in which they grew up, went to school, and now work,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, President of NAPABA. “There has been strong bipartisan support in Congress to protect DREAMers, who significantly contribute to their communities in the United States. The Court’s decision is not a permanent fix and Congress needs to act. NAPABA remains committed to protecting DREAMers.”

NAPABA’s policy resolution to support the continuation of DACA recipients can be found here and the original resolution to support DACA recipients can be found here. The Supreme Court decision can be found here

NAPABA and GAPABA Celebrate the Appointment of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the Supreme Court of Georgia

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) celebrate the appointment of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Appointed by Governor Brian Kemp on March 27, 2020, Judge McMillian will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve on the state’s highest court when sworn in.

“NAPABA extends congratulations to Judge Carla Wong McMillian on her appointment to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, NAPABA President. “A leader in her community and past president of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Judge McMillian will bring her record of legal excellence to the bench. During this challenging time, it is uplifting news to celebrate Judge McMillian blazing the trail as the first AAPI nominated to Georgia’s highest court.”

”GAPABA is thrilled that our own Judge Carla Wong McMillian has been appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court,” said Angela Hsu, GAPABA President. “Currently, there are no other AAPI serving on the highest courts of any state in the South, the Southeast or the Midwest. In addition to the historic nature of this appointment, Judge McMillian is a jurist, a colleague and a friend who has the love and respect of the entire legal community.”

“We are extremely proud to hear that Judge Carla McMillian has been elevated to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” added Judge Benes Aldana (ret.), chair of the NAPABA Judicial Council.

“Justice McMillian is an active member of the NAPABA Judicial Council and has been a trailblazer and an inspiration to our community.  Her elevation to the highest court in Georgia makes her the first and only Asian Pacific American to serve on a state supreme court in the South. This is such welcome news during these difficult times for our nation, as we see a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.” 

Judge McMillian has served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia since 2013. In 2014, she became the first and only Asian American elected to statewide office in Georgia. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, she served as a state court judge for Fayette County. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge McMillian was a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (now known as Eversheds Sutherland). A current board member and past president of GAPABA, she is also a past recipient of NAPABA’s “Best Lawyers Under 40” Award. Judge McMillian is a graduate of Duke University and received her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.

NAPABA and MAABA Celebrate Judge George Draper III’s Appointment as Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court

For Immediate Release
July 25, 2019
For More Information, Contact:
Navdeep Singh, Policy Director
202-775-9555; nsingh@napaba.org

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Missouri Asian American Bar Association (MAABA) celebrate the appointment of member and supporter the Honorable George W. Draper III as the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.

Judge Draper was first appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2011. He first joined the bench in Missouri in 1994. He is the second African American to serve as Chief Justice. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and received his law degree from Howard University. He and his wife, the Honorable Judy P. Draper, are members of the NAPABA Judicial Council.

“NAPABA extends warm congratulations to the Hon. George W. Draper III, on his recent appointment, on his recent appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri. The second African American judge to serve on Missouri’s high court, Judge Draper has been outstanding in his support of diversity and inclusion in the state’s legal community, and a long-time friend to NAPABA and its Missouri affiliate, MAABA,” said NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi.

“We congratulate Judge Draper on his appointment as the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. Judge Draper has been a stalwart supporter of MAABA since its inception, and we have confidence he will continue to be a fair and impartial judge and to protect the rights of all Missourians,” said Frances Barbieri, president of MAABA.

NAPABA Judicial Council Chair the Hon. Benes Aldana (Ret.) said, “We are so proud of our friend, Justice George Draper, who recently became the newest Chief Justice of Missouri. Throughout his career, Chief Justice Draper has exhibited steadfast commitment to safeguard individual rights on an equal basis for all. He is widely respected for his inclusive leadership and he has served as a role model and inspiration for many in the legal profession. We look forward to continuing our great relationship with him and his wife, Judge Judy Draper, both members of the NAPABA Judicial Council.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

NAPABA and AALDEF Applaud Supreme Court Decision to Block Census Citizenship Question

On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Southern District of New York ’s decision to block the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966) and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Court agreed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce’s rationale for adding a citizenship question to the census was pretextual stating, “the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision.”

Based on the totality of the evidence, the Court’s decision affirms the lower court’s finding of pretext on the part of the Secretary of Commerce. Agencies must “offer genuine justifications for important decisions.” The Commerce Department’s “sole stated” rationale for including the citizenship question—better Voting Rights Act (VRA) enforcement—is “incongruent with what the record reveals.” Overwhelming evidence about the timeline of the Secretary’s decision to add the citizenship question “reveal[s] a significant mismatch between the decision the Secretary made and the rationale he provided.” Accordingly, although the Court recognized the Secretary’s right to add a citizenship question under the Census Act and Constitution, the reasoning provided is not consistent with the review required by administrative law.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) both support the decision of the Court in blocking the Department of Commerce from adding their untested citizenship question. In addition to the evidence of intentional discrimination, NAPABA and AALDEF both hope the lower courts will engage in a careful and deliberate reconsideration of the full record, including the newly discovered evidence.

NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi said: “We are pleased that the Court ultimately rejected the Department of Commerce’s argument to include the citizenship question as pretextual and ‘contrived.’ Permitting the question to be added would have resulted in a significant undercount of immigrants and communities of color, leading to discriminatory cutbacks in resources and underrepresentation in Congress, in state houses, and in local government. The courts should continue to discredit the post-hoc reasoning of the Administration in its attempts to stop a fair and accurate count. It is incumbent on community leaders and attorneys to ensure that everyone is counted as part of 2020 Census.”

AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung said: “We are glad that the Supreme Court agreed with what AALDEF and NAPABA asserted in our joint amicus brief opposing the census citizenship question: that ‘the VRA enforcement rationale—the sole stated reason—seems to have been contrived.’ The government never intended to better enforce the VRA, as reflected in the fact that this administration has not brought any VRA enforcement actions. Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in this country and the largest segment of new immigrants. We will continue the fight to ensure that everyone in our country is properly counted in the 2020 Census and that our community receives its fair share of resources and representation.”

NAPABA and AALDEF led sixty-four Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations in filing an amicus brief outlining the negative impacts the addition of the citizenship question would have on the AAPI community, due to the resulting undercount.

NAPABA and AALDEF are grateful to lead pro bono counsel Albert Giang, 2018 Recipient of the NAPABA Pro Bono Award, NAPABA Amicus Committee Co-Chair, and Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP (BSF) in Los Angeles; Miguel A. Gradilla and Ziwei Hu of BSF; NAPABA Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Radha Pathak of Stris & Maher LLP; Meredith Higashi of the NAPABA Civil Rights Committee; Jerry Vattamala and Patricia Yan of AALDEF; and Navdeep Singh and the NAPABA staff for their joint efforts in this case.

A copy of the decision can be found here.

In the News: AABANY Co-Sponsors Reenactment of Supreme Court Cases Ozawa & Thind

On May 23, 2019 AABANY co-sponsored a reenactment of the Supreme Court cases Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922) and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) in the Ceremonial Courtroom at 225 Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. The two historical cases describe the exclusionary immigration policies that prevented Asian immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens. The reenactment scripts were written by longtime AABANY members Kathy Hirata Chin and her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin. The event was jointly sponsored by the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and was held in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, during the month of May. The event was covered by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the history of these reenactments, “The Chins began writing and performing these reenactments 12 years ago, and every year they create a new performance based on a different case. Judge Chin explained that they look for cases of importance historically and that still resonate today.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Congratulations to Ushir Pandit-Durant on Her Historic Induction as Queens Supreme Court Justice

On December 21, the Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant made history as the first South Asian judge elected to New York State Supreme Court in Queens and the first South Asian woman judge elected in New York State. Justice Pandit-Duran was sworn in by the Hon. Randall T. Eng (ret.), former Presiding Justice of the Second Department, New York State Appellate Division. Justice Eng was the first Asian American elected judge in New York State so it was especially fitting for one trailblazer in the Asian American community to swear in another trailblazer. Hon. Joseph Zayas, Administrative Judge of the Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term, presided.

Justice Pandit-Duran began her career as a Prosecutor in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, serving there with distinction for 25 years before being elected to New York City Civil Court in 2015, becoming the first South Asian to hold that elected office.

The induction took place at the Queens Supreme Court in Kew Gardens. Numerous speakers, including elected officials and community leaders, extolled Justice Pandit-Duran’s exemplification of the American Dream, coming here at age 10 not speaking a word of English and rising up to become a top prosecutor and now judge. As a South Asian, Justice Pandit-Durant reflects the diversity of Queens, one of the most diverse boroughs of New York City, with a large Asian population. Justice Pandit-Durant is herself a bar leader, having served as the first President of the South Asian Indo-Caribbean Bar Association of Queens.

AABANY congratulates Justice Pandit-Durant on her historic election and wishes her continued success and achievement as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

AABANY Tax Committee Quarterly Meeting

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On October 9, 2018, the AABANY Tax Committee held its quarterly meeting and dinner at the offices of Ashurst LLP, in order to discuss the Wayfair Supreme Court decision and other state and local tax issues.  Presenters Jessika Wong, of Grant Thornton LLP, and Rebecca Midori Balinskas, of Morrison & Foerster LLP, led a lively and informative discussion about the new landscape for sales taxes, particularly the issues for law firms and other service providers when they provide services to residents of other states.  The discussion addressed the lack of foreign treaty protection for state sales and income taxes, which may be imposed on Asia-based foreign businesses that sell products online to U.S. residents.  The group also discussed various questions related to the effects of the 2017 federal tax reform on state income taxation, such as whether state taxable income includes GILTI.  Special thanks to Sharon Kim, partner at Ashurst LLP, for hosting the event. 

To learn more about the Tax Committee and to contact the Committee Co-Chairs click here.

NAPABA Deeply Disappointed in U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Muslim Ban Case

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WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold President Trump’s Muslim Ban in Trump v. State of Hawaii. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court ended the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s injunction of President Trump’s revised executive order that bars individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

“We are frustrated by the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. State of Hawaii and concerned about its real-world implications. The Court’s reasoning results in sanctioned discrimination, a consequence that runs counter to our values,” said Pankit J. Doshi, president of NAPABA. “Today’s decision opens the door further to hate and discrimination against Muslims and other marginalized groups. Unfortunately, the Court has chosen to turn a blind eye to anti-Muslim animus and codified prejudice.”

Doshi continued, “Although the Court took the commendable step of denouncing the holding of Korematsu, it rejected the important lesson that the current case presented. The Court’s decision to accept the government’s national security rationale and minimize the impact of the President’s express statements and actions will have long-term, negative consequences.”

President Trump’s original order, announced in January 2017, stopped refugees from entering the U.S. and halted immigration from Muslim-majority countries. The federal government issued two revised versions of the Muslim ban, which continued to place discriminatory restrictions on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries. The third version, released in September, was at issue in this case. The third order was blocked by the U.S. District Court of Hawaii and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; concurrent litigation occurred in the U.S. District Court of Maryland and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

NAPABA has condemned the Muslim ban executive order since it was first announced, and continued to oppose its later variants. NAPABA first filed an amicus brief in support of Hawaii’s challenge to the revised order in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii, which enjoined the order in

March 2017. NAPABA then led 43 Asian Pacific American bar associations from around the country in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which ultimately upheld Hawaii’s original Muslim ban injunction in April 2017. NAPABA most recently led 62 Asian Pacific American bar associations in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in April 2018.

In its amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court, NAPABA argued the order was not within the scope of Presidential authority. NAPABA explained that Congress had deliberately omitted the option for the government to discriminate based on national origin in immigration policies when it passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, repudiating the lineage of anti-Asian orders that served as the foundation of American immigration law.

NAPABA is grateful for the many individuals involved in drafting its Supreme Court amicus brief, including its lead pro bono counsel, James W. Kim, a NAPABA member and partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, in Washington, D.C.; Mr. Kim’s team (including Cathy Zeman Scheineson, Matthew M. Girgenti, and Llewelyn M. Engel); NAPABA Amicus Committee co-chairs, Professor Radha Pathak of Whittier Law School and Albert Giang, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Los Angeles; Meredith Higashi, NAPABA Civil Rights Committee co-chair; Navdeep Singh, NAPABA policy director; and Oriene Shin, NAPABA policy counsel. NAPABA is also appreciative of the many NAPABA affiliates that joined the effort to challenge this series of orders.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA) and Instagram (@napabanational).

NAPABA Concerned about Impact of Supreme Court Trademark Ruling

News Release

For Immediate Release
June 19, 2017

 For More Information, Contact:

 Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
 bschuster@napaba.org.

, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar
Association (NAPABA) is concerned about the impact to diverse communities from
today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court that the provision of federal
trademark law that prevents “disparaging” terms from being trademarked is
unconstitutional. The decision in Matal v. Tam (formerly Lee v. Tam) allows The
Slants, the Asian American rock band that challenged the provision, and other
groups — including the Washington football team — to register exclusive federal
trademarks using racial slurs.

“The ability of any business or individual to have the
exclusive ability to profit from racial slurs using a federal trademark, no
matter their intent, has harmful consequences,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M.
Chang. “As current events remind us, Asian Pacific Americans and other
communities are all too familiar with the damage caused by racial slurs and
epithets. While communities must have the ability to reclaim historically
disparaging terms used against them and exercise free speech, today’s decision
does not advance those objectives by granting exclusive ownership of a term in
commercial settings.”

In Lee v. Tam, the Court considered whether Simon Shiao
Tam’s application to trademark the name of his band, The Slants, was properly
rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under Section 2(a) of the
Lanham Act, which permits the denial of trademark registration of “disparaging”
marks. Tam, who asserts the band’s name is an effort to reappropriate the slur,
challenged the validity of the statute, not only as applicable to his case but
for all trademarks. The Federal Circuit below ruled for Tam, finding Section
2(a) unconstitutional. The Supreme Court upheld that decision. In an opinion
written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court concluded that the disparagement
provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and
constitutes discrimination based on viewpoint.

NAPABA joined the Hispanic National Bar Association, the
National Bar Association, the National Native American Bar Association, the
National LGBT Bar Association and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and
Equality in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the
constitutionality of the rules prohibiting the registration of disparaging
trademarks.

The national affinity bar brief addressed the facial
challenge brought against Section 2(a), arguing that Congress has the ability
to regulate commercial speech, including trademarks. Section 2(a) is not a ban
on either reclamation of terms or use under the common law, but rather is a
mechanism for dealing with the harmful effects of racial, national origin and
religious discrimination on interstate commerce.

Finally, the brief discussed the impact of the Court’s
ruling on the ability of applicants to trademark slurs offensive to diverse
communities, including “Redskins,” whose name as the Washington football team
is pending a legal challenge by Native American plaintiffs that will likely be
impaired by today’s decision.

NAPABA previously filed an amicus brief in this case when it
was before the Federal Circuit. NAPABA also joined the National Native American
Bar Association and the Korematsu Center in an earlier-filed amicus brief in
the related case involving the Washington football team, Blackhorse v.
Pro-Football Inc., before the Fourth Circuit.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster,
NAPABA communications manager, at

202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law
professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000
attorneys and more than 80 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American
bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers,
corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving
at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights
issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national
network of committees and affiliates, 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on
Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

Notice to Bar – Re: expansion of mandatory E-Filing in Suffolk County Supreme Court

Notice to Bar – Re: expansion of mandatory E-Filing in Suffolk County Supreme Court