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

EFiling – N.Y. State Courts

EFiling – N.Y. State Courts

National Diverse Bar Associations Urge Senate to Hold Hearing and Vote on Supreme Court Nominee

For Immediate Release
March 10, 2016

For More Information, Contact​​:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
202-775-9555; bschuster@napaba.org


Download: Press Release
Download: Letter to Senators Grassley and Leahy

WASHINGTON — Today, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), the National LGBT Bar Association (National LGBT Bar), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) — representatives of diverse bar associations — submitted a joint letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) strongly urging the Senate to uphold its Constitutional duty by holding a fair hearing and timely vote on any Supreme Court nominee.

With a long history of supporting judicial nominees from both Democratic and Republican presidents, these five non-partisan organizations represent the interests of almost 200,000 lawyers, judges, and legal professionals of diverse backgrounds across the country.

As stated in the letter: “Delay in the Supreme Court’s ability to fulfill its duties caused by intentionally leaving the Court incomplete will have a direct impact on the legal rights of Americans, individuals and businesses of all backgrounds, across the country, and further erode public confidence in our legal system and in the functioning of our democracy.”

As professional legal membership organizations and representatives of diverse American attorneys, the five representative bar associations have consistently maintained that it is both the President’s and the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to ensure that our courts are fully functioning by nominating and fairly considering nominees as described in Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

“With so much at stake, this is not the time to allow our highest court in the land to operate without a full bench,” said HNBA National President Robert T. Maldonado. “As our Constitution outlines, the President should nominate a candidate and the Senate carries the responsibility to vet and confirm. To not fill that seat would be a denial of justice. Let’s give the American people what they want: a fully-functioning judicial branch that gives everyone fair and equal protection under the law.”

“It is imperative that the Senate fulfill their constitutional obligations by giving the President’s nominee fair consideration and a timely vote,” said Jin Y. Hwang, NAPABA president. “By depriving this nation of a fully functioning Supreme Court, the Senate is not only ignoring their constitutional duty, but taking historically unprecedented action. The Senate must do the job they were elected to do and not hamper the effectiveness of the judiciary.”

“When the American People reelected President Obama in 2012 they placed trust in him perform the job of President of the United States. One function of the job includes nominating individuals to fill vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Republicans are correct when they say that the American People should have a voice in the matter, but what they are forgetting is that the American People spoke twice, in 2008 and 2012 when they voted for President Obama. Senate Republicans not only must allow the President of the United States to do his job, but they also must perform their duties under the U.S. Constitution. It is unacceptable that Senate leaders have hindered the functionality of the Federal Court system by obstructing the nominations process,” added NBA President Benjamin L. Crump.

“Regardless of which political party currently holds power in either the Presidency or the Senate, both have a constitutional duty to ensure that the Supreme Court vacancy is filled in a timely manner,” said Eduardo Juarez, president of the National LGBT Bar Association. “We urge all parties involved to fill the vacancy to ensure a properly functioning judiciary. For the Senate to abdicate its constitutional duty to advise and consent is not only wrong, but it is unprecedented.”

“The desire for an accessible, fair judiciary is a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Linda Benally, NNABA president. “Indeed principal criticisms of the King of England in the Declaration of Independence were that he ‘obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers;’ that he ‘made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.’ The people decided, in the Constitution, the process for ensuring that such tyranny would never again burden the United States, conferring upon the President the obligation to nominate Justices to serve on the Supreme Court and obligating the Senate to counsel the President on such nominees. This is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of each duly-elected public official honoring the public’s trust and fulfilling his or her obligations to the people of the United States as set forth in the Constitution.”


The HNBA is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership organization that represents the interests of the more than 50,000 Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students in the United States and its territories. From the days of its founding three decades ago, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession. It does so by encouraging Latino students to choose a career in the law and by prompting their advancement within the profession once they graduate and start practicing. Through a combination of issue advocacy, programmatic activities, networking events and educational conferences, the HNBA has helped generations of lawyers succeed.

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 75 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.

Founded in 1925, the NBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.

The National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. The LGBT Bar promotes justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.

Founded in 1973, the NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.