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March 4, 2013

NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555
AAJC Contact: Kimberly Goulart (202) 499-7027

NAPABA and AAJC Applaud Confirmation of
Pamela K.M. Chen to the Eastern District of New York

WASHINGTON - Today, the Senate confirmed Pamela K.M. Chen by a voice vote to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She becomes the first openly gay Asian Pacific American to serve on the federal judiciary.

"NAPABA congratulates Pam Chen on her historic nomination and confirmation and is proud to have supported her in the nomination and confirmation process along with the LGBT community," said Wendy Shiba, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). "We applaud President Obama and Senator Schumer for their continued commitment to diversifying the federal judiciary."

For almost 14 years, Judge Chen has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she has served as chief of the Civil Rights Section for more than eight years, and previously as a deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division. She also served as a deputy commissioner for enforcement at the New York State Division of Human Rights, as a trial attorney in the Justice Department in Washington D.C., and in private practice. Judge Chen has won numerous awards for her work, particularly in addressing human trafficking.

"Judge Chen's confirmation is a step in the right direction," said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. "There are more than 40 federal District Court judges in New York City. Judge Chen will become the third Asian Pacific American, bringing APA representation on the bench more in line with our 14 percent share of the city's population."

Judge Chen's confirmation increases the number of active Asian Pacific American Article III judges to 18 nationwide: two federal Appellate Court judges and 16 federal District Court judges. President Obama nominated a record 17 Asian Pacific American to the Article III courts. Three more Asian Pacific American Article III nominees are pending in the Senate: Sri Srinivasan, nominee for the U.S. Circuit Court for the D.C. Circuit; Raymond T. Chen, nominee for the U.S. Circuit Court for the Federal Circuit; and Derrick Kahala Watson, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. NAPABA and AAJC urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm these individuals, who are highly qualified for the federal bench.


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 40,000 attorneys and 62 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service 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 federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

The Asian American Justice Center (, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (, works closely with the other Advancing Justice members - the Asian American Institute in Chicago (, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco ( and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles ( - to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.