Judicial Nominations Update: AAPI Heritage Month Edition
As May draws to a close, it’s timely to recall the progress that has recently been made in increasing the number of AAPI judges in the federal judiciary. In particular, President Obama has appointed 9 AAPI women to the federal bench – which, sad to say, is more than four times as many AAPI women than were nominated by all other Presidents. In history. And President Obama nominated the first AAPI woman to a federal court of appeals – Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, who currently serves on the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
But the number of female AAPI federal judges could – and should – be higher. There are currently five AAPI women who have been nominated to lifetime positions on the federal courts, who are being held up by Republicans in the Senate: Jennifer Choe Groves (nominated to the Court of International Trade), Lucy Koh (nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals), Karen Gren Scholer (nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas – and who would be the first AAPI lifetime federal judge to serve in the Fifth Circuit states), Florence Pan (nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), and Regina Rodriguez (nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado – and who would be the first AAPI lifetime federal judge to serve in the Tenth Circuit states). Of these, despite the fact that there are over 80 current judicial vacancies – the highest number in years – only Jennifer Choe Groves has even received a hearing.
When our courts are more diverse, the quality of justice improves for everyone. The administration of justice likewise improves, when our courts are fully staffed. Senate Republicans, #DoYourJob.