August 2010 | By Jane Leung Larson
The Committee of 100 issued a statement on July 29 in support of the confirmation of U.S. District Court nominee Edward Chen: “We call on the Senate to confirm Judge Chen. If confirmed, Judge Chen would become the first Asian American “Article III” judge in the history of the Northern District of California, where Asian Americans represent approximately 35% of the population.” Article III judges are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as stated in Article III of the Constitution.
- Consistent with its mission of advancing the participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of public life in the U.S., C-100 supports federal judicial nominations of Chinese Americans when the American Bar Association (ABA) gives the nominee its highest rating. The ABA has given Judge Chen such a rating, indicated by a unanimous vote of well-qualified.
- C-100 Chairman John Chen comments: “Judge Chen is a respected federal magistrate judge and has a record of fairness. C-100 urges the Senate to confirm Judge Chen. His appointment would embrace the diversity and inclusiveness of our judicial system.”
- Judge Chen has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of California for nine years. He has over 300 published opinions on a range of subjects, presided over 20 civil and criminal trials, and conducted over 500 settlement conferences. He served judicial clerkships for U.S. District Judge Charles B. Renfrew for the Northern District of California and U.S. Circuit Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From 1982 to 1985, he was an associate at the San Francisco firm of Coblentz, Cahen, McCabe & Breyer. Between 1985 and 2001, Judge Chen worked as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, Northern California Chapter.
Judge Chen was nominated by President Obama in August 2009. Unfortunately, before the Senate went into recess this August, it returned to the President both Chen’s nomination and that of Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Appeals Court (Liu’s confirmation was supported by the Committee of 100 in May). The Senate Judiciary Committee approved both Chen and Liu on party-line votes. If Chen’s and Liu’s nominations are to be pursued when the Senate returns from recess, President Obama will need to re-submit their names.