Two Chinese American federal judicial nominees finally came to a vote in May, with very different outcomes. The nominations of both Edward Chen and Goodwin Liu in 2009 had received Committee of 100 support. On May 10, U.S. Magistrate Judge Chen was confirmed by the U.S. Senate (56-42) to become U.S. District Court Judge (Northern District of California), ending a nearly two-year wait since he was first nominated by President Obama. Liu, Associate Dean and Professor at University of California’s Bolt Law School, withdrew his name on May 25 for consideration as U.S. Appeals Court 9th Circuit Judge after a filibuster in the Senate (52-43) the week before.
In 2010, Committee Chairman John Chen issued statements in support of both nominees, citing not only their having receiving the unanimous votes of the American Bar Association (ABA) as “well-qualified,” the ABA’s highest ranking, but also their strong qualifications and the significance of their appointments for “the diversity and inclusiveness of our judicial system.”
With his confirmation, Chen becomes the second Asian American judge appointed to the Northern District Court of California, serving a region that is about 35% Asian American in ethnicity. The first Asian American judge appointed to this district was Lucy Koh, a Korean American and California Superior Court Judge, who was confirmed in 2010.