Obama Nominates First Asian-American Lesbian Federal Judge

Today, President Obama nominated Pamela Ki Mai Chen to serve on a New York district court — upon confirmation, Chen would be the first Asian-American lesbian federal judge in US history. Chen’s nomination will expire unless the Senate confirms her before the end of this year.

“I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench,” President Obama said today in a press release. “Pamela Chen has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”

President Obama’s nomination came at the recommendation of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has actively worked to increase the diversity of the federal bench. Schumer notably recommended two of the three openly-gay federal judges serving today.

“Pamela Chen will be an excellent federal judge. She is an experienced attorney with a long record of public service who possesses the legal excellence, intellect and temperament to be a first-rate judge,” Schumer said. “Ms. Chen is a trailblazer in every sense of the word. Her leadership skills, her commitment to justice, and her extensive experience make her an fantastic choice for a position on the Eastern District Court.”

Chen has a strong background in civil rights, and currently heads the Civil Rights Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York. A graduate of Georgetown Law, Chen is a first-generation American daughter of Chinese immigrants. A federal judgeship is a lifetime appointment. President Obama has nominated five LGBTQ people to the federal court, three of whom were approved and one who withdrew. There are approximately 900 federal judges.

Media Resources: White House Press Release 8/3/12; Washington Blade 8/3/12; Human Rights Campaign 8/3/12; The Advocate 8/3/12

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