Last week, the Senate voted to confirm Miranda Mai Du to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. Judge Du is the first Asian American Pacific Islander to serve as an Article III judge in Nevada and the second Vietnamese American to become a federal judge.
Nevada Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had suggested Judge Du to President Obama, who in turn nominated her.
Judge Du’s confirmation brings the number of AAPI federal judges to 16 – double the number when President Obama took office just over three years ago. When the President took office, there were only eight AAPI Article III federal judges out of 874, and there hadn’t been an AAPI judge on a U.S. Court of Appeals since 2004. Now, there are 16 AAPI judges on the federal bench and, in 2010, Judge Denny Chin was unanimously confirmed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
In all, almost six percent of President Obama’s confirmed judges have been AAPI, compared to just one percent for Presidents Bush and Clinton. President Obama has quadrupled the number of AAPI female federal judges in history, including the first women judges of South Asian, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese descent. He also has nominated Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American to become a federal judge, and to be the first AAPI woman to serve on a U.S. Court of Appeals.
“President Obama’s judges and judicial nominees not only have the necessary intellect, fair-mindedness, and integrity for the federal bench, but also resemble the nation they serve,” Christopher Kang, Senior Counsel to the President, said in a White House blog.
Judge Du and her family fled from Vietnam by boat when she was eight years old. After spending a year in refugee camps in Malaysia, her family immigrated to Alabama. Judge Du attended the University of California-Davis, where she graduated with honors, and the University of California-Berkeley.
“[Judge Du’s confirmation] is an important milestone for the AAPI community,” Kang said. “And while we are very proud of all of the “firsts” that the President has nominated and the Senate has confirmed, we’re already looking forward to the ‘seconds’ and ‘thirds’ and beyond.”