This Week on

September 23, 2011

President Obama is continuing his effort to diversify the federal bench with his nomination of U.S. District Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. If confirmed, Nguyen would be the first Asian Pacific American woman to sit on a federal appeals court, according to a statement from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.  Nguyen has already made history; when she joined the district court, she was the first Vietnamese-American to serve as a federal district court judge.

Nguyen came to the U.S. as a young girl, after she and her family fled Vietnam toward the end of the Vietnam War. She lived in a tent city for over a month before settling in the Los Angeles area. In her application for her district court seat, Nguyen wrote, “I nevertheless feel incredibly fortunate because those early years gave me invaluable life lessons that have shaped who I am today,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein recounted in a statement.

Nguyen would fill one of four vacancies on the Ninth Circuit, three of which are considered judicial emergencies. California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, also Asian Pacific American, would have filled one of these seats, but his nomination was filibustered in the Senate.

Also this week:

  • President Obama nominated state court judge Brian C. Wimes to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western District of Missouri.

  • The Senate unanimously approved the nominations of Judge Timothy M. Cainto serve on the U.S. District Court for South Carolina and Judge John A. Ross to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held over the nominations of five judicial nominations. The Committee also held hearings for five other judicial nominations.

  • The bench lost Judge Pamela Rymer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, after she passed away following a battle with cancer. She was 70. It also lost Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, after she passed away at the age of 79. She served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She had retired in 2003.

The Latest from “In the News”

  • “Nuffer sails through committee hearing,” from The Salt Lake Tribune
  • “Gerrard backed for federal court,” from The Omaha World Herald
  • “Loss of judge will further clog Fresno court,” from The Fresno Bee

The Latest from “Recommended Readings”

  • “Chief Justice John Roberts and Judicial Vacancies: An Avoidable Problem,” from The Houston Chronicle
  • “Diversifying the court,” from The Register-Guard
  • “Carl Tobias: Time to fill 92 lower court openings,” from The Star-Telegram

Congressional Statements

  • Sen. Feinstein on Nomination of Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to Serve on U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Sen. Leahy on Judicial Nominations