WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reached an agreement to allow votes on all three Asian Pacific American nominees pending on the Senate floor.
The three are Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Miranda Du, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada; and John Z. Lee, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
They have all been nominated to fill vacancies that are classified as “judicial emergencies.”
Eleven other judicial nominees were also included in the Senate deal, and it is expected that all 14 judicial nominees will receive a floor vote by May 7.
“The Asian Pacific American community is delighted by the news that Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Miranda Du, and John Z. Lee are finally scheduled to have confirmation votes in the coming weeks after much unneeded delay,” Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), said on March 16. “If confirmed, these qualified nominees will bring much needed diversity to courts in California, Nevada, and Illinois, and fill judicial seats that have been vacant for far too long.”
If confirmed, Nguyen would be the first APA female federal appellate court judge in U.S. history, Du would be the first APA Article III judge in Nevada, and Lee would be only the second APA Article III judge in the Northern District of Illinois.
“We hope that this agreement will help break the backlog of nominations still pending in the Senate, and that the final confirmation votes for all three Asian Pacific American nominees are scheduled soon,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC). “We applaud Sen. Reid for shining a spotlight on the judicial vacancy crisis and pushing these Asian Pacific American nominees forward for a vote in the coming weeks.”
There are currently 15 active APA Article III judges out of approximately 875 authorized Article III Judges — one circuit court judge and 14 district court judges. If the number of APA judges reflected the general population, then there should be approximately 11-12 APA federal circuit court judges, and 40-41 APA federal district court judges.