WASHINGTON — On Sept. 22, President Obama nominated Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) congratulates Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American woman to be nominated for a federal appellate judge position.
“OCA is proud to recognize the historic nomination of Jacqueline Nguyen. Currently, Asian Pacific Americans represent almost 10 percent of the population in the Ninth Circuit. However, there are no seats currently filled by an Asian American. This is truly a milestone for our community,” said OCA President Ken Lee.
Nguyen, along with her five siblings, fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975. Upon arriving in the U.S., she and her family were placed in a refugee camp in Camp Pendleton. She worked with her mother at a dental office and on weekends at a donut shop. Nguyen managed to study in between jobs, earning a scholarship at Occidental College.
“Judge Nguyen has been a trailblazer, displaying an outstanding commitment to public service throughout her career,” Obama said. “I am honored to nominate her today for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals and confident she will serve the American people with fairness and integrity.”
Nguyen has legal experience in both the private and public sectors, working as a litigation associate at Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP. She was appointed to the state bench as judge of the Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles in 2002 and remained a judge on that court until she was appointed to the federal bench in 2009.
“Judge Nguyen’s legal achievements and amazing life journey reflect the work ethic she will bring to the bench, and we hope for a speedy confirmation,” said OCA Interim Executive Director Tom Hayashi.
Nguyen received her undergraduate degree from Occidental College in 1987 and her law degree from UCLA in 1991. She is a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association and a member of numerous minority bar associations in the Los Angeles region.
OCA also supports the recent nomination of Miranda Mai Du to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. If confirmed, she would be only the third Asian Pacific American to serve as an Article III judge.
Du’s tough journey began at the tender age of 9. Her father, a former member of the U.S.-supported South Vietnam army, took Du and other her relatives and fled the country by boat, seeking refuge in Malaysia. After almost a year in a refugee camp, her family was able to seek sponsorship and asylum in America because of her father’s position in the army.
After settling in America, Du applied herself in school during her youth and eventually earned a dual undergraduate degree in history and in economics at UC Davis. She later received her law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law in 1994.
“In a state where Asian Americans make up nearly 10 percent of the population, this represents a significant milestone for our community,” said Hayashi. “Asian Americans are dramatically underrepresented in our courts. Her exemplary work in public service and perseverance in the face of extraordinary hardship demonstrate that she is well suited for this nomination.”
Du practices law at McDonald Carano Wilson. She is the chair of the Employment and Labor Law Group, whose focus is litigation employment and civil cases. She received a law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law in 1994 and earned dual undergraduate degrees in history and economics from UC Davis in 1991.
Du was selected as a “Top 20 under 40” Young Professionals in the Reno-Tahoe Area in 2008. She was also nominated as a Woman of Achievement by the Nevada Women’s Fund in 2007.