News / USA

    Asian-Americans Await Possible Supreme Court Nominee

    Asian-Americans Await Possible Supreme Court Nomineei
    February 21, 2016 12:13 PM
    Ever since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, names of his possible successor have been circulating in Washington and throughout the legal community. One of the possible nominees is Jacqueline Nguyen, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam. Elizabeth Lee reports from Orange County, California, home to the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam.

    Two immigrants from Asia are possible nominees for the Supreme Court. The Asian American community are eagerly awaiting President Barack Obama’s announcement.  

    “Asians in general are becoming more involved in the political system as judiciary members of the bench, so it really is just a testament of the times for Asians to now be nominated for this open seat that’s available,” said Pamela Thakur, former president and vice president of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California’s Public Interest Foundation.

    Ever since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, names of his successor have been circulating in Washington and throughout the legal community. Of the possible nominees: Sri Srinivasan and Jacqueline Nguyen.  

    Born in India, Srinivasan is a federal appellate court judge and now, well known across the South Asian community in the United States.

    “It’s all over every South Asian newspaper.  It’s not just the attorneys in the legal community. This is all over for the business community for South Asians as a whole,” said Thakur.

    Thakur said Srinivasan has a good chance of being the nominee because of his professional background, and the South Asian Community would be disappointed if he isn’t named.

    “He was clerking for Judge Sandra Day O’Conner. He was instrumental to the legal arguments for legalization of gay marriage and a lot of the justices of the Supreme Court also served in the same position as he is in now, which is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit,” said Thakur.
    Vietnamese community

    More than 50 kilometers south of Los Angeles is Little Saigon — also known as the “capital of the Vietnamese refugee community.”

    There is also excitement as news circulates that Jacqueline Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, could be a possible Supreme Court nominee.

    As Managing Editor of the Vietnamese newspaper, Nguoi Viet, Dzung Do has interviewed Nguyen in the past. He said Vietnamese Americans who escaped the Communist regime desperately want to see one of their own on the Supreme Court.   

    “They want to have somebody over here achieve something, like represent them, so they can tell the people [communist], “hey we ran away from you, but now we’re successful. So that’s kind of the feeling that people have,” Do said.

    Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen and her family fled their homeland when the communists took over South Vietnam. As refugees in the U.S., Nguyen first lived in a tent city before settling in Los Angeles.  

     “My parents were in shock because not only did they have to deal with the loss of their homeland, but also with the prospect of starting all over again, trying to figure out how to provide food and shelter and raise six children in a foreign land. Whenever job opportunities came our way my mom would take it,” said Nguyen in a video produced by United States Courts.

    US appellate court judge

    Nguyen is currently serving as U.S. appellate court judge for the Ninth Circuit.

    In an Op-Ed by Nguyen in the San Jose Mercury News, she wrote that one of the most meaningful roles as a federal judge is “to preside over naturalization ceremonies for new citizens. Looking out at their joyful faces, I am reminded of my own journey to citizenship. I tell them of my own feelings of hope and pride when I took the oath 'to support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States,' the same oath they are about to take. I remind them of the tremendous privileges of citizenship, but also of its responsibilities.”

    Longtime friend and criminal defense attorney, Mia Yamamoto, first met Nguyen when she was a law student. Yamamoto said Nguyen’s background shaped her dedication to service throughout her legal career.

    ”She passed up a lot of more advantageous and certainly more lucrative options in order to pursue her passion for public service.” Yamamoto added, “The fact that we’re talking about it right now is a triumph.”

    Bao Nguyen, Vietnamese American and Mayor of Garden Grove said the two Asian Americans who are possible nominees reflect U.S. society in 2016.

    “I think this is a point in America where we value the immigrant experience, we value the diversity of what America is all about cause that’s really our foundation. It’s really the roots of our nation,” said Nguyen.                 

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Richard
    February 21, 2016 5:52 PM
    Vietnamese Americans, both naturalized and born, are already renowned in America and throughout the international community, including Vietnam, for their "conservative" citizen-centric participation in our constitutional republic. Vietnamese Americans are well represented in business, government service, the armed forces, and in all professions. The article does not state what kind of jurist Ms. Nguyen is -- one who interprets the constitution through original intent, or one who legislates from the bench, or somewhere in between. It is not likely the American people and their elected representatives will tolerate any more court packing from this president.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    February 22, 2016 9:48 AM
    [Long time friend Mia Yamamoto said Nguyen’s background shaped her dedication to service throughout her legal career.

    "She passed up a lot of more advantageous and, certainly, more lucrative options in order to pursue her passion for public service," said Yamamoto, a criminal defense attorney.]
    Perhaps the above comment by her friend is the most important clue to what kind of Justice she would be , a person who yearn to serve the country and the peoples who shelter her and her family when they were down and trodden, when they were hunted, oppressed in their own land . She would surely learn the importance of true justice , fairness, compassion and prudence .

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 21, 2016 12:17 PM
    Truth be told... Asians accomplishments in America are great and history recorded, [but], deciding on an Asian to balance the racial makeup of the Supreme Court should not be the deciding factor for an Asian to be selected for the Supreme Court, because the deciding factor should be for who's best qualified to administer justice under the US constitution and laws of the United States?

    PS; The Obama criterion for selecting his federal judges will be for those who express (empathy for unwed moms, poor, African-Americans, gays, disabled, or old) is a history recorded fact, and seems to contradict the judicial oath of supreme court justices? .. That oath? .. "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as under the constitution and laws of the United States." .. So help me God.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 22, 2016 11:59 AM
    Hey Anonymous _ Obama himself declared in a history recorded speech his prerequisite criterion for selecting federal judges, and if a Supreme Court Justice nominee passed his litmus test on his criterion (to have empathy for young teenage unwed moms, the poor, and African-Americans, and gays, and disabled or old) in making their decisions, [then], it'd be impossible to honor and be true to the "Judicial Oath of Supreme Court Justices" _ wouldn't it be? .. Obama shouldn't have given his (bias) prerequisite criterion for selecting his federal judges, should he have? .. Think about it? .. A federal judge can't be (bias) in their decisions for Obama, and honestly serve America with equal justice too?
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    February 22, 2016 10:04 AM
    your PS remark seems quite prejudice about the president's choice no matter whom he will nominate . From past experience, we had Justices who were nominated by republican presidents ,yet making more liberal ruling and vice versa with Justices who were nominated by democratic presidents making conservative ruling.

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