Asian groups push for Scalia re­place­ment

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­

As the de­bate heats up over a Supreme Court jus­tice nom­i­na­tion, two Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can (APA) groups are work­ing to urge US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to con­sider and nom­i­nate an APA ju­rist to “en­rich the court by adding a pre­vi­ously un­rep­re­sented per­spec­tive”.

The Na­tional Asian Pa­cific Is­lan­der Pros­e­cu­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (NAPIPA), a San Jose, Cal­i­for­ni­abased non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to ad­vanc­ing the in­ter­ests of the API com­mu­nity, and the Sil­i­con Val­ley Chap­ter of Asian Pa­cific Is­lan­der Amer­i­can Pub­lic Affairs (APAPA) have been hold­ing dis­cus­sions and fundrais­ers to pro­mote APA judges as a re­place­ment for the late As­so­ciate Jus­tice An­tonin Scalia, who passed away on Feb 13.

Their list of can­di­dates in­cludes Good­win Liu, a Chi­nese-Amer­i­can as­so­ciate jus­tice on the Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court; Sri Srin­isa­van, an In­dian-Amer­i­can judge on the Court of Ap­peals for the District of Columbia Cir­cuit; Denny Chin, a Chi­nese-Amer­i­can judge on the Court of Ap­peals for the Se­cond Cir­cuit; and Jac­que­line Nguyen, a Viet­namese-Amer­i­can judge on the Court of Ap­peals for the Ninth Cir­cuit and the only fe­male AsianAmer­i­can Judge in the fed­eral ap­pel­late court sys­tem.

“With im­por­tant cases re­gard­ing education, dis­crim­i­na­tion and im­mi­gra­tion loom­ing, the im­por­tance of hav­ing a bench that matches the di­ver­sity of the coun­try can­not be over­stated,” said Paul T Jhin, pres­i­dent of the NAPIPA.

“The di­ver­sity of our coun­try is one of our great­est strengths,” Jhin wrote in a Feb 28 let­ter to Pres­i­dent Obama. “When the men and women who de­liver jus­tice look more like our coun­try, con­fi­dence grows in our le­gal sys­tem.”

In Jan­uary 2009, there were only eight APA fed­eral judges in the United States, and to­day there are 25, in­clud­ing four at the Court of Ap­peals level. But 25 APA fed­eral judges out of 870 po­si­tions is not enough for the NAPIPA.

Th­ese num­bers still re­flect a per-capita un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the na­tion’s fastest-grow­ing group, and APIs make up al­most 6 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion and only 2 per­cent of the fed­eral bench, the group said in a state­ment, adding that no API ju­rist has ever even been in­ter­viewed for the US Supreme Court.

Ac­cord­ing to a Pew Re­search Cen­ter re­port, Asians are pro­jected to rise to 14 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion and out­num­ber His­pan­ics as the na­tion’s largest im­mi­grant group by 2065.

The num­ber of Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers in 2012 al­most dou­bled from 2000, and by 2040, that num­ber is ex­pected to dou­ble yet again.

Asian Amer­i­cans’ views are of­ten over­looked be­cause there’s a lack of voice and ac­tion from the group, ac­cord­ing to Char­lie Huang, a Chi­nese Amer­i­can and deputy district at­tor­ney for Santa Clara County, Cal­i­for­nia.

“In the 227-year-his­tory of the United States, no Asian Amer­i­can has even been in­ter­viewed for the po­si­tion of the Supreme Court Jus­tice,” said Huang, who en­cour­aged the en­tire com­mu­nity to get be­hind the move­ment and help pro­mote the mes­sage to Pres­i­dent Obama and the US Se­nate to at least con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of an Asian-Amer­i­can Supreme Court Jus­tice.

“Th­ese guys (the four ju­rists NAPIPA rec­om­mended) have worked re­ally hard. They would take us a long way to em­pow­er­ing our com­mu­nity,” he said.

To Don Sun, pres­i­dent of the Sil­i­con Val­ley branch of APAPA, it would be a sig­nif­i­cant step to have an Asian-Amer­i­can ju­rist nom­i­nated for the Supreme Court, even if he or she may not ul­ti­mately be ap­pointed.

“If you don’t even think about it, you will never make it,” said Sun, who said he has been closely fol­low­ing the case of for­mer New York City po­lice of­fi­cer Peter Liang.

Tens of thou­sands of mem­bers from the Chi­nese com­mu­nity held ral­lies in more than 40 cities on Feb 20 to sup­port the Chi­ne­seAmer­i­can rookie of­fi­cer whose man­slaugh­ter con­vic­tion was seen by many as un­fair.

“I think the ral­lies are only a be­gin­ning. Chi­nese Amer­i­cans should get more in­volved in the na­tion’s ju­di­ciary and, maybe, they can start by not evad­ing jury duty,” he said.

In the 227-year his­tory of the US, no Asian Amer­i­can has even been in­ter­viewed for the po­si­tion of Supreme Court jus­tice.”

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