WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate on Dec. 13 confirmed Lorna Schofield by a 91-0 vote to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is the first person of Filipino descent to serve as an Article III judge in American history.

Lorna Schofield

“NAPABA congratulates Lorna Schofield on her confirmation … and is proud to have supported her nomination and confirmation,” said Wendy Shiba, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “We applaud President Obama and Sen. (Charles) Schumer (D-N.Y.) for nominating Judge Schofield to this critical court, and continuing their commitment to nominating well-qualified, diverse candidates to the federal bench.”

Prior to joining the bench, Schofield practiced law at the New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton for over 20 years. In 1991, she became the firm’s first partner of color and for the past year has served as of counsel. Before joining Debevoise, she was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (Criminal Division) for four years.

Schofield was the first Asian Pacific American to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, and she previously served as a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. In 2008, the National Law Journal named Schofield one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers.

“We congratulate Lorna Schofield on her confirmation and commend President Obama and Sen. Schumer for their commitment to diversifying the bench with exceptionally well-qualified judicial nominees,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center, member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

“The community is hopeful that our Senate leaders will work to confirm Pamela Chen, President Obama and Sen. Schumer’s nominee to the Eastern District of New York, this year. Ms. Chen’s confirmation on the heels of the Judge Schofield’s would be celebrated by all in New York City, as well as Asian Americans across the nation.”

With her confirmation, Schofield joins Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the Eastern District of New York as the only judges of Asian descent serving on the federal district courts of New York.

While Asian Pacific Americans make up approximately 14 percent of New York City’s population, only two of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York are APAs. The nomination of another well-qualified APA, Pamela Ki Mai Chen, awaits a vote on the floor of the Senate. Schumer recommended Chen for a seat in the Eastern District of New York, and President Obama nominated her in August.

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