On Dec. 15, President Biden announced his 11th round of judicial nominees, which included Judge Kenly Kiya Kato to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Kato’s parents and grandparents were imprisoned during World War II alongside 120,000 other persons of Japanese ancestry. Her focus on constitutional protections and equal opportunity to justice was influenced by her family’s incarceration experience.

Since 2014, Kato has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California. She has also held her own private practice and once served as a deputy federal public defender in the Los Angeles area. After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law, she served as a law clerk for Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California.

“We applaud the diversity of President Biden’s nominees to the court, including the recent Senate confirmations of judges Lucy H. Koh and Jennifer Sung to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” the JACL said in a statement. “Asian American and women jurists remain underrepresented in our federal courts and these nominations and appointments help to close that gap.”

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