HomeBad Ass AsiansSeveral Asian Americans Mentioned as Possible Nominees to U.S. Supreme Court

Several Asian Americans Mentioned as Possible Nominees to U.S. Supreme Court

Jackie NguyenBy Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia has opened up the possibility that President Obama could nominate an Asian American to succeed him.

An article by Reuters names two possible nominees, Federal Judge Sri Srinivasan who sits on the court of appeals in the District of Columbia, and Jackie Nguyen who has been on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco since 2012.

The Vietnamese American escaped South Vietnam near the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and lived in a refugee camp in California. She has been a federal prosecutor and superior court judge in Los Angeles. She is the first Vietnamese American federal judge and the first Asian American woman federal judge. Her husband, Pio S. Kim, is a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice.Sri Srinivasan, Nominee Court of Appeals District of Columbia

Srinivasan is the first Indian American on the court of appeals in the District of Columbia,has argued 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and was a clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Kamala HarrisOther possible Asian American appointees mentioned have been Goodwin Liu who currently sits on the California Supreme Court and California Attorney General Kamala Harris who is running for the U.S. Senate. Both Liu and Harris were mentioned in a blog by Keith Kamisugi for CAPA, an Asian American political action committee.

Harris seems a very unlikely nominee at this time given that she is the leading contender to be elected to the U.S. Senate. The former San Francisco District Attorney certainly has the chops to be a supreme court justice. She is the first Indian American Attorney General in California and also the first African American. Goodwin Liu

Liu was nominated by President Obama to become a district judge in San Francisco, but the Republicans successfully blocked his nomination and he eventually withdrew. Shortly after, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed him to the state supreme court.

Republicans are likely to do everything to block anyone President Obama nominates. Several GOP presidential candidates have called for President Obama to leave the seat open until a new president is elected, but the President has made it clear he intends to fulfill his constitutional duty.

Several in the Asian American community are already calling on President Obama to nominate an Asian American.

The AAPI Victory Fund, which aims to mobilize the political power of the more than
18 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country, urges President
Obama to build upon the important strides he has made with our community and nominate
the nation’s first Asian American or Pacific Islander Supreme Court Justice. AAPIs
are the fastest-growing segment of the population, and having our nation’s full
rich diversity represented on the Supreme Court would have a profound and positive
impact on the future or our country. Leveraging their political power, AAPI voters
will remember and stand by the candidates who support their communities and the
issues that are important to them.”

Mary Tablante of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans echoed that opinion.

“President Obama has an unprecedented record of appointing judges with not only the highest qualifications, integrity, and fair-mindedness, but who also reflect the diversity of our great nation–including the appointment of more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders than all presidents in history combined.

I am proud to have played a leading role in advising the President on judicial nominations, and NCAPA urges President Obama to make history once again, by nominating of the first Asian American or Pacific Islander Supreme Court Justice.”


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  1. Lucy Koh, judge in the Northern District of California, who is also the wife of California Supreme Court justice Tino Cuellar (also a possible nominee). Koh is known as the judge who presided over the high-profile Apple v. Samsung patent case, and has BA and JD law degrees from Harvard.


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