By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge
Donald Trump has named another Filipino American lawyer to a key position in his administration, reported the New York Times. He named George Conway, husband of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, to head the civil division of the Justice Department.
“I didn’t realize that he is Filipino American,” said Rudy Asercion, chairman of the National Organization of Filipino American Republicans and an elected member of the San Francisco Republican Party Central Committee. “My wife says that his mother is Filipino, but we are still not sure about that.”
Mary Villena of Jacksonville, Florida,believes Conway’s potential nomination will do little to benefit most Filipino Americans.
“Looking at his biography and his clients—they don’t scream social justice to me,” she added. “I really don’t think his Filipino heritage would be influential or of benefit to us.”
Eric Lachica, a Filipino American advocate and chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Filipino American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, wanted to give Conway a chance.
He told the Inquirer, a Filipino publication, Conway might find solutions to some of the issues that Filipino Americans face.
“I really don’t know anything about his background, but I would like to see his community participation and find out whether it is going to be an asset or liability,” Lachica said.
Conway is a partner at the New York law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The law firm’s website says Conway has extensive experience in litigation involving securities, mergers and acquisitions, contracts and antitrust cases. He graduated from Harvard and then Yale Law School. He joined the law firm in 1988, soon after his graduation from law school.
Preferring to remain in the background, Conway’s Republican credentials are solid.
As a partner in the law firm, one of those high-profile suits that he led involved representing tobacco company Philip Morris. “Mr. Conway played a substantial role in prosecuting one of the most prominent defamation cases in recent memory (Philip Morris v. American Broadcasting Cos.),” said the law firm.
The New York Times said of that suit’s result, “In an extraordinary act of contrition, ABC News publicly apologized last night for asserting in a news program that two giant tobacco companies add extra nicotine to their cigarettes.” That apology was criticized by anti-smoking advocates, with The Times quoting one professor as saying, “Philip Morris has bullied a major television network into apologizing for what was essentially a true story.”
Conway’s law firm says he also “represented the National Football League in trademark and antitrust litigation against the Dallas Cowboys” and “won an important appeal under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 on behalf of Swiss installation artist Christoph Büchel in the artist’s highly publicized dispute with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.”
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