The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Judge Rita Lin to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a 52-45 vote. According to KRON 4, Lin will be the first Chinese American woman to serve at a lifetime capacity on that court.
The 45-year-old judge is also one of the few judges to be open about having a disability, Bloomberg Law News reports. Lin has used hearing aids since childhood.
Lin earned both her Bachelor’s degree and her law degree from Harvard University. She was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California from 2014 to 2018. For the past five years, she has served as an associate judge on the San Francisco County Superior Court.
During her time as an attorney, Lin was a fierce advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, HuffPost reports. She was co-counsel for a lawsuit in 2012 that led to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Defense of Marriage Act declared that defining marriage as an arrangement between one man and one woman was unconstitutional.
Lin will replace Edward Chen, who was appointed and confirmed during the Obama administration, Bloomberg Law News reports.
Prior to her confirmation, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued a statement in support of Lin, noting the lack of AAPI representation on the U.S. District Court in Northern California despite the state’s large AAPI population.
“If confirmed, Judge Lin would be the only active AAPI woman serving on the bench in the Northern District of California and only the second in the court’s history,” the coalition said, according to HuffPost. “California is home to nearly 6.5 million AAPI people, yet this court did not have an AAPI judge until 2010 … The confirmation of Judge Lin would be an important step towards ensuring that our federal courts reflect and represent the diversity of our nation.”
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