Covington & Burling last week received the apology it sought from the Senate for anti-Chinese measures the body passed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Senate on Thursday approved by unanimous consent a resolution that expresses regret for the laws that discriminated against the Chinese. A team of about a dozen Covington lobbyists pushed for the resolution's passage as part of pro bono advocacy work the firm conducted on behalf of the country's Chinese-American community.
Martin Gold, the leader of Covington’s lobbying effort, said he is “very proud” of the Senate’s action.
“I’m extraordinarily gratified to say the least,” said Gold, co-chairman of Covington's government affairs practice group.
Michael Lin, chairman of the 1882 Project, a nonpartisan group that pushed for the passage of the resolution, wrote in an e-mail that Covington “has been very supportive and instrumental to help identify key staffers of Senators where our community organizations have significant presence, so that we can mobilize the grassroots support to reach out to Senators.”
But the lobbying for a congressional expression of regret isn’t over.
The House hasn’t voted on a similar resolution introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) in May. The resolution is waiting for consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.
Congressional apologies to American racial or ethnic groups for U.S. government transgressions are rare.
Most recently, in 2009 and 2008, the House and Senate passed resolutions apologizing for slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws that discriminated against blacks. Congress also expressed remorse in 1993 for overthrowing the Kingdom of Hawaii, and apologized in 1988 for discrimination against Japanese-Americans during World War II.