President Barack Obama nominated Pamela Chen today to be a district judge in the Eastern District of New York, where she has served as an assistant U.S. attorney since 1998.
If confirmed, Chen would be the second female Chinese-American federal judge in U.S. history, and also would be one of the first openly lesbian federal judges, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
"Pamela Chen will be an excellent federal judge. She is an experienced attorney with a long record of public service who possesses the legal excellence, intellect and temperament to be a first-rate judge," Schumer said. "Ms. Chen is a trailblazer in every sense of the word. Her leadership skills, her commitment to justice, and her extensive experience make her a fantastic choice for a position on the Eastern District Court."
Chen is currently the chief of the civil rights section in that U.S. attorney's office, where she prosecutes and supervises cases involving hate crimes, color of law violations and human trafficking cases. The New York Chapter of the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association lists her as a board member. Chen's parents were immigrants from China, Schumer said.
She previously was the deputy chief of the public integrity section at that office, and before that was a trial attorney in DOJ's special litigation section of the Civil Rights Division. She also worked as an associate at two Washington firms, including Arnold & Porter.