The Senate confirmed two district court judges Monday for New York: Pamela Chen for the Eastern District of New York and Katharine Failla for the Southern District of New York.
Chen, confirmed in a voice vote, will be the second female Chinese-American federal judge in U.S. history, and also would be one of the first openly lesbian federal judges, according to the office of Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Chen is currently the chief of the civil rights section in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, 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.
Katherine Failla, confirmed in a 91-0 vote, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in New York's Southern District since 2000. She has been the chief of the criminal appeals unit for the past four years and was the deputy chief of that unit for four years before that. She also spent six years handling commercial litigation and securities enforcement at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and clerked for Judge Joseph Irenas of the District of New Jersey.