WASHINGTON D.C. – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) hailed the nomination of Filipino American Lorna Schofield by President Barack Obama on April 25 as federal district court judge for the southern district of New York.
"As a second-generation Filipino American, Ms. Schofield's nomination and confirmation by the Senate would make her the first in the history of the United States to serve as a federal judge," says NaFFAA National Chairman Ed Navarra. "Given that Asian Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary, Ms. Shofield's addition will greatly enhance the judiciary's diversity."
Adds Rozita Lee, NaFFAA National Vice Chair Emeritus, "We are elated with her nomination and our community is very proud to see a Filipino American achieve this honor and distinction. Given her professional background and experience, she will no doubt bring a unique perspective to the U.S. District Court."
Ms. Shofield is the only child of a Filipina mother who came to the United States during the post-World War II reconstruction of the Philippines.
Mother and daughter remained in the Midwest after Ms. Shofield's father left the family when she was only three years old. She grew up in a blue collar community and received a full tuition scholarship to attend Indiana University.
She earned her law degree from the New York University Law School and in 2008 was named one of the nation's 50 most influential minority lawyers by the National Law Journal. She served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for four years before joining the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP where she is currently serving as Of Counsel.
Asian Pacific American leaders have also applauded the nomination.
"We congratulate Lorna Schofield on her nomination," said Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). "She is an exceptionally well-qualified nominee, and we thank both President Obama and Senator Charles Schumer for putting her name forward to serve on such a distinguished court. If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Schofield will be the first Filipino American in the history of the United States to serve as an Article III judge."
Ms. Schofield was the first Asian Pacific American to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), which is the ABA 's largest section with over 60,000 members, and has also served as a member of the ABA 's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.
"We commend President Obama for nominating Lorna Schofield to be a federal district court judge," said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.
Asian Pacific Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary. In the New York City area, approximately ten percent of the population is Asian Pacific American. However, of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York , none is Asian Pacific American in the Southern District and only one is Asian Pacific American in the Eastern District.