Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Senate to Take Up Nguyen Nomination to Federal Court Next Week
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The U.S. Senate has scheduled a vote on Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California next week.
Prior to leaving for the Thanksgiving recess on Saturday, senators unanimously agreed to vote on President Obama’s nomination of Nguyen next Tuesday at noon Eastern time, following 30 minutes of debate. With a unanimous committee vote and a 60-senator Democratic majority, the nomination is expected to be confirmed.
Nguyen, 44, would be the first Obama-appointed federal judge in California. She was the first Vietnamese American woman to serve on the California bench, and will be the first Vietnamese American to serve as an Article III federal judge if confirmed by the Senate.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein recommended her appointment to the president earlier this year.
The jurist was named to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Gray Davis in August 2002, prior to which she was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District.
Nguyen has been a member of a number of Asian American bar groups, including the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Orange County, the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, the Korean American Bar Association and the Japanese American Bar Association. She helped found and was president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
She was also a board member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
Nguyen was born in Dalat, South Vietnam, the daughter of a South Vietnamese Army major who worked closely with U.S. intelligence officers. The family fled after the fall of the government in 1975, and lived for several months in an Army tent at Camp Pendleton.
After leaving Vietnam and Camp Pendleton, Nguyen grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Occidental College in Highland Park in 1987, several years after Obama attended the school. She earned her law degree from UCLA.
Nguyen began her legal career in 1991 as a litigation associate with the law firm of Musick, Peeler & Garrett. She moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1995 and served in the Public Corruption and Government Fraud Section. Her job included overseeing Department of Defense fraud prosecutions.
She later served as a deputy chief of the General Crimes Section, where she was responsible for training and supervising new federal prosecutors in the Central District.
Nguyen, who was rated well-qualified for the position by the American Bar Association, would fill a seat that has been vacant since Nora Manella was named to this district’s Court of Appeal in 2006.
In addition to scheduling the Nguyen vote, the Senate late Saturday confirmed two district judges and three U.S. attorney nominees by unanimous voice votes.
The new district judges are Birmingham attorney Abdul K. Kallon, a labor and employment lawyer, who will serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, and Christina Reiss, the top antitrust and consumer protection lawyer in the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, who will sit in the District of Vermont.
Confirmed as U.S. attorneys were Kenyen Ray Brown in the Southern District of Alabama, Stephanie M. Rose in the Northern District of Iowa, and Nicholas A. Klinefeldt in the Southern District of Iowa.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company