Monday, August 19, 2002
Davis Names Tammy Chung Ryu to Superior Court
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
Deputy Attorney General Tammy Chung Ryu was named to the Los Angeles Superior Court Friday by Gov. Gray Davis.
Ryu, 41, will fill the seat left vacant by the death of Judge Jerold Krieger earlier this year. She becomes the first Korean American woman ever to sit on a California court, and her appointment follows on the heels of Tuesday’s naming of Jacqueline H. Nguyen, who will be the first Vietnamese American woman judge in the state.
The dual selections are significant, Ryu said Friday at a press conference attended by both English- and Korean-language media.
“This governor recognizes smaller immigrant communities that will add new diversity to the bench.,” she said. The appointments have excited the Asian American community locally, she said, adding that there has been talk of a “joint celebration event” for the two new judges.
Ryu said she has known Nguyen and her husband, former Korean American Bar Association of Southern California President Pio Kim, for a number of years.
The lack of Korean American judges has caused “a big void in the courts,” she said. Only one other Korean American, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Kim—a 1998 appointee of then-Gov. Pete Wilson—is currently serving on the state’s courts.
Ryu is currently a supervisor in the Health, Education and Welfare section of the Attorney General’s Office. She has spent her entire legal career in that section, having joined in January 1988.
She has represented over 30 agencies, including the Department of Health Services. She was counsel for DHS in a consolidated trial lasting 45 days, of over 200 lawsuits concerning unpaid Medi-Cal claims totaling $14 million.
The result was largely a victory for the state, the governor noted in a release.
Ryu served on the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation from 1996 to 1998. She is a past president of the Korean American Bar Association and served on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, the International Association of Korean Lawyers, the Korean American Family Service Center, and the Korean American Coalition, a civil rights and political action group.
She was one of five deputy attorneys general named as liaisons to various ethnic communities by Attorney General Bill Lockyer after he took office in 1999, and the third of the five—after Orange Superior Court Judge Nho Trong Nguyen and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Zaven V. Sinanian—to be named to the bench by Davis.
Those appointments show that Davis has the same commitment to diversity and equal representation that Lockyer does, Ryu said.
As liaison, she explained, she was able to bring community concerns to the attorney general. Much of the work, she explained, involved cases of consumer fraud that immigrants unfamiliar with the system might not have brought to the office’s attention otherwise.
She noted that Lockyer has attended numerous events of importance to the Korean American legal community and the larger community as well, being the first attorney general ever to participate in the Koreatown parade.
Lockyer issued a statement praising the appointment.
“For the past fourteen years Ms. Ryu has been one of our most skilled lawyers and a trusted advisor several different attorneys general,” he said. “She is also committed to public service and the principles of justice.”
Ryu was born in Seoul and moved with her family to Guam at age 10. Five years later, the family came to the East Bay.
She graduated from UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company