HRC Blog

Pamela Chen Makes History With Senate Confirmation

Yesterday the U.S. Senate confirmed Pamela Chen to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  She is the first openly-gay Asian Pacific American to be confirmed as a judge on the federal bench.

Chen spent over thirteen years with the Department of Justice.  For the last eight of those years, she served as the Chief of the Civil Rights Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York. As Chief, she supervised the investigation and prosecution of criminal civil rights matters, including hate crimes, color-of-law offenses and human trafficking. Chen’s parents were immigrants from China. Her father was born near Shanghai and her mother was born in Changsha, the capital of Sichuan Province.

Chen is the fifth openly-gay individual to be confirmed to a federal judgeship with lifetime tenure, four of whom were nominated by President Barack Obama.  The other was nominated by President Bill Clinton.  Four other openly-gay nominees are currently pending in the Senate.  One of which, if confirmed, would be the first openly-gay federal appellate court judge.

HRC has actively supported and advocated on the behalf of Chen. 

We congratulate her on a much deserved achievement and thank the White House and Senate for their continued commitment to nominating and confirming well-qualified, diverse individuals.

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