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Asian American History

Asian American History

The Asian-American community is comprised of a multitude of ethnicities and languages.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asian-Americans comprised almost 5% of the 300 million Americans in the United States in 2005, and that number continues to grow.

Asians began to settle in American in the 1700s.  However, large scale immigration did not occur until the 19th Century, with the Chinese, followed by the Japanese, Filipinos and Koreans at the turn of the century.

Over the years, Asian-Americans have gradually gained positions on the Federal Bench:

Herbert Choy became the first Asian American to serve as a judge on an Article III court when he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1971.

Dick Wong became the first Asian American to serve on an Article III district court when he was appointed to the district court for the District of Hawaii in 1975.

Amul R. Thapar was confirmed as a federal district court judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky on December 13, 2007. Mr. Thapar becomes the first South Asian American Article III judge in the history of the United States.

Of the 876 authorized seats in the federal judiciary nationwide, there are only seven active judges of Asian-American descent

o Chin, Denny - (S.D.N.Y.)

o Ishii, Anthony W. - (E.D. Cal.)

o King, George H. (C.D. Cal.)

o Lew, Ronald S. W. (C.D. Cal.)

o Mollway, Susan Oki (D. Haw.)

o Sabraw, Dana Makoto (S.D. Cal.)

o Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro (C.D. Cal.) (senior status)

o Tashima, Atsushi Wallace (9th Cir.) (senior status)

o Thapar, Amul R.  (E.D. KY)

Kiyo Matsumoto was nominated by President Bush to serve as federal district court judge for the Eastern District of New York on March 11, 2007.  Magistrate Judge Matsumoto’s confirmation would mean that the proportion of active Asian Pacific Americans federal district court judges would finally reach one percent.