President Barack Obama last Friday nominated L.A. Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen (pictured) to the U.S. District Court, reports the Metropolitan News here. Read the White House press release here. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Judge Nguyen will be the first Vietnamese-American judge on the federal bench.
A native of Dalat, Vietnam and a daughter of a South Vietnamese colonel, Judge Nguyen came to the U.S. in 1975 when communist forces overran the country. She was graduated from Occidental College in L.A. – the same school where the President spent his freshman year before transferring to Harvard. (Young Obama had left just when young Nguyen arrived.) After Oxy, Jacqueline Nguyen went to UCLA Law.
She joined Musick Peeler & Musick, Peeler & Garrett, one of L.A.’s top firms. After four years in private practice, Judge Nguyen moved to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California, where she eventually became a deputy chief of the General Crimes Section.
If confirmed, Judge Nguyen would fill the seat left vacant when U.S. District Judge Nora Manella left to join the California Court of Appeals. Coincidentally, Judge Manella was the U.S. Attorney for the Central District when the young litigator Jacqueline Nguyen joined the office.
Back in 1991, when Judge Nguyen graduated from UCLA School of Law, there were still very few Viets going to a top 15 law school. Among her classmates is one lawyer now practicing in Little Saigon: Vickie Hang Le.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association has issued a press release applauding the nomination of Judge Nguyen. Read it here.
The APA Bar Association of Los Angeles, which Judge Nguyen helped found and once served as its president, also issued a statement, here, applauding the nomination.
A U.S. district judgeship is a position covered by Article III of the U.S. Constitution. Each judge is nominated by the President and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The position is a lifetime tenure, removable only by impeachment by the U.S. Congress.
The Central District of California, to which Judge Nguyen has been nominated, has a sprawling jurisdiction that covers the entire swath from the coast to the Arizona border, reaching San Luis Obispo in the north and Orange County in the south.
Update: Thanks, Bồi Bút, for the link to Judge Jacqueline Nguyen’s picture.