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A woman lawyer could become the first Filipino-American to serve as an Article III federal judge if her nomination by US President Barack Obama is approved by the US Senate.
Article III judges enjoy lifetime tenure.
The nomination of Lorna Schofield was immediately hailed by Asian-American community leaders.
“I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench,” President Obama said in nominating Schofield and three others. “They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court.”
“As a second-generation Filipino American, Ms. Schofield’s nomination and confirmation by the Senate would make her the first in the history of the United States to serve as a federal judge,” said National Federation of Filipino American Associations chairman Ed Navarra. “Given that Asian Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary, Ms. Schofield’s addition will greatly enhance the judiciary’s diversity.”
“We congratulate Lorna Schofield on her nomination to serve as a federal district court judge on the Southern District of New York,” said Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “She is an exceptionally well-qualified nominee, and we thank both President Obama and Senator Schumer for putting her name forward to serve on such a distinguished court.”
“It is exciting to finally see a Filipina American have the opportunity to serve as a federal judge,” said KAYA: Filipino-Americans for Progress co-chairman Jason T. Lagria. “Growing up, there were not many Filipino lawyers I could look to as role models, and I hope her nomination inspires members of our community to follow in her footsteps.”
Schofield is a second-generation Filipino-American, the only child of a post-World War II Filipina immigrant who raised her after her father left them when she was just three years old.
She received a full tuition scholarship to attend Indiana University and earned her law degree from the New York University Law School in 1981.
In 2008, she was named one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers by the National Law Journal.
She served as Assistant United States Attorney in the criminal division of the Southern District of New York for four years where her significant cases involved prosecuting domestic terrorism, arms smuggling, and tax fraud.
Schofield was the first Asian American Pacific Islander to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association’s largest section, which has over 60,000 members, and has also served as a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.