The United States Senate today confirmed Lorna Schofield as the first Filipino American Article III federal judge.
She will serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Schofield was previously an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She then practiced law at the New York law firm Debevoise and Plimpton for more than 20 years, becoming the firm’s first partner of color in 1991. Judge Schofield was also the first Asian American to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association. In 2008, the National Law Journal named her one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers.
With today’s confirmation, Judge Schofield will join Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the Eastern District of New York as the only judges of Asian descent serving on the federal district courts of New York. While Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) make up approximately 10% of New York City’s population, only two of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York are AAPI.
Read comments here from Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Congressman Mike Honda, CAPAC Chair Emeritus.
Judge Schofield shares a place in history with Judge Alfred Laureta, a Filipino American who served as the District Judge for the District of the Northern Mariana Islands from 1978 to 1988. Although technically a federal judge, those appointed to the District of Northern Mariana Islands are not appointed as lifetime tenure Article III judges, but for 10-year terms under Article I of the U.S. Constitution.