Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
September 23, 2009  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Statement on Dolly Gee at Senate Confirmation Hearing  

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today issued the following statement on Dolly Gee, President Obama’s nominee to be U.S District Judge for the Central District of California:

I am honored to be here today to introduce Dolly Gee and welcome all our California nominees and their families.

I would like to congratulate the nominees – Ms. Gee, Magistrate Judges Edward Chen and Richard Seeborg, and Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Nguyen – on this historic day.

Senator Feinstein and I share the responsibility in California for providing advice and consent to the President on judicial nominations. Our bipartisan judicial advisory committees have vetted these four nominees and have given them their highest recommendation.

Senator Feinstein and I are united in our admiration for the nominees, all of whom are respected by their colleagues in the California legal community and will make outstanding additions to the federal bench.

I want to say a few words about the nominee whom I had the pleasure of recommending to the President – Dolly Gee.

Dolly is the daughter of parents who came to the United States from a small farming village in Southern China. Her father was a World War II veteran and worked as an aerospace engineer on projects such as the Space Shuttle and the Apollo missions.

Dolly’s mother, who is with us today, was a garment worker who never taught Dolly to sew because she did not want her daughter to have to stitch clothes for a living.

But her mom’s experiences as a seamstress helped inspire Dolly to pursue a career in labor and employment law to seek equal and fair treatment for workers.

Dolly graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 1981, then received her law degree from the same university in 1984.

After a federal clerkship in the Eastern District of California, she began her career in private practice at the firm of Schwartz Steinsapir in Los Angeles, specializing in labor and employment law.

In 1994, President Clinton appointed Dolly to a five year term on the Federal Service Impasses Panel, acting as a mediator and arbitrator in hundreds of disputes between federal agencies and labor unions.

She also has served as an arbitrator for Kaiser Permanente, helping to resolve medical and contract claims.

In these roles, she has learned to listen to all sides and dispassionately apply the law to the facts – skills that are essential for a judge.

Dolly has been widely praised for her work promoting racial tolerance in Los Angeles by building diverse coalitions among various bar associations.

She is a co-founder of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County and the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance, and served as President of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association.

Her nomination is historic. If confirmed, she would be the first Chinese-American woman in U.S. history to serve as a federal district court judge.

Her nomination is a source of pride to so many people – not just to her family and the Asian-American community, but to everyone who believes that our federal courts should reflect the diversity of our country.

I want to say a few words about our other distinguished nominees, who were recommended to the President by Senator Feinstein.

Judge Richard Seeborg has served as a Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of California since 2000. He has litigated complex civil cases as a partner at Morrison and Foerster, and served as a federal prosecutor, specializing in white-collar crime cases.

Based in Silicon Valley, he is an internationally recognized expert in intellectual property cases. He is well respected by the lawyers who have practiced with him and before him, as well as his colleagues on the bench.

Judge Edward Chen has also been Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of California since 2001. Before coming to the bench, Judge Chen was a respected civil rights lawyer and part of the trial team that successfully overturned the wartime conviction of Fred Korematsu.

He was the first Asian-American magistrate judge to serve in the Northern District. Today, Judge Chen takes another history-making step: If confirmed, he will be the first Asian-American judge to sit on the District Court.

Judge Jacqueline Nguyen has been a California Superior Court Judge since 2002. She is a former federal prosecutor who secured the first-ever conviction of a defendant for providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist group.

If confirmed, Judge Nguyen would be the first Vietnamese American in U.S. history to serve as federal district court judge.

And Judge Nguyen and Ms. Gee would be the first Asian-American women to serve as district court judges in California.

I am so proud to be here today with these four outstanding nominees.

We should act quickly to confirm them.

Federal judges across the country – and particularly in California – are carrying large caseloads and backlogs, due in part to the fact that we have not updated the number of federal judgeships in almost 20 years.

One of our districts, the Eastern District of California, carries the highest number of case filings per judge in the country – an astounding 1,106 per judge.

Two more districts – the Central and Northern Districts of California – are also among the top ten in the country. Our courts need help now.

By moving promptly to confirm these four excellent nominees, we can begin to address this backlog of cases and help our district courts carry out their essential role in our democracy.

I close by congratulating the nominees and their families on this momentous day, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to move swiftly to confirm these nominees to the federal bench. Thank you.