Judicial Endorsement Process

The Judiciary Committee works to promote the appointment of Asian Americans to the federal and state judiciary and other governmental positions, evaluates potential candidates, and identifies and encourages Asian Americans to apply for judicial positions.

Procedure for Judicial Candidates Seeking AABA Endorsement

A. Requesting the Endorsement

  1. Judicial candidates: Candidates seeking AABA’s endorsement should send a letter requesting the endorsement and enclose a copy of his/her completed judicial application form or Personal Data Questionnaire (PDQ) and any pertinent writing samples to the co-chairs of AABA’s Judicial Nominations/Public Appoints Committee (“the Committee”).
  2. Candidates should mail their requests for endorsement at least three months prior to the date endorsement is required. Any requests for endorsement mailed less than three months prior to the date required may not be considered by AABA.
  3. The co-chairs of the Committee for 2020 are as follows:
    Alice Jensen

    Phone: (415) 705-2500 Email: jensenA@sec.gov

    Michael Ng
    Kobre & Kim
    Phone: (415) 582-4803 Email: michael.ng@kobrekim.com

    Mark Punzalan
    Chan Punzalan LLP
    Phone: (650) 481-8112 Email: mark@chanpunzalan.com

  1. Confidentiality: The names and application materials of all candidates seeking judicial and public appointments shall be kept confidential by the co-chairs of the Committee and the AABA Board of Directors (“Board”). Please note that members of the Committee may contact any person named in the candidate’s application materials as part of the endorsement consideration process. If the candidate does not want a particular person contacted by the Committee, please indicate this in the letter requesting endorsement.

B. The Evaluation Process

The Committee shall select one of its members to act as point person on each request for endorsement. The candidate has no input or involvement in selecting the point person or other members of the committee who will evaluate the candidate’s request for endorsement.
  1. The point person will conduct an initial review of the application materials and recommend a process to all other members of the Committee.
  2. The point person will contact the candidate to arrange for an interview by phone or in person by at least two members of the Committee. The Committee may also contact references provided in the candidate’s PDQ for additional information.
  3. The point person will make a recommendation to other members of the Committee as to whether the Committee should recommend endorsement of the candidate to the AABA Board. Committee members will vote by majority rule of all Committee members voting as to whether the Committee will recommend endorsement to the AABA Board. The ratings used by the committee are the same as those used by the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation:
    • Exceptionally Well Qualified: Possessing qualities and attributes considered to be of   remarkable or extraordinary superiority so that, without real doubt, such person is deemed to be fitted to perform the judicial function with distinction
    • Well Qualified: Possessing qualities and attributes considered to be worthy of special note as indicative of a superior fitness to perform the judicial function with a high degree of skill and effectiveness.
    • Qualified: Possessing qualities and attributes considered to equip a person to perform the judicial function adequately and satisfactorily.
    • Not Qualified: Possessing less that the minimum qualities and attributes considered necessary to perform the judicial function adequately and satisfactorily.
  4. The AABA Board will consider the Committee’s recommendation at its next Board meeting. The AABA Board meets monthly on the first Tuesday of every month. The point person from the Committee will present the Committee’s recommendation to the Board. The Board members will vote by majority rule as to whether AABA should affirm, reject, or request additional information for the endorsement. The point person will handle any requests by the Board for additional information.
  5. Upon approval by the AABA board, the point person on the Committee will draft a letter of support for the candidate. The letter of endorsement will be mailed directly to the Governor’s Office and/or the Judicial Appointments Secretary (for state judgeships) or to Senators and/or other appropriate review committee (for federal judgeships). A copy of the letter of endorsement will also be mailed to the candidate’s home address, the AABA Board President, and the AABA Board Liaison to the Committee.
  6. If the AABA Board declines endorsement of a candidate, the point person on the Committee will draft a letter informing the candidate of that fact.
  7. The Committee and the Board will make every effort to complete this process within three months. In some circumstances, the point person will inform the candidate if the endorsement process is expected to take longer than three month.
  8. The candidate should contact the point person of the Committee to inform the Committee of any important changes in their application or to discuss any questions the candidate may have regarding his/her request for AABA endorsement. We would also appreciate hearing from the candidate as to ultimate outcome of their efforts to seek judicial or public appointment.

C. The Criteria

When reviewing a candidate’s request for endorsement, the Committee and the Board will consider the following factors:

  1. Whether the candidate is a member of a minority attorneys’ organization.
  2. Whether the candidate has demonstrated commitment to the Asian Pacific American community, to any other minority group, or to a disenfranchised group such as the homeless or battered women.
  3. Whether the candidate has ideas on how to improve the judicial process or access to the legal system.
  4. Integrity/character
  5. Knowledge of the law and intellectual capacity
  6. Legal experience (criminal or civil litigation or trials, hearings before administrative or regulatory tribunals, in-house counsel experience, transactional work, academia, legal writing and analysis, mediation, arbitration, negotiation) and professional ability
  7. Work ethic
  8. General reputation in the legal community, especially with APA attorneys
  9. Civic/community affairs
  10. Commitment to diversity and equal justice
  11. Temperament/ability to judge
  12. Intellectual curiosity

Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area

P.O. Box 387 San Francisco, CA 94104

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