The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) celebrates and congratulates Judge Rita F. Lin on the United States Senate confirmation to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Judge Lin is the first Chinese American woman to become a U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of California. She will fill the position vacated by Judge Edward Chen, the first Asian American man to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in the District.
Judge Lin has been deeply involved in the Asian American community. Before joining the bench, she co-chaired AABA’s Judiciary Committee and co-led the judicial mentorship program, which pairs promising API candidates for the bench with local API judges. In 2017, Judge Lin was honored by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) as one of its Best Lawyers Under 40.
Judge Lin previously served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California and was a partner at Morrison Foerster. During her time at Morrison Foerster, she was co-lead counsel on a pro bono case that successfully challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the very court on which she will now sit. In 2018, Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. appointed Judge Lin to the San Francisco Superior Court.
Judge Lin’s confirmation holds special significance as this District serves a community where 27% of the total population is Asian American (2020 Census) but currently has only one active Asian American judge (Judge Vince Chhabria). This district has adjudicated many landmark decisions involving Asian Americans that have made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, including Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886), striking down a discriminatory ordinance targeting Chinese Americans, Wong Kim Ark v. United States (1898), granting citizenship to an American of Chinese ancestry born in the United States, and the Korematsu coram nobis case overturning Fred Korematsu’s conviction for defying the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry.
AABA is proud of Judge Lin’s accomplishments and thankful for the work she has performed on behalf of the Asian American community.