Senate Confirms First Gay Asian-American Woman to Federal Bench

In a voice vote, the Senate today confirmed Pamela Ki Mai Chen, a Brooklyn prosecutor, to the federal bench for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Chen is the first openly gay Asian American on the federal bench.

The Legal Times reports.

ChenChen is currently the chief of the civil rights section in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, where she prosecutes and supervises cases involving hate crimes, color of law violations and human trafficking cases. The New York Chapter of the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association lists her as a board member. Chen's parents were immigrants from China, Schumer said.

The Washington Blade adds:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who recommended the nomination to Obama, praised the Senate for confirming Chen in a statement and said her background will serve her well on the federal bench.

“Ms. Chen’s wealth of experience and devotion to public service make it clear that she will be an excellent judge,” Schumer said. “Ms. Chen has proven time and again that she is a leader and a pioneer in the legal field. I have every confidence that she will serve her jurisdiction well.”

Said Obama at the time of Chen's nomination: “I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench. Pamela Chen has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”


  1. NotA says

    Towleroad, October 21, 2019: “Senate Confirms first Gay American Who Was Born on a Tuesday in the Rain and Who Went to a Public High School to the Bench”

  2. Dalurker says

    i respect all LGBT people fighting for equality and making sure we have a place at the dinner table. However, something about LGBT who seek higher positions in office, politics, as Judges….I really, REALLY admire that. They are who we can depend on to ensure ALL American citizens, incluidng LGBT, are treated fairly and with equal respect.

  3. Jim says

    @ NOTA
    Of course heterosexuals like yourself want to hetero-wash the importance of openly gay people being represented in significant manners like on a Federal bench. It is a threat to your homophobic status quo. You’d rather see business as usual…policies and judges who shun gay people, while gays wait patiently on the sidelines.

  4. USC Trojans Fan says

    Yes. We’ll continue to point out when members of our community succeed, triumph, and attain noble positions. We, a community who was rounded up and killed in the holocaust. Imprisoned not long ago in this country. And STILL stoned to death in parts of the world for simply being gay, will continue to champion our rights and shed light on those who come out and role model what it means to be LGBT in 2013. If that bothers you….OH EFFING WELL! You’ll get over it. Or not. But really, you’re type is slowly yet surely more and more irrelevant.

  5. P.J says

    Anyone else ever wonder if UFFDA is David Hearne. UFFDA constantly makes slams at gay people, or makes comments to make gay people look bad (like the comment about this phenomenal women’s hair) in an attempt to ivite bashing toward gay posters.
    We see your tactic UFFDA.

  6. Marcus-ATL says

    The gay community is a rich community full of history, struggles, victories, a common thread of love, diversity, fight for equality, and one where we’re still behind in terms of being treated as equals. You’ll absolutely hear us not only celebrate those among us in influential places who are openly out, but you’ll see us reference them, be proud of them support them, encourage them, and absolutely make note of them.
    Please do know that’s not going to change.
    And please do know, your heterosexual privelege needs to be checked.
    Any questions?

  7. Duration & Convexity says

    Wow. What a wonderful moment in the landscape of LGBT history. Congrats to this hard working woman for having her efforts recognized. I’m proud to call her a member of our community.

  8. Derek L. says

    I agree that we should have more openly gay people running for office in various parts of the country. I lived in Oklahoma where there was so much anti gay corruption in the police force, yet when local gay residents brought forth their concerns, there was NO one listening. The area politicians completely turned a blind eye and actually seemed just as homophobic as the practices by local law enforcement. THAT’S why it’s vital having us be represented as a community in various forms of politics.

  9. FooFights4Life says

    So funny when some privileged straight folk are like “but why do we have to know who is gay, especially accomplished people?”
    Come live with me, I’m a 20 year old in the closet, basically forced in the closet because of my enviornment, here in Arkansas, and then tell me it’s not significant to hear amazing stories like this about this women.

    It inspires me, and motivates me, and makes me feel like I’m not alone and that I can achieve something great, even being openly gay. Trust me, I don’t get that affirmation by people around me. And the same effect this story about this openly gay judge has on me, it has the same effect on many other gays out there like me who need this positive feeling that we can do it too and achieve greatness and not have to compromise a part of who we are.

  10. TV Fanatic says

    The poster UFFDA/Andrew (same person)
    believes we should censor all movies and films for children. Even adult films. He has said on the trhead regarding James Franco and the Australian film banned from being viewed that “children should be protected from sex scenes”
    Andrew/UFFDA is a social conservative. Please know this.

  11. ratbastard says

    Lighten the F up. Political correctness is funny. People laugh at it. And if you require detailed reasons why, I’d suggest you get yourself to a ‘Mental Health Professional’ and see if they can help you with your aspergers / autism.

    And I’ve dealt with many ‘oppressed’ so-called minorities in my life who have gotten into positions of power and influence in both the public and private sector, whether they be ‘Person’s of Color’ or gay [SORRY! LGBT!] and most to be mirror images of dreaded evil white hetronormative males [who are actually also a minority, and are not translucent contrary to popular ‘progressive’ belief]. Generally speaking, they become an elite ruling class with in a subgroup or subculture in American society, much the same way there’s an elite ruling class within the so-called black community, or ‘Hispanic’ community, Asian community, and so-on.

  12. ratbastard says

    Is that Lil’ K trolling under one of his/her MANY personas on this thread,today? Hard to distinguish since there are so many shills and trolls on TR.


    Ratbastard, you are the king of trolls on here. We all know you’re behind so many anti gay handles on here. rick, jason, uffda, and a bizillion others. in fact, people were talking about it on the towleroad twitter page about how yu excessively troll with multiple handles.

  14. David Hearne says

    I think that NOTA’s point was that she is not the first gay person appointed to the bench, nor is she the first or even one of few women appointed to the bench., nor is she the first or even one of few asians appointed to the bench. It is not unreasonable to wonder if the gay press will feel the need to report as the “firsts” get ever more complicated.

  15. David Hearne says

    @ Anthony

    You should take that up with the owner of Towleroad. For some reason he has chosen a primitive website construction and comment format which doesn’t permit registering users. I don’t know if it would stop the dedicated sock puppets, but it would certainly put a stop to Kiwi posting under other people’s names when he’s low on medication.

  16. GregV says

    There are definitite advantages to the freedom of speech that occurs when comment threads are more open.

    Yes, we do have to endure comments that we disagree with (from both generic trolls and from plants pretending to be gay who attempt to divide us by posting inflammatory comments).

    But in society, and especially on gay issues, it is important to hear from people who for a variety of reasons will not or can not post in a registered forum.

    When I lived in a deeply homophobic community, I recall reading nothing on gay issues but hateful lies in the local and regional media. I could have written thousands of letters to the editor calling attention to the misleading articles and correcting the record, but one thing only kept me silent at that time in my life: all the papers required full first and last name and address. I’m sure many commemters and resders of Towleroad have felt their avenues to express themselves shut down at some point in their lives.

    Even today, even commenting as a gay person anonymously on the internet is enough to put people at various levels of risk in many parts of the world.

    A gay person in Uganda or Iran who wants to comment on his situation on the internet might as well just hand himself over to the Council of Virtue and Vice (or whatever Orwellian term they call themselves) if he has to submit personal details in order to speak.

    The question of free speech on the internet brings to mind a lot of the pluses and minuses of living in a free society. You have to hear from some stupid people, but one would hope that the more intelligent ideas do persuade people in the end.

  17. David Hearne says

    GregV –

    That situation is easily accommodated. A proper forum architecture can allow people to register (with a free email acct like Yahoo) with a username and password so that others can’t use their handle. At the same time, it can allow anonymous posting for those who for whatever reason don’t want to post under their real name (as I do) or a fake but known handle (like Kiwi does).

  18. David Hearne says

    uffda – if you will do an image search for Pamela Ki Mai Chen you will easily find a picture of her being sworn in for something, hair done and make-up, looking lovely.

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