Asian-Americans ask Obama to nominate one to Supreme Court

The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016.

By Colin Mo

As the nation waits for President Obama to send the Senate a list of nominees for the Supreme Court, Asian-American interest groups and organizations around the country want the President of the United States to know one thing: In the interest of diversity, they wish to see him include Asian-Americans in that list.

“Throwing in one or two Asian names could be a very nice gesture and a profound statement from the President,” said C.W. Chan, Chair of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community. “I certainly hope that the president would consider doing just that.”

“It would be wonderful to see an Asian American appointee to the Supreme Court. It’s our hope that our nation’s highest court will continue to evolve in its service to the people,” said Bernarda Wong, President and CEO of the Chinese American Service League. “Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in the United States, and the appointment of an Asian American Supreme Court justice would reflect the essential role we play in American life.”

In its statement offering condolences to Justice Antonin Scalia’s family after his passing, Asian Americans Advancing Justice also stated: “We strongly encourage the President to nominate an Asian American. Such a nomination would be historic as no Asian American has ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court, and it would build on President Obama’s strong record of nominating Asian Americans to serve on federal district and appeals courts.


Viet D. Dinh, who was considered for the Supreme Court by the Bush administration. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

No Asian, Pacific Islander or Native American has ever sat on the Supreme Court. The first Asian-American to be considered publicly for nomination to the Supreme Court was Viet D. Dinh, of Vietnamese descent, during George W. Bush’s administration.

However, none of the Asian American groups offered a short-list of nominees they wish to see President Obama nominate.

Samuel Tang, a pastor for a Chinese church group, may have an explanation: “He probably does not think [the nomination] will pass.”

Photo at top: Justice Scalia’s Bench Chair Is Draped in Black at the Supreme Court. (Franz Jantzen/Collection of the Supreme Court)