RENO, Nevada—Attorney Miranda Du has been approved to be a federal judge in Nevada and could be confirmed if the U.S. Senate allows it.
Attorney Du is a partner at the McDonald Carano Wilson LLP law firm in Reno, Nevada, specializing in complex civil litigation and employment law.
On 3 November 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8, with mostly Democrat support, for Attorney Du to become the first Asian Pacific American (APA) federal judge in Nevada.
Republican committee members objected to Attorney Du’s being placed on the bench, claiming she was inexperienced. They also brought up a case she handled as a private attorney and was subsequently sanctioned for in 2007 by the federal court in Nevada.
Attorney Du now needs to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which is majority Democrat and assumed to give her a quick confirmation. Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who is also the Senate Majority Leader, recommended Attorney Du for the federal judgeship and will schedule a confirmation vote.
On average, district court judge nominees wait over 160 days for confirmation, according to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Though, if Attorney Du is confirmed, it could happen as early as the end of 2011 or take through the middle of 2012.
The Viễn Đông has not yet received comment back from Attorney Du's office regarding her appointment and upcoming potential confirmation.
A bit about Attorney Du
On 11 August 2011, the Viễn Đông reported on Attorney Du’s nomination to the U.S. District Court, Nevada district, as well as her comprehensive journey to the position.
Part of that journey began in Vietnam when Ms. Du and her family fled the country in hopes of finding freedom elsewhere after the Fall of Saigon in 1975.
The family stayed in Malaysia before moving to the United States where they worked in various jobs from restaurants to family-owned gas stations.
“I never wanted to be an entrepreneur,” she was quoted in Reno Gazette Journal. “If I didn’t want to continue in this family tradition [business entrepreneurship]…education was my way out.”
Despite some opposition from her family, Ms. Du decided to study law.
“Law can be very empowering for a minority and a woman,” she was again quoted in the Journal.
After graduating with Honors in History and Economics from the University of California (UC) Davis in 1991, Ms. Du received her law degree from UC Berkeley in 1994.
The same year, she became partner, which is equated to co-ownership or business director, of McDonald Carano Wilson, LLP, the position she still holds.
At the law firm, Attorney Du represents large businesses in lawsuits where employees sue companies over racial, gender, etc. discrimination.
In addition to her career as partner for the law firm, Attorney Du has contributed her time to represent abused and neglected children from 1995-1998, as well as lecture and teach legal education courses.
However, her greatest community service, to the APA community specifically, could be her confirmation as a United States District Court judge.
Attorney Du could join 10 other active APA judges representing the Ninth Circuit; however if accurately reflecting the circuit’s population, there should be 18 APA judges out of the total 139 active judges.
The circuit’s jurisdiction covers Alaska, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Guam, Hawaii, and the Northern Mariana Islands, representing a population of almost 13 percent APA.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyễn
Another Vietnamese American woman, Judge Jacqueline Nguyễn , currently on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, is another nominee awaiting approval and confirmation for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
She was nominated on 22 September 2011 and has been unanimously qualified for the judgeship by the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee of the Federal Judiciary.
On 2 November 2011, she had her hearing and is now awaiting approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Judge Nguyễn has been a U.S. district judge since 1 December 2009, nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the full U.S. Senate.
She is the first U.S. district judge appointed and nominated to a higher federal judgeship by the same president.