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Ms. Chen Has Had Long and Successful Legal Career in the Public Sector for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of NY and as Deputy Commissioner for New York State Division of Human Rights

Chen Would Be the Second Female Chinese-American Federal Judge in U.S. History

Schumer: Pamela Chen Possesses the Experience, Intellect and Temperament Required to Be A Great Judge


Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is recommending Pamela Ki Mai Chen to President Obama to serve as a judge in the Eastern District Court of New York. Schumer laid out several reasons Chen would be an excellent fit for the job. Schumer said that Chen’s stellar legal background and professional experience, strong ties to New York, even-handedness, intellect and demonstrated leadership skills make her an excellent choice for the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed, Chen would be the second female Chinese-American federal judge in U.S. History, and would also be one of the first out-lesbian federal judges in U.S. history.


“Pamela Chen will be an excellent federal judge. She is an experienced attorney with a long record of public service who possesses the legal excellence, intellect and temperament to be a first-rate judge,” Schumer said. “Ms. Chen is a trailblazer in every sense of the word. Her leadership skills, her commitment to justice, and her extensive experience make her an fantastic choice for a position on the Eastern District Court.”


Ms. Chen’s parents were immigrants from China. Her father was born near Shanghai and grew up there, and her mother was born in Changsha, the capital of Sichuan Province.  They met in the U.S. at the University of Chicago during WWII.


Ms. Chen is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Georgetown Law School. She then served as an associate for Arnold & Porter and Asbill, Junkin, Myers & Buffone, working on a variety of civil litigation matters. Ms. Chen entered public service in 1991, serving for eight years in the U.S. Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney and later Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights division.  There, she specialized in the reform of state and local prisons, juvenile detention centers, and residential facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.


Ms. Chen moved to New York in 1998 to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where she now serves as Chief of the Civil Rights Section’s Criminal Division. She has specialized in the investigation and prosecution of criminal civil rights matters, including human trafficking, and hate crimes. Ms. Chen also provides training to law enforcement on human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. She also served as the Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement at New York State’s Division for Human Rights in 2008, where she further expander her experience in human and civil rights, and supervised division attorneys relating to discrimination in housing, employment, insurance and public benefits; and investigated and pursued administrative matters to address systemic patterns of discrimination.




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