Go to contents

Lucy Koh becomes first Korean-American woman on U.S. appeals court

Lucy Koh becomes first Korean-American woman on U.S. appeals court

Posted December. 15, 2021 07:42,   

Updated December. 15, 2021 07:42


Lucy Koh has become the first Korean-American woman to serve on a U.S. federal appeals court. The U.S. Senate on Monday (local time) voted 50-45 to confirm‎ Koh, a U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of California, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, reported Reuters. Herbert Choy (Choy Young-jo, 1916-2004) was the first Korean-American to serve as a U.S. federal judge under President Richard Nixon.

Judge Koh was nominated by the Obama administration to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016, but failed to win confirmation back then by the Republican-majority Senate. In September this year, the Biden administration nominated Koh again and she passed Senate confirmation with the support of Democrat Senators. There are 13 U.S. courts of appeals and the Ninth Circuit hears appeals from Western states, including California, Arizona, and Nevada. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Judge Koh will “bring sorely needed diversity to the bench.”

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1968, Judge Koh majored in sociology at Harvard University and graduated from Harvard Law School. In 2010, she was named a U.S. District Judge by then-President Obama. As an expert in patent and commercial law, Judge Koh was the presiding judge in the first trial of the patent fight between Samsung and Apple in 2014. Judge Koh has two children with her spouse California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com