APALA-NJ Press Releases

Apala-NJ’s Statement on George Floyd and the Fight Against the Criminalization of the Black Community

May 30, 2020 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

APALA-NJ ISSUES POWERFUL ANTI-RACISM STATEMENT

Condemns Killing of George Floyd and Criminalization of Black Community

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, May 30 – Today the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey issued a powerful statement condemning the killing of George Floyd and the treatment of the Black Community by the criminal justice system. The organization called for increased review of discriminatory practices by law enforcement agencies that infer racial bias, stating that, “we must fundamentally change our broken system.”

The full text of the statement reads:

APALA-NJ’S STATEMENT ON GEORGE FLOYD AND THE FIGHT AGAINST THE CRIMINALIZATION OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY

Many of us simply want things to go back to “normal” as a global pandemic and economic crisis looms and upsets everything we know. We cannot go back to “business as usual” without systemic changes in our criminal justice system, workplaces, homes, schools and recreational spaces. For many Americans “normal” means being explicitly or implicitly targeted, based on the color of your skin and on account of your race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or ability– whether it be wearing a facemask in public, shopping at Walmart, jogging in your neighborhood, bird watching in the park, or being placed under arrest. Normal should not and cannot be a handcuffed, unarmed black man dying face down on the street under the knee of a police officer. In America. In 2020.

This is a systematic failure to protect black lives.

The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) stands in solidarity with George Floyd, his family, the black community, and all those fighting to end racism and hate. We cannot and will not remain silent and ostensibly complicit in police brutality against black and brown lives. As lawyers, we learn about the importance of criminal procedure, due process, and probable cause.  In order for there to be systemic change, we must not only call on the legislature or the highest court of the land, but also within our own communities.

We cannot simply condemn such obvious injustices, but must do more. As Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” We must have honest discourse with people of all races and ethnicities. We must ask ourselves in public and in private "what have I done to help end racism?" And it is time for all of us to have an answer other than "nothing." Although Black and Asian solidarity is deeply rooted in American history, it often goes unnoticed. APALA-NJ is not a monolithic group. Even within our executive board, we have an officer who is Latina and a director who is a mother of a black daughter. What happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, and Christian Cooper not only can happen to our friends and colleagues but also our own families. 

APALA-NJ joins in the fight to stop the criminalization and commodification of black bodies.  APALA-NJ further joins those calling for a systemic reform on the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies, and increased review of discriminatory practices that infer racial bias. We must fundamentally change our broken system.

APALA-NJ holds this truth to be self-evident that all persons are created equal. We pledge ourselves with a renewed sense of urgency to work alongside our friends and colleagues in other affinity bar associations, in the New Jersey State Bar Association, to make that truth reality.

APALA-NJ, founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1993, is the largest specialty bar association that collectively represents the interests of Asian Pacific American lawyers in the State of New Jersey.

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The Dearth of Asian Pacific American Federal Judges in New Jersey

September 18, 2014 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The continuing lack of federal judges of Asian Pacific American (“APA”) descent in New Jersey is simply unacceptable. The current status is especially disconcerting when qualified APA candidates exist and are ready, willing, and able to serve as members of the federal judiciary.

As compared with the U.S. general population, there is no doubt that women and minorities have long been underrepresented in the Federal Judiciary. An October 2009 article in the National Law Journal reported that 84% of the judges were white, with female jurists comprising 20% and African-Americans constituting 8%. More specifically, out of the almost 1,300 sitting federal judges, only eleven were then APA. Indeed, a significant percentage of the 94 federal judicial districts had never had a jurist who is a woman or a person of color.

To his credit, President Barack Obama has nominated and appointed more APAs to the Federal Judiciary than all prior administrations combined and generally deserves accolades for substantially increasing the diversity of the Federal Judiciary. However, APAs still remain far underrepresented in the Federal Judiciary (3.3% of the 874 active federal judges) as compared to the overall APA population of the United States (5.2%).

Here in New Jersey, the statistics are even more glaring and objectionable. Of the 17 authorized federal judgeships in the District of New Jersey, there are currently no APA jurists. In fact, not a single APA has ever been a full-time judge in the New Jersey federal courts at any level in the long history of the District of New Jersey, even if magistrate judges, bankruptcy judges, and other appointees are included. The dearth of APA judges stands in stark contrast to the APA population. According to the 2010 Census, APAs represent over 8.8% of New Jersey’s population. Between 2000 and 2010, the APA population more than doubled in 110 New Jersey municipalities, and every county in New Jersey experienced double-digit growth of its APA population. Indeed, APAs were also the fastest growing minority group during the past decade nationwide. New Jersey remains among the top five U.S. states with the largest APA populations.

The New Jersey federal courts were established by Congress 225 years ago under the Judiciary Act of 1789. The fact that not a single APA has ever been appointed to the bench in all that time is astonishing. The time is now for the President and New Jersey’s U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker to make the right choices with the next few vacancies on the New Jersey federal bench. In light of the facts, the case for dramatically increasing the number of APA jurists in the District of New Jersey could not be more compelling.

True proponents of diversity must recognize that the representation of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures is important, and that when we have the opportunity to advance diversity, we must not only be supportive of the cause, but also work together towards the common goal. The APA community is cognizant that there is still much work to be done to truly diversify our Courts, and we support that goal. It is ALL of our responsibility to seize the opportunity.

Jhanice V. Domingo, Esq. is Counsel at the law firm of Einhorn Harris Ascher Barbarito & Frost, P.C. in Denville, New Jersey. She is the President of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) and Chair of APALA-NJ’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee. APALA-NJ, founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1993, is the largest specialty bar association that collectively represents the interests of APA lawyers in the State of New Jersey.

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Press Release regarding Judge Bauman 10/14/2013

To the Editor:

The Supreme Court of New Jersey is not a political battlefield.

On December 10, 2012, Governor Chris Christie nominated Monmouth County Superior Court Presiding Judge David F. Bauman to the State Supreme Court, along with Board of Public Utilities President Robert M. Hanna. For nearly a year, Judge Bauman and Mr. Hanna have been patiently waiting for State Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on their nominations. Yet, within only two months of his recent nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court on August 12, 2013, a hearing is scheduled for October 17, 2013 for Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina. This unfair and inexcusable delay of hearings for Judge Bauman and Mr. Hanna stems from the standoff between Senate Democrats and Governor Christie over the composition of the State’s highest court.

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Press Release regarding Judge Bauman 12/17/12

THE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY (APALA-NJ) APPLAUDS GOVERNOR CHRISTIE’S NOMINATION OF NEW JERSEY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE DAVID F. BAUMAN TO SERVE AS NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

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