United States President Barack Obama created another historic moment for the Indian American community Thursday by nominating Vince Girdhari Chhabria, 43, to become a federal judge on the US District Court for the Northern District of California. If confirmed, Chhabria will be the first person of South Asian descent to ever serve as an Article III judge in California’s history.
The next step is a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate judiciary committee.
Also nominating Matthew Leitman, Judith Levy, Judge Laurie Michelson, Judge James Moody Jr and Judge Linda Parker for District Court judgeships, President Obama said in a press statement, “These men and women have had distinguished legal careers, and I am honoured to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench.”
“Chhabria’s nomination is another historic moment for the South Asian American community,” Kiran Jain, former president, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, told Rediff.com.
“If appointed, Vince will be the first Article III judge in California, indeed the entire West Coast. His nomination is well-deserved given his credentials, experience, and temperament.”
Nadeem Bezar, president, North American South Asian Bar Association, said in a statement, “This is a proud moment for NASABA as another deserving South Asian has been nominated to the judiciary”.
Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Congressman Mike Honda commended President Obama for his commitment to putting forth qualified and diverse judicial nominees.
Honda added that, if confirmed, Chhabria would continue “the promise of a judiciary that reflects the multicultural heritage of America.”
Congressman Ami Bera said, “With many years of experience in the public and private sectors, Vince would make an outstanding judge. His appointment would also be a historic moment for California’s Indian-American and South-Asian community.”
Road to the Judge’s chair
- The San Francisco-born Vince Girdhari Chhabria, whose father came to the US from Mumbai on a college scholarship, graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- He clerked at all three levels of the federal courts, including with Judge Charles R Breyer on the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge James R. Browning on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Justice Stephen Breyer on the US Supreme Court.
- Prior to public service, he worked in the private sector, first as an associate at Keker & Van Nest and later at Covington & Burling.
- He currently serves as deputy city attorney, government litigation, and co-chief, appellate litigation, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.
Image: Vince Chhabria