Padilla, Butler Applaud Confirmation of Judge Eumi Lee to the Northern District of California

WATCH: Padilla delivers remarks ahead of Judge Lee’s confirmation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler (both D-Calif.), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, celebrated the confirmation of Judge Eumi Lee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Senator Padilla spoke on the Senate Floor ahead of the confirmation.

“The proud daughter of parents who survived the Korean War before immigrating to the United States, Judge Lee has consistently worked to mentor women, people of color, and those typically underrepresented in the legal profession, because she knows that public service doesn’t stop at the courtroom doors,” said Senator Padilla. “In private practice, in the classroom, and in the court room, she’s demonstrated the intellect and objectivity needed to serve the Northern District with distinction. I thank all of my colleagues who supported her confirmation, and look forward to seeing her continue her impressive record of public service for the California Bay Area.”

“I am proud to see the Senate confirm Judge Eumi Lee — the first Korean-American judge in Alameda county’s history — to serve the Northern District of California. I have no doubt that she will champion rule of law while treating every person who comes before her with equal dignity and respect,” said Senator Butler. “Judge Lee brings a wealth of knowledge to the federal bench where she will serve as the latest example of well-qualified, historic nominees confirmed under the Biden Administration.”

Judge Lee currently serves on the Alameda County Superior Court to which she was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018. She will fill the vacancy created when Judge William Orrick took senior status last year. She was the first Korean American to be appointed to serve on the Alameda County bench. During her time in the role, Judge Lee has overseen criminal and civil cases and civil trials. 

Prior to her appointment, Judge Lee spent 20 years practicing law, including in private practice at two separate law firms. From 2005 to 2018, she was a clinical professor at the University of California College of the Law at San Francisco, previously known as Hastings College of the Law. In addition to her clinical teaching, Judge Lee taught several doctrinal courses and served as co-founder and co-director of the Hastings Institute for Criminal Justice. During this time, she also served as an independent legal consultant on various trials and appeals and as an ethics consultant at several California public utilities. Judge Lee received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude, in 1999 and her B.A. from Pomona College in 1994. After graduating, she clerked for Judge Jerome Turner on the Western District of Tennessee.

Senator Padilla is committed to rebuilding a federal judiciary that better reflects and is receptive to the America it serves. Within weeks of being sworn into the Senate, one of Padilla’s first initiatives was to establish a Judicial Evaluation Commission that is majority attorneys of color and women to evaluate candidates for federal judicial vacancies in California. Last month, Padilla highlighted the importance of federal judicial diversity of race, gender, as well as legal and professional experience during an event hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Senator Padilla has worked closely with the Biden administration to recommend and support the nominations of highly-qualified, outstanding judges to the federal courts, including Judge Lee.

Video of Padilla’s remarks can be found here.