First To Serve

First To Serve

Written on 10/05/2022

Herbert Young Cho Choy was the first Asian American to serve as a United States federal judge and the first person of Korean ancestry to be admitted to the bar in the United States. He served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

At the recommendation of Senator Fong, Choy was nominated by President Richard Nixon on April 7, 1971, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated by Judge Stanley Nelson Barnes. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 21, 1971, and received his commission on April 23, 1971. He was the first Asian American on the federal bench as well as the first Hawaii native. He assumed senior status on October 3, 1984. His service terminated on March 10, 2004, due to his death.

Choy authored many significant opinions, upholding the constitutionality of a law allowing child sexual abuse victims to testify via closed-circuit television, allowing a Muslim inmate to sue Phoenix-area jail officials for imposing discriminatory security measures at Muslim services, and upholding California's "green advertising" law regulating advertisers' claims about "biodegradable" or "recycled" products.

herbert-choy-03 from Scott Collins on Vimeo.

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