By GENE JOHNSON
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Senate on Oct. 21 confirmed civil rights attorney Tana Lin as a federal judge in Seattle.
Lin, the president of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, will be the first former public defender and the first Asian American to serve as a federal judge in Washington state, said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
“Americans deserve a justice system that will uphold the rights of everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” Murray said. “Building a more fair and just court system starts by appointing more public defenders and more civil rights lawyers—like Ms. Lin—as judges.”
The 55-year-old Lin helped challenge former President Donald Trump’s travel ban and has represented workers in employment discrimination cases, including immigrant farmworkers in Washington state who were cheated out of wages.
President Joe Biden has said he wants his nominees to bring more professional and demographic diversity to the federal courts. Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell recommended Lin’s appointment after Lin was chosen by a judicial merit selection panel.
Civil rights groups cheered her confirmation, which came on a 52-45 vote.
“Tana Lin is a trailblazing lawyer and exactly what we need to ensure that our federal courts benefit from a diversity of perspectives,” said Christopher Kang, chief counsel of the progressive legal reform group Demand Justice.
Lin began her career as a public defender in Washington, D.C., before becoming a trial attorney in the employment litigation section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
She emigrated from Taiwan at age 3 and spoke only Mandarin at home before being enrolled in school.
She attended Cornell University and New York University School of Law.