Groundbreaking: Becoming the First Filipino American Article I...

A Filipino American Story as told by Judge Lorna Schofield on becoming the first Filipino American Article III Federal Judge. Read her full story below. “My mother was a war bride. After World War II, she married a US Air Force Serviceman. They moved to the Midwest in the United States, where I was born and grew up. Like many Filipinos then, my mother admired Americans and credited them with rescuing the Philippines. The marriage did not work out, but my mother stayed in this country and raised me to be an American. She spoke Tagalog and ate Filipino food, but spoke only English with me and cooked me “meat and potatoes.” My mother was very strict and expected the best of me. In a sense, she gave up her life and directed her energy into shaping mine, urging me to succeed, telling me what she dreamed for me. She never remarried and had a quiet social life. When she died, I was just 20 and determined to finish my education and train for a profession to support myself. I went to law school and began a fulfilling career in New York City. I worked at a law firm, then became a federal prosecutor, then joined another big, multinational firm where I became partner. The work was challenging and engaging. I decided to apply to be a judge in 2010, after almost 30 years as a lawyer. The process was uncertain and took over two years. It included being extensively vetted by many entities in government and in the legal profession. My application, submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, was 4,000 pages long and included a list and copy of every speech I’d given, every article I’d published, every press release or news article that mentioned me, and every policy issued by organizations that I had voted on. I was nominated by President Obama in early 2012 and had my Senate Judiciary hearing later in the spring. The full Senate voted on my nomination that winter following the presidential elections. I feel very lucky because no one can be assured of becoming a federal judge; there are so many variables. For example, even after passing all the levels of review, as a political nominee, I would not be where I am had the 2012 presidential election come out differently. Being the first Filipino Article III federal judge (meaning appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate and having a life-time term) has rewarded me with a new understanding of my heritage. I have become more involved with Filipinos and Filipino activities, which I enjoy sharing with my daughter. It has been an honor and a real pleasure to be taking this new journey.” Hor. Lorna Schofield, US District Court Judge for the Southern District of New YorkAbout: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.NextDayBetter storyteller: Candice Quimpo

Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Monday, October 2, 2017

Groundbreaking: Becoming the First Filipino American Federal Judge

A Filipino American story as told by Hon. Lorna Schofield, US District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York.

“My mother was a war bride. After World War II, she married a US Air Force Serviceman. They moved to the Midwest in the United States, where I was born and grew up. Like many Filipinos then, my mother admired Americans and credited them with rescuing the Philippines. The marriage did not work out, but my mother stayed in this country and raised me to be an American. She spoke Tagalog and ate Filipino food, but spoke only English with me and cooked me “meat and potatoes.”

My mother was very strict and expected the best of me. In a sense, she gave up her life and directed her energy into shaping mine, urging me to succeed, telling me what she dreamed for me. She never remarried and had a quiet social life. When she died, I was just 20 and determined to finish my education and train for a profession to support myself. I went to law school and began a fulfilling career in New York City. I worked at a law firm, then became a federal prosecutor, then joined another big, multinational firm where I became partner. The work was challenging and engaging.

I decided to apply to be a judge in 2010, after almost 30 years as a lawyer. The process was uncertain and took over two years. It included being extensively vetted by many entities in government and in the legal profession. My application, submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, was 4,000 pages long and included a list and copy of every speech I’d given, every article I’d published, every press release or news article that mentioned me, and every policy issued by organizations that I had voted on.

I was nominated by President Obama in early 2012 and had my Senate Judiciary hearing later in the spring. The full Senate voted on my nomination that winter following the presidential elections. I feel very lucky because no one can be assured of becoming a federal judge; there are so many variables. For example, even after passing all the levels of review, as a political nominee, I would not be where I am had the 2012 presidential election come out differently.

Being the first Filipino Article III federal judge (meaning appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate and having a lifetime term) has rewarded me with a new understanding of my heritage. I have become more involved with Filipinos and Filipino activities, which I enjoy sharing with my daughter. It has been an honor and a real pleasure to be taking this new journey.”

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Communityommunity celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo