Jacqueline Nguyen

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Jacqueline Nguyen
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
May 14, 2012
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Seat established
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
In office
December 4, 2009 – May 14, 2012
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Nora Manella
Succeeded by Fernando Olguin
Personal details
Born Hong-Ngoc Thi Nguyen
1965 (age 50–51)
Da Lat, South Vietnam
(now Vietnam)
Spouse(s) Pio Kim
Alma mater Occidental College
University of California, Los Angeles

Jacqueline Hong-Ngoc Nguyen (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Hồng Ngọc; born 1965) is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Early life and education[edit]

Born Hong-Ngoc Thi Nguyen (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Thị Hồng Ngọc) in Da Lat, Vietnam, Nguyen moved to the United States when she was 10, after the fall of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975.[1] The daughter of a South Vietnamese army major who had worked closely with U.S. intelligence officials, Nguyen moved with her family first to an army tent at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where she lived for several months.[1] They ultimately settled in the La Crescenta-Montrose area of Los Angeles.[2][3] Her family later opened a doughnut shop in Glendale, California, where Nguyen worked throughout high school and college.[4]

Nguyen earned her AB degree in English in 1987 from Occidental College.[1][2][5] She then earned a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law in 1991.[5]

Professional career[edit]

From 1991 until 1995, Nguyen worked in private law practice, specializing in civil litigation as a litigation associate at the firm Musick, Peeler & Garrett.[1][5] In particular, she focused on commercial disputes, intellectual property and construction-defect cases.[2]

From 1995 until August 2002, Nguyen served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California. She joined the U.S. Attorney's office in its Public Corruption and Government Fraud section, overseeing United States Department of Defense fraud prosecutions.[1] In her final years in the U.S. Attorney's office, Nguyen also held the role of Deputy Chief of the General Crimes section, training new prosecutors in the Central District.[1][5]

In August 2002, Nguyen was appointed by then-California Gov. Gray Davis to be a Superior Court of Los Angeles County judge.[5] Nguyen became the first-ever Vietnamese-American woman appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.[1] She has been based in Alhambra, California.[6]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Service on the United States District Court for the Central District of California[edit]

On July 31, 2009, President Obama nominated Nguyen to a seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California,[5] vacated when Nora Margaret Manella left the federal judiciary to join the California Courts of Appeal in 2006. Senator Dianne Feinstein had recommended Nguyen's nomination.[6] On September 23, Nguyen appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which reported her nomination on October 15.[7] On December 1, 2009, the United States Senate voted 97-0 to confirm Nguyen.[8] On May 14, 2012, her service on the District Court terminated due to her elevation to the Court of Appeals.

Service on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit[edit]

On September 22, 2011, Obama nominated Nguyen to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[9] The Senate confirmed Nguyen to the Ninth Circuit in a 91-3 vote on May 7, 2012, and she received her commission on May 14, 2012.[10][11]

She is the first Asian-American female to serve as a federal appellate judge.[12] She is also the first Vietnamese-American federal judge, and the first Asian-Pacific American female federal judge in California.[13] In 2012, she was speculated to be a candidate for the Supreme Court.[14]

In February 2016, The New York Times identified her as a potential nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.[15]


Nguyen's husband, Pio S. Kim, was also a federal prosecutor.[1][2] He has since moved to private practice.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Greene, Robert (August 14, 2002). "Davis Names Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Nguyen To Fill Vacancy on Los Angeles Superior Court". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Garvey, Sarah (December 9, 2003). "Daily Journal profiles Hon. Jacqueline Nguyen". Los Angeles Daily Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ Borja, Rhea (December 1, 2009). "Jacqueline Nguyen '87 Appointed to Federal Bench". Occidental College: News & Events. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ Guccione, Jean (August 18, 2002). "2 Asian American Women Named as Judges". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (July 31, 2009). "President Obama Nominates Abdul K. Kallon and Jacqueline H. Nguyen to Serve on the District Court Bench". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Ofgang, Kenneth (August 3, 2009). "Obama Nominates Nguyen to U.S. District Court". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Judicial Nomination Materials: 111th Congress". United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved November 29, 2009. 
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110928201306/http://www.oxy.edu/x9275.xml. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/23/2421709/obama-makes-potentially-historic.html. Retrieved September 27, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  10. ^ "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  11. ^ Jacqueline Nguyen at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  12. ^ "Feinstein Announces Confirmation of Judge Jacqueline Nguyen - Press Releases - News Room - United States Senator Dianne Feinstein". Feinstein.senate.gov. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  13. ^ "In The News | Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC)". Capac.chu.house.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  14. ^ Greg Stohr (2012-11-09). "Obama's Victory Creates New Chance to Mold U.S. Supreme Court". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  15. ^ "Potential Supreme Court Nominees". The New York Times. 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Nora Manella
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Succeeded by
Fernando Olguin
New seat Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit