If Shireen Matthews gets the nod of the Senate, she would not only become the first Indian-American to serve as an Article III federal judge in the Southern District, but also the first Asian Pacific American woman to bag the position.
US President Donald Trump has nominated the Indian-American Shireen Matthews for the post of judge of the US district court for the Southern District of California. If Matthews gets the nod of the Senate, she would not only become the first Indian-American to serve as an Article III federal judge in the Southern District, but also the first Asian Pacific American woman to bag the position.
An Article III judge is vested with special powers and is appointed for a lifetime, except for under very limited circumstances. It is only through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate, that the judge can be removed.
“Shireen Matthews is an experienced attorney, both in the public and private sectors. She will be a well-qualified addition to the bench in the Southern District of California, “says Daniel Sakaguchi, president of National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).
The president of the South Asian Bar Association (SABA), Aneesh has urged the Senate to confirm her as soon as possible. He believes that the approval of this historic nomination will add another deserving South Asian voice to the judiciary.
Before Matthews, only five Indian-Americans were nominated by Trump for the federal judiciary at various levels including Neomi Jehangir Rao, Amul Thapar, J. Nicholas Ranjan and Neomi J. Rao.
Who is Shireen Matthews?
Shireen Matthews, one of the most prominent faces of the Indian diasporas, is currently working at Jones Day, the fifth-largest law firm in the states situated in San Diego, where she helps the company in conducting an internal investigation and build, enhance, and maintain effective corporate compliance programmes. Matthew was earlier working as a prosecutor there and continues to defend clients before a range of government agencies including DOJ, HHS-OIG, EPA, and DOD till date. She is famed for having defended several white-collar criminals including those alleged with bribery of public officials, defence contractor fraud, false claims, and health care fraud.
She began her career soon after getting her Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of law by working as a law clerk for Irma Elsa Gonzalez, a retired judge of United States District Court for the Southern District of California in the ninth circuit. After assisting Gonzalez, Matthew worked as an associate with Latham & Watkin, a law firm, in San Diego. During this time, she was appreciated for her unparalleled achievements including the prosecution of wide-ranging contract fraud by a San Diego-based biotech firm, prosecution violation of Anti Kickback Statue and uncovering a multi-million-dollar fraud in stolen medical equipment from Camp Pendleton, a health care fraud investigation of a hospital CEO. She was also awarded one of the highest restitution awards for the Social Security (general public pension) trust fund.
Soon Matthew decided to join government service and from July 2008, she started working as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. Her journey with the Attorney’s office concluded in September 2013 when she decided to join Jones Day.
As the approval of the Senate still awaits, many are supporting Matthews’ nomination in the lieu of her achievements in the past and her time-tested skills. Not just America, but India too, is waiting for the nod. The Senate is expected to give its verdict soon.