chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
May 10, 2021

ABA program to explore legacy of Asian Americans in U.S. justice system

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2021 – Six leaders of the Asian American legal community, including two state Supreme Court justices, will discuss the legacy of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the American justice system at a program Friday, May 21, hosted by the American Bar Association Judicial Division.

The program is titled “A Journey Through America’s Silent History: A Discussion Highlighting Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ Contributions to the Advancement of America Amid Exclusion and Invisibility.” It is part of the ABA’s celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The panelists will discuss some legal issues arising from Asian American life in the United States, including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Korematsu v. United States.

Panelists will include:

  • Benes Z. Aldana, president of the National Judicial College. Aldana is a former chief trial judge of U.S. Coast Guard and the first Asian Pacific (Filipino) American chief trial judge in the U.S. military.
  • Justice Robert J. Torres Jr. of the Supreme Court of Guam. Torres is the court’s former chief justice.
  • Bonnie Lee Wolf, immediate past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Wolf is associate vice president of Nationwide Insurance Company.
  • Judge Alvin T. Wong of Dekalb County State Court in Decatur, Ga. Wong was the first Asian Pacific American elected judge in the Southeast United States.
  • Justice Mary I. Yu of the Washington Supreme Court. Yu was the first Asian, first Latina and first member of the LGBTQ community to serve on the court.

The program will start at 11 a.m. CDT and will be moderated by Susan S. Kuo, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Reporters who would like to cover the program should contact Marc Davis at [email protected]. Others can register online here.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.