Fordham Law

Senate Confirms Federal District Judge for Appeals Court

April 22, 2010

Media Source

The New York Times City Room blog has reported that Hon. Denny Chin '78 has been unanimously confirmed for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The full story follows.



Denny Chin, a federal district judge in Manhattan, was confirmed by the Senate 98-0 on Thursday for elevation to the prestigious United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Judge Chin, 56, has handled many prominent cases, including that of Bernard L. Madoff, whom he sentenced last year to 150 years in prison for his enormous Ponzi scheme.

When the judge imposed the sentence on Madoff, 71, he acknowledged that such a term would be “largely if not entirely symbolic.”

He added, “The symbolism is important because the message must be sent that in a society governed by the rule of law, Mr. Madoff will get what he deserves, and that he will be punished according to his moral culpability.”

The judge is also considering a pending settlement of a class action lawsuit filed by authors and publishers over Google’s book-scanning project.

Judge Chin, who was nominated in October by President Obama, will become the only Asian-American to fill an active judgeship on a United States Circuit Court of Appeals. (Judge A. Wallace Tashima of the Ninth Circuit appeals court has taken senior status, a kind of semi-retirement.)

Judge Chin was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States with his family when he was 2. He grew up in the Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. His father worked as a cook in Chinese restaurants, while his mother worked as a seamstress in Chinatown garment factories.

The judge, who graduated from Stuyvesant High School and Princeton, obtained a law degree at Fordham University. He has worked in private practice, and also served as an assistant United States attorney in Manhattan. President Bill Clinton appointed him to the district court in 1994.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who consulted with the White House on Judge Chin’s selection for the Second Circuit, said on Thursday that Judge Chin’s  “outstanding leadership skills, his commitment to justice, and his extensive experience make him an exceptional choice.”

The Second Circuit is known in particular for its decisions in financial and white-collar cases. It was also the court from which Justice Sonia Sotomayor was chosen for appointment to the United States Supreme Court.