Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you Richard [Toscano] for that kind introduction. When I applied to the Justice Department in 1989, I did not expect to be here 28 years later. The mission attracted me to the job. But the people are what influenced me to stay. I am so impressed with the character and integrity of our colleagues, and the culture of this organization.
Our country is governed by the Constitution and the rule of law. But the rule of law is not just about words on paper. It is about the people who enforce the law. It is about all of you.
It is a pleasure for me to be part of this program, and to join all of you as the Department acknowledges the outstanding contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to our Nation and the Justice Department.
In addition, I thank the Justice Management Division Equal Employment Opportunity Staff and DOJ Component Equal Employment Opportunity Offices for coordinating programs and activities in observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
As Richard mentioned, the national theme for this year’s observance month is “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.” This theme encourages us to reflect on the rich diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and their collective contributions to all aspects of our society.
There are more than 20 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. As one of the fastest growing segments of our Nation’s population, they continue to shape our academic, economic, governmental, and military institutions and the important work of the Department of Justice. They have distinguished themselves in the fields of art, literature, sports, science, and politics, and have served with honor in our Armed Forces, advancing freedom and peace throughout the world.
We honor and appreciate the great contributions and sacrifices from members of this resilient and dynamic community. We also recommit ourselves to ensuring opportunities for all Americans, so that they can continue to enrich the quality and character of our great Nation.
Our commitment will ensure that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to advance the mission of the Department of Justice.
Throughout our Department, talented men and women of Asian and Pacific descent are working on the front lines to enforce the rule of law and defend the interests of the United States. Attorney General Sessions and I greatly appreciate their hard work, and the work of all Justice Department employees.
This morning, we are fortunate to have with us, U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta. Judge Mehta was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on December 22, 2014. He is the first Asian American to serve as a Judge on that court.
Judge Mehta is the 105th judge appointed to the D.C. district court since it was established in 1863. The court was originally known as the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. The name was changed in 1948 to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Born in Patan, India, Judge Mehta received his B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Georgetown University in 1993, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1997.
After law school, Judge Mehta worked in the San Francisco office of the law firm Latham & Watkins before clerking for the Honorable Susan P. Graber of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Following his clerkship, Judge Mehta worked at the Washington, D.C. based law firm Zuckerman Spaeder from 1999 to 2002. In 2002, Judge Mehta joined the District of Columbia Public Defender Service as a staff attorney. He returned to Zuckerman Spaeder in 2007. His practice focused on white-collar criminal defense, complex business disputes, and appellate advocacy.
Judge Mehta also served on the Board of Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, and was the co-chair of the District of Columbia Bar’s Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section Steering Committee. He is also a former Director of a non-profit organization dedicated to after-school activities and mentoring for at-risk youth.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in welcoming, The Honorable Amit P. Mehta.