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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At Senate Judiciary Committee Introducing Meredith Vacca, Nominee To Be District Judge For The Western District Of New York

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke at the Senate Judiciary Committee introducing the nomination of Meredith Vacca to serve as District Judge for the Western District of New York. confirmed, Vacca would be the first woman of color and Asian-American to serve in the Western District of New York. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Today, it’s my honor to introduce a truly exceptional nominee and a true blue New Yorker, Meredith Vacca, who I proudly recommended to President Biden to serve as a District Judge for the Western District of New York. But first, let me acknowledge everyone from Judge Vacca’s family here with her this morning. With her is her husband, Dan; their daughter; her parents, Paul and Carolyn Vacca; her sister, Leah; and her two nieces. What a proud day for the entire family.

If confirmed, Judge Vacca – a proud Korean-American – would make history as the first Asian-American and the first woman of color ever to serve as a judge in the Western District of New York, which has the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas, as well as many other nice places. I can confidently say that Western New York – and New York State as a whole – would not be what it is today without the immeasurable contributions of our Asian-American community. It’s a strong, creative, hard-working, vibrant, proud, and patriotic community whose growing presence has enriched our state immensely.

As the senior Senator from New York and as the Majority Leader, I’ve always worked to make New York’s federal bench better reflect the communities it serves. Judge Vacca’s nomination marks another major step towards that goal.

If confirmed, Judge Vacca would also make the formerly all-male Western District bench fifty percent female, making it one of the country’s few fifty percent female benches. This is something that I have also championed and achieved in the Northern District of New York, which has the Albany and Syracuse areas. One day I hope this is the norm across the country, but I am proud that we’re achieving this milestone in Upstate New York.

Judge Vacca has every quality you could possibly want in a jurist: tremendous expertise, sharp legal acumen, deep institutional knowledge, and a genuine love for her community. She is a longtime resident of the Western District, raised by her loving parents, Paul and Carolyn, in the Rochester area in the town of Greece, New York, and educated at the great University at Buffalo School of Law. She was certainly inspired to pursue a career in the law by her father, a well-respected attorney. After a short stint in private practice, Judge Vacca chose the path of public service and has spent the last 17 years of her career fighting for vulnerable New Yorkers. As an Assistant District Attorney in Monroe County, she stood up for victims of domestic violence and child abuse. As a Monroe County Court judge, she presided over several criminal felony-level offenses and was known for managing her courtroom respectfully and fairly. And since January of last year, she has served as an Acting Justice on the New York State Supreme Court, where she has developed a unique and thorough knowledge of our state and country’s laws.

I can think of nobody more qualified to serve on the District Court for the Western District of New York than Rochester’s own Meredith Vacca. I’m extremely proud to support her nomination.

On one final note, I want to commend this committee for your work processing judges over the past few years. As everyone knows, we just hit a significant milestone: 200 judges confirmed to lifetime appointments on the bench under President Biden.

These judges are restoring balance and excellence to our courts, they are expanding the diversity and dynamism of our judiciary, and they are upholding the law fairly, equally, impartially.

And I’m proud that these judges have made our courts look more like America. Nearly two-thirds of our federal judges that we nominated and put on the bench are women and people of color.

Thanks to the work of this committee, our federal judiciary is far stronger and more dynamic than it was just a few years ago. I look forward to working with the committee – you, Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member Graham – in the coming weeks and months ahead.

So, thanks to Judge Vacca and her family for being here. And thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Graham, and members of the committee for the chance to speak.