Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley:
On behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and its 4,000 circuit, state, and local affiliate members across the country, we write to express our strongest possible recommendation that Jennifer Sung be confirmed to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit— a court that, among other things, oversees federal action on workers’ rights.
NELA is the largest professional membership organization in the country comprised of lawyers who represent workers in labor, employment, and civil rights disputes. Founded in 1985, NELA advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. Our members litigate daily in every federal district and circuit, affording NELA a unique perspective on the profound impact of the judiciary on the daily lives and the rights of working people.
Ms. Sung is eminently qualified to serve as a federal appellate judge. Ms. Sung is a labor lawyer with a background in workers’ rights and she is a former union organizer. First as a labor organizer, and then as an attorney, she spent nearly twenty years advocating for every-day working people from all walks of life, including home health aides and nurses, teachers and university faculty, construction and factory workers, and warehouse and grocery workers.
Since 2017, Ms. Sung has served as a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board. The Oregon Employment Relations Board is a three-member adjudicative body that resolves disputes concerning labor relations for approximately 3,000 different employers and 250,000 employees in the public and private sectors. Ms. Sung was nominated to this position by the governor of Oregon and confirmed unanimously by the state Senate. As a Board member, she does not have clients, but her role is to serve as an impartial decision maker, resolving disputes impartially under the laws of the state, a non-advocacy role similar to that of a judge. As a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board, Ms. Sung has a strong reputation for adeptly resolving complex legal and factual issues, and she is widely respected as professional and fair by both labor and management attorneys.
Ms. Sung would bring critically important professional/experiential diversity to the federal judiciary, which is essential to a fair judiciary. She will also bring important demographic diversity as the first Asian American judge from Oregon to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In addition to her stellar professional background, Ms. Sung has all the qualifications traditionally sought in nominees for the appellate courts. She earned her law degree at Yale Law School and clerked for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
We strongly urge her swift confirmation.
Laura M. Flegel
Legislative & Public Policy Director
Jeffrey A. Mittman