Dear Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley, and Committee Members:
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 organization’s strong support for the nomination of Dale Ho to serve as a judge on the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”).
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 how employment cases play out on the ground and an accurate understanding of the profound impact of the judiciary on the daily lives and the rights of working people.
We write today to commend Dale Ho as an exemplary nominee for the SDNY. Mr. Ho is a graduate of Princeton University (1999) and Yale Law School (2005), after which he clerked for Judge Barbara Jones of the SDNY and Judge Robert Smith of the New York Court of Appeals. Following his clerkships, Mr. Ho worked as a litigation associate at the New York City office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, & Jacobson, LLP, NYC and then as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Since 2013, Mr. Ho has served as Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights project. In that role, he has fought for the voting rights of all Americans, litigating at all levels of the judiciary. Mr. Ho has worked tirelessly to prevent disenfranchisement with no regard to political affiliation, for instance arguing before the Supreme Court in favor of including undocumented workers in the congressional apportionment process (Trump v. NY) and submitting an amicus brief on behalf of Maryland Republicans seeking to halt Democratic gerrymandering (Benisek v. Lamone). Mr. Ho’s even-handedness and judicial temperament have earned his nomination support across the political spectrum, including from a bipartisan group of fellow 2005 Yale Law School alumni and a bipartisan group of practitioners from 19 law firms.
In addition to litigation, Mr. Ho has written extensively on voting and minority rights, both in legal journals such as the Yale Law Journal and mainstream publications such as the New York Times. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches a class titled “Election Law: the Law of Democracy,” and at New York University School of Law, where he is on the faculty of the Racial Justice Clinic.
If confirmed, Mr. Ho would be the only Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) man on the SDNY. According to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, as of November 2, 2021, only 42 of the country’s 870 federal judges are AAPI, or roughly five percent. Mr. Ho’s confirmation would be a critical step toward ensuring our courts reflect the diversity of the communities that engage with them.
Mr. Ho’s extensive experience as a litigator more than qualifies him to serve on the SDNY. In addition, his background in voting rights and election law is especially notable, as civil rights lawyers are broadly underrepresented on the federal bench. People who have studied and worked with him, and the history of his work, reflect Mr. Ho’s impartiality and judicial temperament. Our country and working people across our nation all deserve judges who will be fair-minded and will protect the rights of all Americans and our democracy. We therefore urge the Senate to expeditiously confirm Dale Ho to the United States Court of the Southern District of New York.
Laura M. Flegel
Legislative & Public Policy Director
Jeffrey A. Mittman