The Honorable Edward M. Chen

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Department 5

Biography

The Hon. Edward M. Chen is a district judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He was nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama on August 6, 2009, filling a seat vacated by the Hon. Martin J. Jenkins.

Chen earned an A.B. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. He then continued his studies at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he completed a J.D. in 1979.

He began his legal career as a law clerk for the Hon. Charles B. Renfrew of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in 1979. The following year, he accepted a position as an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. He worked there briefly, leaving to clerk for the Hon. James R. Browning of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1981.

Then, in 1982, Chen joined Coblentz, Cahen, McCabe & Breyer, where he worked as an associate for the next three years. He left the firm in 1985 and became a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California. During his six-year tenure there, he specialized in language discrimination cases.

In 2001 he was selected to serve as a United States Magistrate Judge by the judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He held this position until 2011.

Chen was first nominated by President Barack Obama to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in 2009. The Senate, however, returned his nomination for failure to confirm. It has been reported that Republicans rejected his nomination due to his connections with the American Civil Liberties Union.

He was born and raised in Oakland, California.