Welcome to Reuters Legal News beta. Please enjoy and provide us with your feedback as we continue to improve the Reuters Legal News experience.

Skip to main content
Skip to floating mini video

In bid for N.Y. federal bench, ACLU litigator apologizes for 'overheated' tweets

3 minute read

Dale Ho, a voting rights advocate with the ACLU nominated to become a federal district court judge in Manhattan, prepares to give his opening statement during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Ho has served as ACLU Voting Rights Project director since 2013
  • Nominee vowed to serve as a 'impartial arbiter of the law' on Manhattan-based Southern District court

The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.

Voting rights litigator Dale Ho on Wednesday apologized for his "overheated rhetoric" on social media but broadly defended his advocacy in a bid to serve on the Manhattan federal district court, as Republicans on the U.S. Senate's judiciary panel questioned his temperament.

Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, said his tone at times did not "reflect how I've shown up in court, or how I've conducted myself in professional settings."

He testified he would set aside his prior role as an advocate and serve "as a fair, neutral, impartial arbiter of the law" if he is confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

"I'm deeply committed to the principle of equal justice under the law and if confirmed I will do everything I can to ensure that everyone who comes before the court gets a fair shake and fair opportunity to be heard," Ho said.

The Senate has confirmed 19 federal district judges and nine appellate judges so far under the Biden administration, which has emphasized the personal and professional diversity of its picks for the courts. Ho would become the second active Asian American judge on the Manhattan-based Southern District of New York.

"The country isn't all corporate lawyers and prosecutors. It has many other people in the legal profession, and now we're beginning to see them on the bench in much greater numbers," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who made an appearance to introduce Ho, told the committee. "Mr. Ho's confirmation would go a long way to helping achieve that goal."

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, called Ho an "extreme partisan." Cruz added: "You have tweeted attacks at multiple members of this committee." Republican U.S. Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said he has "grave concerns" about voting for Ho, whom he called "angry."

Lawyers from some of the country's largest law firms said in a letter to the judiciary panel that as practitioners, "we would welcome a judge of Dale's temperament, consideration and commitment to preside over our matters."

The judiciary committee also considered on Wednesday the nomination of U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark of Delaware for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the nomination of Winston & Strawn partner Kathi Vidal to serve as the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Read more:

4th Circuit judge to maintain active status, eliminating vacancy for Biden

Biden nominates 10 more federal judges amid diversity push

Biden judicial picks win Senate backing at pace not seen since Nixon

CORRECTION: This article was changed to reflect that Dale Ho would be the second, not the first, active Asian American judge serving on the Manhattan federal district court.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters