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Korean-American recommended as federal judge

John Z. Lee
John Z. Lee

John Z. Lee, a 44-year-old Korean-American attorney, has been recommended to the White House for a position as a federal judge in Illinois.

Lee was recommended along with three others by Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin while Republican Sen. Mark Kirk recommended an additional candidate.

Currently, there are three vacant seats for the federal bench at U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Born in Germany, Lee was raised in Chicago and finished his degree at Harvard Law School. Graduating cum laude in 1992, he studied close to the same time as U.S. President Barack Obama, who graduated in 1991.

Lee has served at Environment & Natural Resources Division at Department of Justice as trial attorney. He also worked as a special aide to the Attorney General.

He is now working at a Chicago-based law firm Freeborn & Peters LLP, specializing in commercial matters.

The candidate is also working for two non-profit organizations, namely Asian Human Services of Chicago and CARPLS (Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services).

Of five recommended, Obama will select three, and candidates will go through Senate Judiciary Committee hearings and the confirmation procedure at the general meeting.

If Lee is appointed, he will become the third person of Korean descent to become a U.S. federal judge. Herbert B. Choy, who was born in Hawaii from the first generation of Korean immigrants, was the first Asian-American to be nominated in 1971. Lucy Koh, the second Korean to be nominated, has been serving in California since last year.

By Kang Yoon-seung (