Theodore D. Chuang, the federal judge who ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban Thursday, is himself the son of immigrants and a veteran of President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security.
Chuang, whose parents are from Taiwan, was selected for the court in 2013 as part of a new wave of younger judges nominated by Barack Obama.
Apart from a brief stint at a big Washington law firm Chuang has spent his entire career working in the government, starting out in the Justice Department’s civil rights unit after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1994. In 2009, he began working in the general counsel’s office at DHS.
Chuang’s confirmation in the Senate was not without controversy. An influential Republican Senator accused Chuang of having a role in frustrating Congressional efforts to investigate the death of a U.S. ambassador in Benghazi, Libya, while he was serving on a special assignment at the State Department.
But Chuang had strong support from Maryland’s two Democratic Senators at the time, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.
“Mr. Chuang has a broad range of legal experience in all three branches of the federal government, and is the son of immigrants from Taiwan who came to America seeking freedom and a better life for their family,” Cardin said in a statement when Chuang was confirmed.
Chuang was confirmed on a 53-42 vote. Another judge confirmed to the bench in Maryland the same day sailed through 95-0. Federal judges have life terms but typically retire in their 60s or 70s.
Chuang also went to Harvard as an undergraduate and wrote about sports for the Crimson newspaper.
He sits at the court's location in Greenbelt.