NCJW supports Cindy K. Chung. Here’s why:
As the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Ms. Chung oversees a staff of approximately 59 Assistant US Attorneys working in the criminal, civil, and appeals divisions of the office. A top federal prosecutor, Ms. Chung has consistently worked to secure justice for the public. While her most significant cases have focused on fraud, narcotics, and racially motivated/discriminatory criminal cases, she has a wide array of experience in other issue areas including domestic violence, drug trafficking, hate speech and crimes, and police-involved shootings. Prior to this position, as Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Ms. Chung held numerous positions within the department including Civil Rights Coordinator and Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator. Recently, she was appointed to serve as the Vice Chair of an advisory committee to US Attorney General Garland. If confirmed, Ms. Chung would be the first Asian American judge to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Cindy K. Chung’s stance on important issues:
In 2011, Ms. Chung served on a team of trial attorneys in Arkansas who successfully prosecuted the first defendants to be indicted under the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Act expanded federal hate crime statutes to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or assumed gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Additionally, Ms. Chung has participated in Asian/Pacific American community events, including those organized by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania (APABA-PA), to discuss and educate on issues of hate crimes, hate speech, harassment, and violence. Ms. Chung has also provided training to various law enforcement agencies on federal hate crime law. Further, in the Spring of 2021 she served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where she co-taught a course on Federal Hate Crimes.
While serving as assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Ms. Chung held the additional positions of Domestic Violence Coordinator from 2019-2020 and Civil Rights Coordinator from 2016-2018. In these roles, she developed trainings and educational materials, represented the office in community outreach events, and conducted trainings.
Ms. Chung served as a prosecuting attorney in the case of United States v. Robert Bowers, which involved the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. She was among the responding attorneys in the direct aftermath of the tragedy and handled certification and pleading at the inception of the case.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) applauded President Biden’s nomination of Ms. Chung, stating that “she has served the people of the Western District of PA with integrity, distinction and a commitment to administering fair and equal justice for all.” Sen. Casey emphasized that she has been “a trailblazer throughout her career.”
Experience (and Pro Bono Work):
After graduating from Columbia Law School, Ms. Chung went on to clerk for Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama from 2002-2003. Following her clerkship, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the District Attorney’s Office, New York County until 2007, when she transitioned to their Official Corruption Unit as an Investigation Counsel. In 2009, Ms. Chung became a Trial Attorney for the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. From 2014-2021, she served as assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. During this time, she held many positions including Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Section (2018-2020), Acting Deputy Chief of the Violent Crimes Section (at various times from 2015-2017), Domestic Violence Coordinator (2019-2020), Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator (2018-2020), Border Security Coordinator (2018-2020), and Civil Rights Coordinator (2016-2018). On Oct. 27, 2021, Ms. Chung was nominated by President Biden to be the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. On Nov. 19, 2021, she was confirmed to the position, which she still holds today. In March of 2022, Attorney General (AG) Merrick B. Garland appointed 12 US Attorneys, including Ms. Chung, to serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of US Attorneys (AGAC), which advises the AG on policy, procedure, and management matters. Ms. Chung was appointed to the position of Vice Chair of said committee.
Education and Awards:
Ms. Chung earned her BA from Yale University in 1997, and her JD from Columbia Law School in 2002. While in law school, she interned under then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2001. Ms. Chung has been honored numerous times throughout her career, receiving awards including, but not limited to, the Federal Executive Board Gold Award for Outstanding Team Excellence in Government (2020) and the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service (2012).
Ms. Chung has been admitted to both the New York State and Pennsylvania State Bar Associations. Further, she is a member of the Asian Bar Association of New York, the APABA-PA, and the Allegheny County Bar Association Asian Attorneys Committee. She additionally served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in the Spring of 2021, where she co-taught a course on Federal Hate Crimes.