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Virginia federal court nominee learned English after coming to America at age 14

Rebecca Barnabi
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In a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing yesterday, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia introduced Jasmine Yoon to fill an upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Yoon would be the seventh federal judge recommended by the senators confirmed in the last three years. They recommended Yoon in November 2023 for the vacancy which will be created when Judge Michael F. Urbanski assumes senior status in July 2024.

In January 2024, President Joe Biden nominated Yoon for the seat. 

“[Yoon] came to our country at age 14 from South Korea, speaking virtually no English. So, in 8th grade, she spent her time reading the dictionary and watching American TV, and by the time she got into high school, she spoke fluent English thanks to that ethic of hard work. She developed such a stellar record that she was a two-time graduate of the University of Virginia, both undergrad and law school,” Warner said. “Jasmine’s community-oriented mindset, her qualifications and her numerous accolades make her an extraordinary nominee for the Western District of Virginia.”

Yoon is the Vice President for Corporate Integrity, Ethics, and Investigations at Capital One Financial Corporation. She previously served as Interim University Counsel and Associate University Counsel at the University at UVA in Charlottesville, her alma mater. She also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where she investigated and prosecuted more than 80 financial crimes and public corruption cases.

Her nomination will now be considered by the Judiciary Committee and subsequently the full Senate.

“This is such a happy occasion for Senator Warner and I,” Kaine said. “[Jasmine Yoon] really has a wide breadth of legal experience. We’ve never had an Asian American member of the Article III bench in Virginia… To have come to the United States at age 14, speaking virtually no English, and four years later, to get a full scholarship to UVA — when she graduated from undergrad, she received the award as the outstanding undergraduate… and she also received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship to go to UVA law school. Truly an amazing record… She would be a tremendous, tremendous asset to our federal judiciary, and that’s why Mark and I are so proud to be here to introduce her today.”

Under Biden, the senators have confirmed 177 federal judges to the bench, including the Honorable Toby HeytensPatricia Tolliver GilesMichael S. NachmanoffElizabeth HainesJamar Walker, and Robert Ballou for federal courts across Virginia. 

Biden nominates UVA alum Jasmine Yoon to Western District of Virginia court post – Augusta Free Press

Warner, Kaine submit recommendations to fill upcoming federal court vacancy – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.