Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced Second Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Eunice Lee ahead of her confirmation hearing. Throughout her career, Lee has represented more than 380 indigent clients in proceedings before state and federal appellate courts. “Her approach to the law will ensure that all who come before the court are given the chance to be heard. And her voice and her experience will bring an important and much needed new perspective to the bench,” said Gillibrand during opening remarks. Full remarks as prepared below:
Remarks As Prepared:
Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley, and members of the Judiciary Committee, it is my honor to join you today to introduce Eunice Lee, nominee to be a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ms. Lee grew up in a military family and saw the importance of public service from an early age. That commitment to serving your community and protecting the rights of others has been a cornerstone of her legal career, which she has spent in service to those most in need.
Following her graduation from Yale Law School and clerkships in both the Southern District of Ohio and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, she joined the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City. During her twenty years at the Office of the Appellate Defender, Ms. Lee served as supervising attorney and represented clients who were in great need of legal assistance but could not afford representation. She dedicated her practice to ensuring that everyone interacting with our legal system – regardless of their financial circumstances – was able to be heard.
In 2019, Ms. Lee joined the Federal Defenders of New York where she has advocated on behalf of her clients throughout the federal post-conviction and appellate processes by developing and presenting a full picture of their lives that is not exclusively defined by their mistakes.
Throughout her career, Ms. Lee has represented more than 380 indigent clients in proceedings before state and federal appellate courts on direct appeal, in post-judgment motions, and in habeas proceedings. Working on those cases gave her an acute awareness of the awesome power of our judicial system. She fundamentally understands the staggering effect that the law can have on people’s lives, and its disproportionate impact on low-income individuals convicted of crimes. Her clients are people who are desperately relying on the promise of fairness from the legal system, and she has fought to deliver on that promise throughout her professional life.
She is uniquely positioned to bring a critically important perspective to the bench of the Second Circuit. If confirmed, Ms. Lee would be the first and only judge on the circuit with experience as a federal public defender, and just the second Black woman to serve on the circuit’s bench.
Her recognition that every decision has far-reaching effects and her commitment to fairness throughout the entire legal process — regardless of the outcome for individual clients — will be among her greatest strengths as a judge. Her approach to the law will ensure that all who come before the court are given the chance to be heard. And her voice and her experience will bring an important and much needed new perspective to the bench.