April 8, 2004 by

Herbert Choy

1 comment

Categories: Law, Military, Politicians

Herbert Young Cho Choy, the first Asian American to serve on the federal bench, died on March 10 of complications from pneumonia. He was 88.
Born on Kauai to Korean immigrants, Choy graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1938. He earned his law degree from Harvard University then became the first lawyer of Korean ancestry to gain admission to the bar.
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Choi enlisted in the U.S. Army. He began his military career as a lieutenant and left as a captain, serving in both Japan and Korea. When he retired from the military in 1947, Choy moved to Honolulu and went into private practice with Katsuro Miho and Hiram Fong, who later became a U.S. senator. In 1957, Choy was named the attorney general for the Territory of Hawaii — the first person of Korean descent to hold such a post.
President Richard M. Nixon appointed Choy to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1971. The court hears cases originating in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The legal pioneer achieved senior status when he retired in 1984, but continued to work on cases for the San Francisco-based court.

One Response to Herbert Choy

  1. kyle john kim

    herbert choy is my great uncle, right now, im at school, messing around, i have a painting of him in my house, i met him one or two times, he was a great man, R.I.P. god bless his soul

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