Thursday, October 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Law students aim to right historic wrong

law studentsW

UC Davis law professor Jack Chin, center, is pictured with UCD law students, from left, Tina Wang, Erin Tanimura, Elaine Won and Steven Vong. The students are working on the "Chang project" to instate a lawyer of Chinese descent into the State Bar of California. Chang was an attorney from the 1800s who was banned due to his ethnicity. Karin Higgins, UC Davis/Courtesy photo

More than a century after a New York lawyer was denied the opportunity to practice law in California because of state laws that barred Chinese immigrants from most careers and opportunities, UC Davis law students are seeking his posthumous admission to the California State Bar.

The students in the UCD School of Law Asian Pacific American Law Students Association are asking the State Bar of California, and eventually the California Supreme Court, to admit Hong Yen Chang, who was denied a license to practice law in California in 1890.

Chang attended Yale University as part of the Chinese Educational Mission, a pioneering program initiated by the Chinese government. He then left the United States and later returned on his own to study law.

He earned a degree from Columbia Law School in 1886 and sat for the New York bar exam by special act of the legislature. When he was admitted to the New York State Bar, The New York Times reported that Chang was the first Chinese immigrant admitted to any bar in the United States.

In 1890, he came to California with the intention of serving San Francisco’s Chinese community as an attorney.

At that time, the federal Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese immigrants from naturalizing as citizens, and a California law prohibited noncitizens from practicing law in the state. Taken together, these laws made it impossible for people of Chinese descent to earn law licenses in the state.

Chang petitioned the California Supreme Court, but was denied admission.

He went on to a distinguished career in banking and diplomacy, but his story was not forgotten. Now, the students are seeking a symbolic victory on behalf of Chang and others who suffered as a result of laws that discriminated against the Chinese.

“Admitting Mr. Chang would be a powerful symbol of our state’s repudiation of laws that singled out Chinese immigrants for discrimination,” said Gabriel “Jack” Chin, a UCD law professor and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association’s faculty adviser on the project.

“At the time Chang was excluded from the practice of law in California, discrimination against Chinese persons was widespread,” Chin continued. “Congress prohibited all Chinese immigration. Even the California Constitution dedicated an entire article to restricting the rights of Chinese residents.”

The UCD School of Law California Supreme Court Clinic is representing APALSA in the case. It has formally requested the State Bar to support the project and will file a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking Chang’s admission.

The clinic, the first and only law school clinic of its kind, represents parties and amici in a wide range of both civil and criminal matters pending before the court.

Other states have posthumously admitted applicants who were excluded from their respective bars based on similar discriminatory laws.

In 2001, the Washington Supreme Court admitted Takuji Yamashita, a Japanese immigrant who had been refused admission to the profession in 1902. And in 2010, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court posthumously admitted George B. Vashon, an African-American who had been denied admission in 1847 because of race.

Chang’s descendants remain in the San Francisco Bay Area, including grandniece Rachelle Chong, the first Asian-American to serve as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and of the California Public Utilities Commission.

“In my generation, our family is extremely fortunate to have three lawyers admitted to the California State Bar: my cousins Suzanne Ah Tye, Kirk Ah Tye, and myself,” Chong said. “It would be fitting and right to have my granduncle’s exclusion reversed by the California Supreme Court to ensure that justice, albeit late, is done.

“Our family is honored that the UC Davis APALSA students have taken up the issue of righting a terrible wrong.”

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Davis Innovation Center application gives city options

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Pioneer students meet K-9 Officer Dexter

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Versatile cycling contributor Casale Jr. heads to Hall of Fame

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge gold nugget going up for sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Leading indicators up 0.8%

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
 
Canada stunned by attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Police warn of IRS phone scam

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
UCD Vet Med hosts animal ‘adoptathon’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

High-flying fun at University Airport

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Mercer Clinic benefits from pooch costume pics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Day of the Dead observance focuses on refugee children

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out on Friday at Pole Line Baptist

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Military Families seek help to send Hugs from Home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Arboretum plant sale is Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

DPNS has play group, preschool openings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

A nose for mysteries: ‘Cadaver dog’ work more accepted by cops, courts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Check out classic cars once again

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fly-casting champion will speak to fishing enthusiasts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Carlton invites community to its Haunted Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Cooperatives meet community needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Co-op trivia

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Author visits Woodland for community book project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Forum

Knowledgeable, experienced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
A leader our schools deserve

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

We need Sunder on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Our view: Two more years for Garamendi

By Our View | From Page: B4

We support Archer, Adams

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

A force for good on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Two are especially qualified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

We have confidence in Madhavi

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
I support John Garamendi

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

.

Sports

Picture-perfect: DHS field hockey finishes 14-0

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis tennis team takes title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants loss evens World Series at 1-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men beat Cal Poly, 1-0; alone at the top

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devils look for first home victory

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

 
Devil soccer loss sets up important final week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

JV/frosh roundup: DHS underclassmen shine in water polo events

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Youth roundup: Hurricanes handle American River twice in one day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Features

What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

 
Hand sanitizer versus soap and water

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Girl Scouts join effort to keep kids healthy

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Name Droppers: Foster parent heads to First 5

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Arts

 
If it can go wrong it will go wrong

By Michael Lewis | From Page: A10

 
San Francisco Symphony visits with conductor/pianist Zacharias

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Jam with folk musicians on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DHS Madrigals plan traditional English winter celebration

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DMTC plans Halloween karaoke fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
The Rhythm Future Quartet plays at Village Homes Community Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Under the Covers’ concert benefits KDRT

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Dorothy Foytik

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, October 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B10