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Eastern District judge Peggy Kuo sworn in during robing ceremony

January 6, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Peggy Kuo (center) was sworn in as the Eastern District’s newest magistrate judge during a robing ceremony held at Brooklyn’s federal courthouse on Tuesday.  Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese.

Brooklyn welcomed its newest magistrate judge Peggy Kuo during a special investiture ceremony at the Theodore Roosevelt Courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday. The robing ceremony was held in the crowded ceremonial courtroom in front of Kuo’s new colleagues who were only outnumbered by dozens of her family who flew in from various parts of the U.S. and China to witness the occasion.

“On behalf of all of the judges in our court, I’d like to welcome you all to this momentous event,” said Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon. “The investiture of Peggy Kuo as a United States magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York. There are certainly many distinguished guests joining us here today, but the most distinguished guest of all is the family of our honoree.”

Kuo, who was born in Taiwan and came to America when she was 3 years old, has a long list of accomplishments prior to this appointment. She has served as the deputy commissioner and general counsel of the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, she was the chief hearing officer at the NY Stock Exchange and she prosecuted war crimes at the UN International Criminal Tribunal.

Kuo also clerked for Chief Judge Judith W. Rogers of the D.C. Court of Appeals, was a federal prosecutor, an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington D.C. and was the acting deputy chief of the Civil Rights Division Criminal Section at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Amon administered the oath of office to Kuo before her parents, Chung Kai Kuo and Yuchih Kuo, conducted the robing ceremony. Afterward, Hon. Noel A. Brennan, a judge in the U.S. Immigration Court, and Hon. Pamela K. Chen gave remarks.

“It is unlikely that I will ever appear before judge Kuo, so I can’t be accused of pandering when I say that Peggy has impeccable credentials and is deeply intelligent,” said Judge Brennan, who served with Judge Kuo at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. “She also possesses valued intellectual virtues in my view — fair mindedness, truth seeking and humility. Those are the qualities of a great judge.”

Chen worked with Kuo in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice nearly 20 years ago, and remarked that she was glad to have not met her while growing up because her mother would have undoubtedly compared her to Kuo, a comparison she would have never lived up to.

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“The myth of the Asian tiger mom expecting her child to be perfect is true, at least it was in my family,” Chen joked. “This little bundle of perfection would have been my worst nightmare had I, or more importantly, my tiger mom, known of her existence. It was fortunate that I didn’t meet Peggy until I was mature enough that I felt only profound admiration and respect to her for all she has accomplished. All right, there was a little bit of envy.”

Finally, Kuo got up to speak to the packed room and told the story of her parents coming to the U.S., starting with her father in 1964 and later her mother, her sister and herself in 1967.

“I was 3 years old and I met my father for the first time when I got off the plane at JFK airport,” Kuo said. “Here we are today, two of my sisters are doctors, one is a lawyer and exactly 50 years after the Immigration and Naturalization Act, and one generation in the United States, I have been appointed a U.S. magistrate judge.”

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