AAABA members and past recipients Hon. Kenneth Lee and Hon. Paul Tang present AAABA’s newest recipient, Hon. Joan L. Wagener, with “The Book” at her investiture ceremony on July 11, 2014 at the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County. Fellow members Briana Chua, Amanda Chua and Shijie Feng attended. (Photo: AAABA)

AAABA members and past recipients Hon. Kenneth Lee and Hon. Paul Tang present AAABA’s newest recipient, Hon. Joan L. Wagener, with “The Book” at her investiture ceremony on July 11, 2014 at the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County. Fellow members Briana Chua, Amanda Chua and Shijie Feng attended. (Photo: AAABA)

This week, I read a news story that reminded me of one of the Arizona legal community’s most evocative honors: awarding a gift of a children’s book.

The Arizona Asian American Bar Association has been giving “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein since 1994. To merit the honor, you must be Asian American and be named a judge. The most recent honoree was Judge Joan L. Wagener.

You can read an Arizona Daily Star article on the recent event here.

As AAABA reports: “The Book was originally presented to Hon. Thomas Tang by the State Bar of Arizona Committee on Women and Minorities in the Law in 1994. The late Hon. Thomas Tang believed the story of The Giving Tree illustrated the duties and dedication of those that dedicated their lives to public service.”

“AAABA presents the book to its members who are appointed to a State or Federal bench. Judge Wagener will hold ‘The Book’ until the next Asian Pacific American Judge in Arizona is appointed.”

The organization listed its past recipients, including:

Judge Kenneth Lee (1997 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Judge Paul Tang (2001 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Judge Rosa Mroz (2004 to present), Maricopa County Superior Court

Judge Christopher Staring (2010 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Judge David Cunanan (2012 to present), Maricopa County Superior Court

Judge Joan Wagener (2014 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Four Asian Pacific American judges pre-date the tradition of passing down “The Book.”

Judge Thomas Tang (1963 to 1970), Maricopa County Superior Court; (1977 to 1993), Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals

Judge Harry Gin (1975 to 1994), Pima County Superior Court, Presiding Judge

Judge James Don (1978 to 2000), Pinal County Superior Court, Presiding Judge

Judge Brian Ishikawa (1995 to present), Maricopa County Superior Court

Follow the Arizona Asian American Bar Association on Facebook.

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