Judge Myong Joun – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Boston municipal judge Myong Joun has been tapped for elevation to the federal bench.


Joun received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1994, and then obtained a J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law in 1999.

After graduation, Joun joined Howard Friedman P.C. In 2007, he became a solo practitioner in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2014, Joun was nominated by Governor Deval Patrick to be a Judge on the Boston Municipal Court, where he currently serves.

History of the Seat

Joun has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts opened by Judge George O’Toole’s move to senior status on January 1, 2018. Due to an inability to reach an agreement on candidates with Massachusetts Senators, the Trump Administration never extended a nominee to fill the vacancy.

Legal Career

After law school, Joun started his legal career at the firm of Howard Friedman. Among the matters he handled there, he was part of the legal team representing Danny Norris, who won a jury trial after being placed under arrest after yelling at an officer for illegally parking. See Norris v. Murphy, 287 F. Supp. 2d 111 (D. Mass. 2013). He also represented Neil Miller, who sued municipal officials after being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for rape. See Miller v. City of Boston, 297 F. Supp. 2d 361 (D. Mass. 2003). Joun also handled appeals, arguing on behalf of an inmate seeking disability accommodations before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. See Shedlock v. Dep’t of Corr., 818 N.E.2d 1022 (Mass. 2004).

From 2007 to 2014, Joun worked as a solo practitioner. His work during this time consisted of civil rights litigation, including a class action suit alleging overtime and pay violations against a chinese restaurant. See Jon Chesto, Quincy Workers Sue Eatery, Cite Unpaid Hours; Chinese Restaurant in Brockton Denies Charges, The Patriot Ledger, Sept. 16, 2009. He also represented Shaun Joseph, who was protesting Donald Rumsfeld, when he was arrested and charged with assault and battery against an officer (the charges were dismissed after a video exonerated him). See Edward Mason and Tom Mashberg, The Complaint Jar Runneth Over, Boston Magazine, April 2014.


Since 2014, Joun has served on the Boston Municipal Court, a trial court that has jurisdiction over both criminal and civil cases.

Among the notable matters that he heard as a judge, Joun presided over the assault trial of Tajanetta Downing, who fatally injured a 72 year old woman by shoving her to the ground. See Charlene Adams, ‘Ghostbusters’ Cameraman Helps Cops Find Woman Who Fatally Pushed 72-Year-Old Grandmother to the Ground, Daily Mail, July 10, 2015.

Political Activity

Joun’s political history consists largely of donations to Patrick and to the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Overall Assessment

A civil rights attorney turned state judge, Joun falls within the mainstream of Democratic appointees to the federal bench. While he is likely to have limited crossover support, Joun is favored to join the bench if he can get a hearing before the end of the year.


  1. After me being critical of Massachusetts judges being older & moderate, the latest has certainly been more in line with what I would expect from the state. Joun also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the National Lawyers Guild & the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. He had a nice progressive background prior to joining the bench. He is either the first or amongst the first AAPI federal judges from the state once confirmed so he adds diversity as well. Very good pick.


  2. It depends on how high a priority his nomination is with Senate Democrats. He won’t get much if any crossover support and the elections are less than two months away.

    I looked up the Tajanetta Downing case but couldn’t find what her sentence was.


    • Let’s hope Schumer sticks to his guns, especially after he made his statement publicly. I mean it’s just 6 days (3 days for each of the first two weeks). It’s not like they won’t have plenty of time to campaign & fundraise & they can get a LOT done in those 6 days.


      • It’s just six days over the span of two weeks. They still have the rest of those two weeks off plus the entire two weeks before the election off. They need to do the job the American oriole sent them there to do. Having the entire month of October off was not part of the deal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly they should have planned it better then they could have taken all of October off with little fan fare. Had they cancelled a week of the August recess and/or worked a couple 5 day work weeks, then they would have completed most of the work & confirmed most of the judges that we want them to stay in session to do in October.

        But they want August off, work 3 days a week & now want October off too. It’s just really not good optics for a party trying to convince voters to keep them in the majority.


  3. I hope this challenger wins & they do the same thing in New Jersey as well. The notion that blue states like Delaware & New Jersey are required to put Republicans on their supreme courts & other state bench’s while Republicans pack their red state courts with young, partisan conservatives is ridiculous.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely!
      Dems in Delaware should repeal this via a state constitutional amendment. I am dubious that this will be ultimately be successful in the courts.
      I despise these ridiculous vestiges of eras long gone by.
      In some respects New Jersey’s worse than Delaware because Dems can decide to no longer follow this rubbish senatorial courtesy tradition on their own. I know this would make this site’s apologists of the old order bristle with indignation, but honestly, who cares?
      GA’s Brian Kemp is my model: appoint 30-something year olds!


      • With that attitude, don’t come complaining when the judiciary becomes even more filled with Democratic and Republican hacks and take away more of your rights. We need the most qualified jurists with a wide swath of experiences, and are ready to rule based on the law and not feelings, no matter if they are 30 or 70.


      • I cannot disagree with you more, Frank. No surprise there.
        I completely agree with Gavi, although the judges need to be at least somewhat progressive, 30 some year old moderates are no good.

        My GOP appointed model is Aileen Cannon. In a weird way, I kind of tip my cap to the complete partisan hack that she is, that she just ignored the law to rule full throated for Trump. Given that Trump appointed so many of these kinds of hacks, I would like to return the favor (except they need to be actually intelligent rather than cronies of party establishment leaders).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think at least a full week in October to hold hearings and move some less controversial nominees is essential. If they were concerned about campaigning then there were many recess weeks they could have canceled early in the year.

    If Republicans don’t want to show up that is perfectly fine as well.


    • For Schumer to keep the Senate in session, a quorum of 51 senators is needed. If any Democrats are missing, the GOP could succeed in a boycott, whether intentional or not, as long as at least 1 Republican is there (so they can demand a quorum call). Schumer might be forced to cancel if he doesn’t have a quorum, though he has stated multiple times that the Senate will be in session for 2 weeks in October.

      The GOP is trying to turn its words into a prophecy. Hopefully they won’t succeed. And given Schumer sticks to his guns, it’s because it’s his calculated decision that staying in session is good optics for Dems’ midterm prospects rather than because he wants to get stuff done.


      • Exactly. A minimum of one Republican will have to be present because if not, any one Democrat senator can request unanimous consent on any judicial nominee, just need one senator to second the motion & the chair to approve of it (A total of 3 senators). So theoretically Democrats only need 49 senators present for a quorum. So they can be in session with one senator absent.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Also, to pass any major legislation, a “not voting” has the same effect as a “no” vote. Legislation requires 60 votes to pass, so it’s a non-starter if there are less than 60 Senators available. They could confirm more judges provided they have a quorum since judges can’t be filibustered.


  5. Looks like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has been assigned to the First Circuit. I thought she would have received the DC Circuit.

    For the First Circuit – Ketanji Brown Jackson, Associate Justice
    (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island)


  6. If the Democrats don’t show up for work in October, I may not vote for them. If you aren’t going to do the minimum and confirm these judges that waiting (specifically Abudu, Bloomekatz, and Garcia), don’t turn around and ask me for your vote. If the deal is confirming Arianna Freeman in exchange for cancelling two weeks in October, this is unacceptable.

    Also talking about the “end of democracy” as a reason to vote for Democrat isn’t gonna cut it. On democracy, let me tell you a dirty little secret. The majority of working class Americans and large numbers of young people of all races don’t give a shit about “end of democracy”. They would gladly be ok with authoritarianism if such a system would deliver for them and their families. And this isn’t just limited to the right, support for authoritarianism is growing strongly on the left too. If we care about saving democracy, you better find a way to show that democracy can actually deliver a fair shot for the general populace and not just the wealthy and big corporations. This is what Keynes and FDR understood well.


    • I’m hoping Thune was just talking out of the side of his mouth. Schumer already said they would be in session so I believe that is still the plan. I’m not even sure how they will leave town tomorrow for their one week recess if they don’t finish the budget vote. I’m hoping if they do break for recess tomorrow, Schumer at least sends a couple circuit court cloture motions so they can be set up for a vote when they return the week after next.


    • The fact that you keep promoting authoritarianism is disgusting coming from a so called “progressive” poster. Democracy is worth saving no matter if a few of your favorite judges are confirmed before the midterms or not. Cancelling the October recess will be decided by the entire Democrat caucus, not just the majority leader, who unlike many senators isn’t in worry regarding losing power.


      • What is really disgusting is that you regularly shit on progressives. Nearly every single post from you is basically “owning the libs” or expressing glee that some progressive goal is thwarted. I don’t know what your politics or goals are, perhaps you are a Republican (which is fine). But if you are a moderate Democrat, I’ll just say that progressives don’t owe you our vote. You need to earn it. I would rather be stabbed in the front by Clarence Thomas than stabbed in the back by a left-bashing bogus Democrat.

        I’m not “promoting” authoritarianism, I’m just saying what the facts are about the country is right now. It is just the fact that large numbers of voters really don’t care about the possible “end of democracy”. Furthermore a large minority of voters would take authoritarianism if they believe that it could deliver for them and their family better than democracy can. Stating these things isn’t “promoting” authoritarianism. Shouting from the rooftops about the threat to democracy and calling your opponents juvenile names isn’t going to save democracy. Actually dealing with the issues that threaten democracy the way FDR or Lincoln did will.

        I strongly stand by my views that a progressive version of Aileen Cannon is my ideal judge. If you don’t like that, well tough. We have every right to promote our view just like you can promote your view that J. Michelle Childs is your ideal judge.


      • The good thing is after 4 years of Trump, 8 years of Obama in which he only took the judiciary serious for 2 of the 8 years with a majority Democrat senate & 8 years of GW Bush, there is so much untapped progressive talent out there. We can get both a progressive version of Aileen Cannon while still being very capable & qualified at the same time.

        That’s why I get so disappointed when we get either unqualified or older nominees. 137 nominees in the first 2 years is great. But besides district court nominees in purple or red states & maybe the renomination of some failed Obama nominees that never got a vote, we should really be aiming for those progressives in their 30’s & 40’s. I don’t realistically expect them all to be that way, but each time it’s not, it’s a wasted opportunity unless it’s a nominee that is so progressive that it’s worth the loss of youth. Such as Nina Morrison or Beth Robinson.


  7. All six Third circuit nominees were voted to the floor just now. Surprisingly Tamika Montgomery-Reeves got one more yes vote than Cindy Chung.

    John Murphy. The Republican senator Toomy choice, still got 4 no votes by senators Lee, Cruz, Hawley & Blackburn.


  8. It sounds like they’re likely voting on the spending bill next. Which is a shame because I agree, I would’ve liked to see movement on Abudu at least and maybe even one more.

    Very, very happy that we’re getting Freeman confirmed though, she is one of the best nominees so far under Biden as far as I’m concerned.


    • Congrats Mrs. Freeman. Greta job on all 50 Dems keeping their caucus together to get this done before the recess Anything less would have been unacceptable in all honesty.

      Schumer just said they will vote to confirm somebody on a reconsideration vote so I guess another person failed but it wasn’t a judicial nominee so not sure who it was. I believe he said Gomez.


  9. As a frequent critic of schumer and the senate democrats, i give them credit for confirming freeman and not letting it delay further. They have been doing pretty good as of recent. Hope we can get abudu and ho across the finish line this year

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats Arianna Freeman. It is wonderful to see a progressive confirmed who represents the ideals of the current day Democratic Party not just one designed to please Republicans and conservative in name only Democrats. We are in more danger than we have ever been in decades and the only way to fight back is to confirm nominees who will do their best to stop it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. TIFWIW.

    I have no idea what sort of deal they may be working out. I am OK with them cancelling only as long as a SJC nomination hearing is still held and they make some kind of agreement to make up the two weeks of missed votes in a marathon session or otherwise.


  12. Is freeman the best biden circuit judge thus far? My top 3 are CJA , holly thomas and freeman. I love garcia for the age factor alone lol.
    I am looking forward to watching the investiture of KBJ tomorrow, apparently both biden and harris will be in attendance.


      • My top 3 circuit court Biden nominees are Rachel Bloomekatz, Myrna Perez & Arianna J. Freeman. But All those just mentioned are great as well. On a side note, Andre Mathis just received his commission yesterday so he is officially a 6th circuit judge now.


        As for any potential deals to get the entire month off, it would need to be a deal similar to the one made on December 17th to allow rapid, back to back votes on double digit nominees. That would be worth giving them two weeks off.


      • @Dequan, I agree. The way I view it, cancelling those 7 work days (Oct 10 being a holiday) equates to about 25 potential floor votes. If McConnell would agree to about 10-12 voice votes for some of the less controversial district judges or some other executive nominees that would normally take up floor time then I think that would be fair. I would also want to maintain the nomination hearing for October so that Benjamin and Wamble too so we don’t miss even more time than we already have.

        If not then I’d prefer to just drag everyone back and hammer away at some more nominees.


      • Eight 9th circuit judges ruled in favor of private prisons? I assume they must have been a combination of the 10 Trump & 3 GW Bush judges. That’s one bad draw from a pool of judges that is majority Democrat appointees. Hopefully it will go en banc. And yes Jennifer Sung is also great. I think she’s Biden’s only former union organizer judge so far. Hopefully we get more if Dems hold the senate.


      • uuuggghhh, Nguyen, Watford, Owens… That’s a punch in the gut. Well Watford was once somebody I hoped could get a look at for SCOTUS especially if Clarence decided to go but not anymore. Thankfully we have 12 Black woman (13 minus KBJ), Mathis & hopefully soon Wamble that can be considered by the next president that wants to nominate a blank person.

        On another note it looks like we will be going back to district court judges after recess. Schumer just filed for cloture for Maria del R. Antongiorgi-Jordan from Puerto Rico.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan
        “That’s one bad draw from a pool of judges that is majority Democrat appointees. Hopefully it will go en banc.”

        That was an en banc ruling. The *limited* en banc panel of 11 judges is a unique creature of the 9th Circuit.
        Thought I’d clarify for you.


      • @Gavi

        Ooohhh, I was wondering why it was so many judges, yet not the full 9th circuit. So I assume the 9th is the only circuit not to have its entire slate of judges hear en banc due to its size. I hate to agree with Republicans but it really should be split up. I wish the Democrats would just make an offer to add a limited amount of judges to the country (Sorry Hank Johnson but even if the country needs an additional 50 circuit court judges, there’s no way in Hell either side would ever agree to that when not in the majority).


        That’s going to be a tough conversation. Sotomayor truly loves the law, probably almost as much as RBG if not more. 70 years old is the equivalent of a teenager for SCOTUS justices. Also she is now the most senior liberal on the court so that’s power that takes a long time to attain, I’m not so sure she will want to give it up that soon. I know she has some health issues so it would be nice if she wanted to retire & enjoy the rest of her life but I don’t see it happening despite how many years she has been a judge.

        But speaking about a potential vacancy of the Dems are still in the majority, I will stick to my prediction if Alison Nathan for any none Chief Justice Roberts or Sotomayor seat. Roopali Desai would be a strong contender too once she gets on the 9th. She still hasn’t been given her commission so she’s not officially on the bench yet.

        If Roberts left the bench, I predict Biden would elevate Kagan with KBJ as my second pick. For Sotomayor’s seat, my first choice is Myrna Perez but depending on how long Bradley Garcia is on the bench I may move him up.


  13. Looking ahead…

    With the confirmation of Arianna Freeman, we now have two such cases where home state senator’s withholding of blue slips didn’t sink the nomination. Good on Democrats for pushing ahead on these.
    I predict that Anthony Johnstone will be the next circuit court nominee to not have two blue slips returned. It is pretty clear (to me, the realist pessimist!) that Steve Daines will not support his nomination, per the senator’s statement upon Biden’s announcement. Now, does that mean that he’ll withhold his blue slip? I think so. “Technically” returning a blue slip just means that a home state senator was properly consulted, not necessarily that the senator will ultimately support the nominee. But of course, everything gets blurred through the years.

    Now, Biden NEEDS to nominate a young progressive Latina from Texas to fill Costa’s vacancy on the 5th Circuit. Any allowance made for Graham and the Indiana senators simply should not be made for the Texas senators.
    Quite frankly, it’s very disappointing that a nominee isn’t already named. Before you come for me (yes, I am looking at you!), Biden could have announced an intent-to-nominate someone while Costa’s resignation was still pending, then send the nomination to the Senate upon Costa’s resignation.
    Also, this is a circuit court vacancy, not a district court, so the WH didn’t need to wait on any local judicial committee to find a candidate. If this and the two blue state seats remain unfilled by the end of the year (especially if Dems lose the Senate), I will be extremely disappointed in Biden and the respective Dem senators.
    NOT to mention Dale Ho!

    What are your looking aheads??

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Gavi

      Holy Thomas is also one of my favorites as well. She is also one of the nominees I guessed at the beginning of Biden’s term to be picked. Other circuit court picks I guessed correctly were KBJ, Lucy Koh (I wasn’t happy I was right), Alison Nathan, J Childs (I guessed for the 4th not DC Circuit), Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, Rachel Bloomekatz & Anthony Johnstone correctly.


  14. I love that the conservatives are being owned by identical numbers.

    Trump won 306-232 in the Electoral College in 2016. Biden won by the exact same margin, 306-232, in 2020.

    16 days ago, Freeman’s nomination was defeated in a 50-47 vote. Today, Freeman was confirmed by a 50-47 vote.

    What comes around goes around


  15. If the report of not working in October is true, it’s the last straw for me. This is absolutely unforgivable.

    All we have gotten so far is incompetence and total lack of effort. As far as judges, we got a conservative unqualified hack in the execrable J. Michelle Childs to the second highest court in the land, whose primary qualification is a major patron using his ties to Biden to get her nominated. This is nothing but a deep stab in the back. It more than wipes out whatever good Biden has done on judges.

    A Congress that does as little work as this one, and simply caters to big donors and lobbyists, is a strong argument that authoritarians have. Don’t talk down to me about how democracy has to be saved and at the same time put together this kind of lazy ass performance where you spend the majority of the year in recess. If you want to save democracy, show me through your actions not words.


  16. While the next roll call vote isn’t until Nov 14th, Durbin said this:


    • That is good. The nomination hearings continuing was my biggest concern. I am hopeful that there is another secret arrangement to allow for additional votes during the dead period as well, as there are still 12 circuit (including 2-3 that’ll need discharges) and 24-28 district court nominees that will need floor votes in addition to Electoral Count Act, Gay Marriage, Defense Bill, and another spending bill.


  17. Schumer tries to split the baby with the October schedule, effectively canceling all but one day and saying that no more votes until after the midterm. I am just glad that SJC will still get to hold hearing(s?).

    Also, Joe Manchin predicts that Dems will keep the senate. The irony is he almost singlehandedly (with Sinema) made it more difficult for his party to win, with his obstruction.


    • As long as they continue with the 18 – 20 hour average for circuit court nominees then we are good even with two weeks in October. The four discharges will take up almost two days (Thankfully none of the six nominees from today tied in the SJC). The district court nominees can be knocked out 5 or so in a day even without an agreement to cut time.

      Today was a great day for the judiciary. Schumer filing cloture on several nominees instead of just one would have made it better but I won’t complain.


  18. About time that they finally confirmed Freeman – definitely one of Biden’s best nominees yet. Folks were discussing other great candidates, and I think Jackson-Akiwumi, Perez, Sung, and Bloomekatz (once confirmed) will all be great. If Dems keep the Senate and either Sotomayor/Kagan retire or one of the conservatives pass away before 2024, I think they will all be considered for SCOTUS (I agree that Nathan seems likely to get the nomination if Biden gets a second vacancy, but not if it’s to fill Sotomayor’s seat).

    Also, whoever thinks James Ho is well-qualified for anything than to be the 5th Circuit’s Aileen Cannon must be truly delusional (or just a troll). He cites Fox News pieces in his “opinions,” goes off on tangents that sound like they’re plagiarized from some second-rate MAGA candidate’s stump speech, and his writing skills are on par with Van Dyke. Between him and Oldham, you can smell the stench of desperation to get on SCOTUS from miles away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • A conversation for another day perhaps, but if Democrats retain the senate I think it would be smart to start having conversations with Soromayor about retirement. In Summer 2024 she will turn 70 and will have had 32 years of service on the federal bench, including 15 on SCOTUS. But given the 2024 map there’s just no telling if/when Ds might control the senate map for the foreseeable future.

      Anyway, a conversation for another day


  19. Pingback: The Unexpected Opportunity – Assessing the Landscape of Judicial Vacancies | The Vetting Room

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