Roopali Desai Becomes First South Asian Woman to Serve as Judge on 9th Circuit Court

Roopali H. Desai, an Arizona-based lawyer, will be the first Indian American woman to serve as a judge on the 9th circuit court. The Senate voted 67-29 on August 4, 2022 to confirm her to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee said, “It comes as no surprise that Ms. Desai’s nomination has received high praise across the political and ideological spectrum, as well as from state judges, law enforcement officials, and three different fire fighters’ organizations. With 16 years of experience as a litigator, she is an outstanding addition to the Ninth Circuit.”

Neil Makhija, Indian American Impact Executive Director pointed out that Desai was, “a fierce defender of democracy, she valiantly represented the Arizona state secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, against a lawsuit by [former] President Donald Trump’s campaign that sought to overturn Biden’s victory in Arizona.”

He added, “It’s no secret that communities of color have been severely underrepresented within our judicial system, but a new wave of tenacious and driven leaders is making remarkable progress in our pursuit of proper representation. While we may not know what the future holds, we can be certain that it will be bright – and it will look like all of us.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, the Ninth Circuit is by far the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals, covering a total of nine states, two territories and with 29 active judgeships.

The daughter of immigrants from India, Desai was born in Canada before coming to Phoenix as a child.