OAKES, N.D. — Sarala Vidya Nagala, a career federal prosecutor with ties to Oakes, North Dakota, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the first Indian American federal judge in Connecticut.
Nagala, 38, who was nominated to become a U.S. District Court judge by President Joe Biden, was born in Oakes and graduated from high school there in 2001. She's also a graduate of Stanford University and of the University of California, Berkeley.
When she was nominated for the judgeship in June, Nagala was serving as the deputy chief of the major crimes unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Connecticut, a job she had held for four years, though she had been with the U.S. Attorney's Office since 2012.
Prior to 2012, she worked in private practice at a law firm in San Francisco.
The Senate voted 52-46 to confirm Nagala's nomination for the judgeship on Oct. 27. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association applauded her for becoming the first Asian American U.S District Court judge in the state of Connecticut.
"Judge Nagala’s own compelling family history includes having doctor parents who immigrated from India and completed their medical residencies in North Dakota," NAPABA said in a statement celebrating Nagala's confirmation.
Nagala's parents, Rup and Vani Nagala, of Oakes, "provided care for critically underserved areas and this experience has inspired Judge Nagala’s strong commitment to justice and instilled in her a deep sense of personal responsibility to her community and a career dedicated to public service," the statement said.
Nagala's father, Rup, specializes in family and sports medicine and pain management, according to a profile page on the Sanford Health website.
He's also the medical director of the Good Samaritan Center in Oakes, as well as the health officer for Dickey and Sargent counties. In addition, he serves on the Oakes Volunteer Ambulance Service and the Forman Volunteer Ambulance Service.
Nagala's mother, Vani, provides medical care for adults of all ages and focuses on incorporation of lifestyle changes to improve patients' health, according to a profile page on the Sanford Health website.
Vani Nagala also serves in North Dakota as the medical director for the Four Seasons Nursing Home in Forman, the St. Rose Care Center in LaMoure and the Prince of Peace Care Center in Ellendale, according to the profile page.
She's also a member of the LaMoure County Health Department and LaMoure County Ambulance Service.
Vani Nagala told The Forum she and her husband were excited and happy for their daughter in having been named a federal judge.
"She has always been extremely hard working and diligent, so we feel it's well deserved," Vani Nagala said.
Rup Nagala agreed.
"The greatest thing about Sarala is her humble roots and modesty and extreme fairness in all her business dealings," her father said.