Last month, the stately Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas was home to an event many have been anticipating for over a decade: the investiture of Judge Karen Gren Scholer as a federal judge for the Northern District of Texas. It was one of those rare occasions in today’s hyperpartisan environment when local jurists, elected officials and ordinary citizens from both sides of the aisle had cause for celebration — the March 7 swearing-in of a highly respected jurist who is the first Asian-American U.S. district judge in Texas. For the second-most populous state in the union, with a growing Asian-American population, these are landmarks in Texas’ growing diversity worth recognizing and celebrating. Another Asian-American judge, James Ho, also took his seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this year. Born in Tokyo in 1957 to an American serviceman and a Japanese mother, Scholer has been a Texan since she was a toddler. Her family moved to Richardson when she was 4, and she attended Rice University before graduating from Cornell University Law School in 1982. In 2000, after excelling as a civil litigator and making partner at several Dallas law firms, Scholer ran as a Republican and was elected to Dallas County’s 95th State District Court. In 2007, Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Republicans, interviewed her for a federal judgeship in Dallas, which ultimately went to a George W. Bush nominee, Reed O’Connor.