By Jon Dougherty
Democrats are masters at identity politics and playing the race card, but an immigrant South Korean lawyer POTUS Donald Trump has nominated for the Ninth Circuit Court just schooled them on the subject — and how, ultimately, in America, identity and race don’t really matter.
During his confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kenneth Lee related a powerful story of his experience with racism when he was still just a child, as well as the positive message his dad told him after the ordeal.
In order to save money on a trip to Disneyland, the family packed a meal of traditional Korean food, which Lee said was “very exotic” in the U.S. more than 35 years ago He said he and his family were mocked while at the part by other kids for what they were eating and how they looked.
“Little kids started coming up. Some said it smelled. Other said it looked like feces; they used a slightly different word,” Lee said. “One of them, I remember, was pointing to my parents, making kind of faux Asian-sounding names and pulling their eyes.”
“When you’re a kid, the smallest things seem like the world to you,” the constitutionalist nominee told senators. The following day after the trip to Disneyland, maybe because he “felt helpless, I blamed my dad for this whole thing, and I said ‘I want to go back. I want to go back to Korea. You never asked us if we wanted to come here, move to a new country.'”
“My dad was a stoic man, but he said, ‘I know it’s tough for you; it’s tough on your sisters; it’s tough on me, your mom,'” Lee continued. “‘I know it’s tough here, but you don’t want to go back,’ he said, ‘because things aren’t fair there.'”
Lee noted that his father informed him that in their native country, family-owned conglomerates (which are known as Chaebol) have much oligarchic power and wield a great deal of outsized influence. “‘They control the government, they control the economy, they control the laws, so you’re not gonna get a fair shot there.'”
“But, he said, here in America, things are different,” Lee said. “It doesn’t matter that you’re not white. It doesn’t matter you weren’t born here. It doesn’t matter that our family doesn’t have wealth or power. He said everyone here is treated equally.”
“My dad wasn’t a lawyer; he never read the Federalist Papers,” Lee said. “But he had a gut understanding of what makes our country and our Constitution so great, so powerful, and so unique in the world. And I’ve always remembered that.”
In a joint statement, Feinstein and Harris cited two articles Lee, a former associate counsel to President George W. Bush and currently a partner at the law firm Jenner & Block, wrote. In one article, Lee defended The Cornell Review for publishing a parody of Ebonics.
“If the Oakland School Board provides politically correct, feel-good nonsense to poor urban blacks, Cornell University does the same for middle-class and affluent blacks,” Lee wrote during his time as an undergraduate at Cornell. “The university has justly garnered a notorious reputation for championing racial group-think and multicultural dogma.”
Another article he wrote at Cornell was in defense of a professor accused of sexual assault by four women, according to a Democratic aide who spoke to Politico.
Whatever Lee did or didn’t write wouldn’t have mattered; partisan Democrats were going to oppose him simply because they don’t want to put any Trump nominees on the federal bench, especially on the Ninth Circuit, which, for years, has been populated with Left-wing judicial activists (though their majority is dwindling).
That said, to watch Feinstein, who is white, and Harris, who grew up privileged, lecture Lee on “race” is a sick joke.
“My dad … never read the Federalist Papers. But he had a gut understanding" of what makes this country great.
9th Circuit Judicial nominee Kenneth Lee tells Senate Judiciary about how his immigrant dad turned an experience with racism into a lesson about the American promise. pic.twitter.com/MYlFMlgnhi
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) March 13, 2019
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10