Currently, New York attorney Michael Park is pending on the Senate floor in queue for an upcoming final confirmation vote. Mr. Park was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in November 2018 and re-nominated at the start of this new session of Congress, after Senate Democrats delayed his confirmation process as part of their overall unprecedented nomination obstruction tactics.
Mr. Park is preeminently qualified and will be an excellent jurist; even the liberal American Bar Association agrees by giving him a rating of “well qualified by a substantial majority” of its committee. Mr. Park, who is Asian-American, would bring further diversity to the Second Circuit and acumen with his Ivy League background and extensive litigation experience.
However, Senate Democrats opt to craft their own narrative in an attempt to tarnish and block a Republican minority nominee. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to submit a blue slip for Mr. Park’s nomination and decried that Mr. Park is “on the front lines of the effort to dismantle affirmative action policies in education,” for his work on challenging Harvard University’s affirmative action policies against Asian Americans.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse specifically asked, during Mr. Park’s hearing: “Is there anything in your experience or record that would allay the suspicion that you may be going onto the court in order to promote ideology rather than do justice?”
Courthouse News Service continued by outlining much of the exchange:
“My personal views about the client’s arguments or policy positions are not part of what I do as a lawyer,” said Park, whose parents emigrated from South Korea. “I represent their interest zealously within the bounds of the law.”
But Park also said he faced racial discrimination himself while applying to school. As part of his work in the Harvard case, he said he spoke to other people who had similar experiences.
Democrats were not satisfied with Park’s answers to their questions about his litigation work, which were similar to those they have received from other Trump administration nominees who have worked on contentious court fights.
Republicans came to Park’s defense, noting lawyers must advocate the positions of their clients, regardless of whether they agree with them.
Mr. Park has been a zealous advocate for his clients, but in their continuing break with legal traditions, Democrats view that as a liability instead of an asset.
Another Asian-American nominee, Ken Lee nominated to the Ninth Circuit, has faced unwarranted criticism from the Democrats:
Mr. Lee’s experience as a racial minority and first-generation American shaped his worldview and lead to a deep distrust of identity politics. Recall that Rao felt similarly about identity politics, wrote about it in college, and faced a torrent of criticism from movement liberals who have made identity politics their bread and butter. . . .
Other college articles took issue with political correctness and other aspects of identity politics in language that was blunt, but also strove for a mix of the funny and self-deprecating, which should not come as a surprise at that age.
Not unlike [D.C. Circuit nominee Neomi] Rao, after his days as a student were over, Mr. Lee’s writings reflected the maturity one would expect of the accomplished and respected attorney he became at a relatively young age. This is evident beyond his writings. He garnered the support of liberal colleagues, demonstrated a commitment to mentoring other minorities in the legal profession, and five years ago was named by California’s largest legal newspaper, the Daily Journal, as one of the state’s top 20 lawyers under 40.
When he faces the committee for a hearing, I expect that in his maturity, he will explain why, like Rao and so many others of a certain age, he thinks and communicates differently now from the student he was a generation ago. Do not expect him to get any credit from his home-state senators or anyone else on their side of the aisle. They will operate from their tired playbook, grandstand in high dudgeon, and continue their corruption of the advice and consent process.
Democrats often lament (inaccurately) that President Trump's judicial nominees are all white men, yet they reserve particular attacks and delays for the many minority and women judges nominated by President Trump. A conservative woman or minority does not fit into their acceptable stereotypes, so the Democrats and their liberal allies attack them often even more than other (white male) nominees. Yet they fail to see the irony.