Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary approved President Obama’s nomination of Magistrate Judge Edward Chen to the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The vote was on party lines.
Why? Because Chen — like so many other Obama nominees to the bench including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — has written and said enough to justify a vote against him. The reasons are much the same as they were in the Sotomayor case.
Like Sotomayor, Chen appears to be too great a risk of judicial activism, personal biases and political correctness all of which are alien to the American justice system. A former ACLU Foundation lawyer, he’s well-known for his condemnation of “English-only” laws and his participation in an unsuccessful challenge to a California referendum that outlawed discrimination in hiring based on race, gender or ethnicity.
Chen also has been a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, part of one of the most radical liberal groups in America. He was a staff attorney for the ACLU Foundation between 1985 and 2001: Sixteen years is a very long time for anyone to be enmeshed in the hyperliberal ACLU’s campaigns.
While working for the ACLU, Chen strongly opposed English-only and anti-affirmative action proposals. He reportedly opposed injunctions against gang members and private-sector drug testing.
Chen also co-authored a 1987 article that said the “English-only” movement was “anti-immigrant and xenophobic in character.” Two years later, he wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times repeating that “English-only” laws were based on “false, xenophobic assumptions.”
This is the kind of person President Obama wants to sit on the federal bench. It’s an unsettling thought as Sonia Sotomayor serves her first term on the nation’s highest court. And when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s health is declining.