Senator Feinstein

Senator Feinstein’s statement in support of Judge Chen:

December 22, 2010

“Even worse in many ways is the similar treatment that Magistrate Judge
Edward Chen has received. I recommended Judge Chen for a judgeship
in the Northern District of California. If confirmed, he would be the first
judge of Chinese descent to serve in this district, with its notable Chinese heritage.

This would not be a novel role for Judge Chen: for the past 9 years, he has served as a magistrate judge on this same court. And his service there has
been impeccable, and apparently unassailable: he has written more than 350
published opinions in that time, and there has not been an objection to a
single one of them.

But opponents of his nomination are hanging their hat on one quote from
him, taken out of context.

One of the darkest chapters in this country’s history was the wholesale internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The Supreme Court upheld this heinous practice in the notorious case of Korematsu v. United States. In 1988, Congress passed and President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act and issued a formal apology for the internment. Before serving as a magistrate judge, Ed Chen represented the name party in that case, Fred Korematsu, in his successful effort to overturn his conviction for defying the internment order.

In 2005, Judge Chen attended Mr. Korematsu’s funeral, and spoke about
it a month later to law students. The line that critics have seized upon came
from this speech, where Judge Chen said that, while listening to the congregation sing ‘America the Beautiful’ at the funeral, he sometimes had ‘Feelings of ambivalence and cynicism when confronted with appeals to patriotism— sometimes I cannot help butfeel that there are too much [sic] injustice and too many inequalities that prevent far too many Americans from enjoying the beauty extolled in that anthem.’

But the critics omit what Chen said right after that quotation: Yet I was moved to tears at Fred’s memorial. Why? In part, Fred was a living example of the patriotism embodied in the song. Korematsu demonstrated that patriotism not by waving an American flag, but by trying to vindicate the values and principles that are embodied in that flag freedom, justice and equality under the law. . . . I was also moved not only because ‘America the Beautiful’ echoed what I saw [in] Fred. It was also because the song described the America that Fred envision[ed]. The America whose promised beauty he sought to fulfill, an America true to its founding principles.

Judge Chen didn’t object to singing ‘America the Beautiful’—he was moved to tears by it.

Judge Chen’s nomination enjoys widespread support, with extensive support from the law enforcement community, including: San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, Northern Alliance of Law Enforcement, which represents 20 different law enforcement associations in Northern California, Peace Officers Research Association of California, 11 former Federal prosecutors for the Northern District of California and former San Francisco Chief of Police Anthony Ribera.

And the list goes on.

He also has widespread support from the bar, including the Bar Association of San Francisco, Hispanic National Bar Association, and many others.

Yet despite this support, his nomination has been subjected to repeated, exceptional delay and obstruction, even being returned to the President during congressional recesses.

The day was when district court nominees supported by both home State Senators with extensive law enforcement and legal community support were confirmed routinely. It is time now to end this delay and obstruction, give Ed Chen the fair up-or-down vote he so richly deserves, and confirm this well-proven, qualified nominee to the Federal district court.”


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