EDITORIAL: Outrageous judicial pick still requires scrutiny

Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on five of President Obama’s controversial court-and-justice nominees. Among them is federal district court nominee Edward Chen of Northern California, whose radical agenda has not been fully exposed and requires further public hearings rather than a vote.

If the Senate reveals Mr. Chen’s long record of ill-advised statements and legal positions so that the general public can listen, plenty of Democratic senators will have to reconsider voting for such an extreme nominee.

As a federal magistrate in San Francisco, Mr. Chen objected to the singing of “America the Beautiful” at a funeral because of his “feelings of ambivalence and cynicism when confronted by appeals to patriotism.” His first major public response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was to worry that Americans would succumb to the “seemingly irresistible forces of racism, nativism and scapegoating.” And he embraced the idea that a judge should decide on the believability of testimony by “draw[ing] on the breadth and depth of their own life experiences … [including] one’s ethnic and racial background.”

And that’s the moderate version of Mr. Chen. Before becoming a magistrate, Mr. Chen espoused views even further from America’s social and legal mainstream.

As a leading attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Mr. Chen submitted numerous legal briefs that demonstrate a belief in a very different United States from the one Americans know and love. Mr. Chen’s version of the American legal system would mandate racial quotas, repeatedly tell a state’s citizens that they cannot amend their state constitutions, deny employers and police the right to use careful drug-testing even for reasons of public safety, and force states not only to conduct their business in more than one language, but also to teach language skills to children only in ways approved by a diversity-obsessed thought police.

In case after case that he filed for the ACLU, Mr. Chen argued positions so far adrift from legal precedent that not even the left-leaning California Supreme Court or the far-left-leaning 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would accept them.

He lost when trying to overturn an Arizona referendum requiring that official state business be conducted in English (Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona). He lost when trying to invalidate California’s voter-passed Proposition 227, which eliminated so-called “bilingual education” classes in favor of other forms of teaching English to nonnative speakers (Valeria v. Davis). He likewise lost in several attempts to negate all or part of California’s Proposition 209, which had banned racial preferences in state education, employment and contracting (especially Wilson v. Coalition for Economic Equality and Hi-Voltage Wire Works v. City of San Jose).

Mr. Chen even fought to stop a sheriff’s deputy from finding out whether a man who bit him had AIDS. The brief he filed in Johnetta J. v. Municipal Court argued that an involuntary AIDS test violated constitutional privacy rights. Most sane people would easily decide that biters’ “rights” do not supersede the health concerns of the bitten.

That’s the Mr. Chen that must be exposed - and stopped from ever joining a federal court.

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