Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California on Thursday berated a witness appearing at a virtual hearing for not focusing on the brand of discrimination Lieu wanted him to talk about.
The House Judiciary Committee hearing was focused on diversity among federal judges, according to the Washington Examiner.
During the hearing, Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, touched on discrimination at one of America’s elite colleges that many future jurists attend.
“If there is discrimination, it’s against Asian-Americans,” Kirsanow said.
“In fact, just yesterday, or day before yesterday, I filed a brief in the Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard case in the Supreme Court,” he said, referring to a suit brought by Asian-Americans who believe Harvard University’s admissions process discriminates against them.
Lieu began to shout.
Explosive exchange: @tedlieu yells at Peter Kirsanow when he mentions that one of the foremost examples of anti-Asian discrimination right now is at Harvard. This was during a hearing about the need for diversity on the federal courts. pic.twitter.com/q5cDrvSVmL
— Nic Rowan (@NicXTempore) March 25, 2021
“Stop bringing in irrelevant issues,” he yelled.
“There are more Asian-Americans at these Ivy Leagues. In the federal judiciary, they’re underrepresented. These are different issues happening, so just answer my question about Asian-Americans in the federal judiciary or minorities in the federal judiciary, because it is underrepresented.”
“Don’t bring in these college issues because this is not what the hearing’s about,” Lieu said.
“Underrepresented, definitely,” Kirsanow replied, stressing that discrimination at one end of the pipeline yields to the same at the other.
“But underrepresented based on the fact that there has been discrimination in the pipeline that we have been talking about. Profound discrimination against Asian-Americans. Without question, profound discrimination.”
“The perception by the public is we are making determinations on the basis of race — one of the most baleful and anathema considerations we have in the United States of America because of history,” he continued.
“It’s precisely why I say we must avoid, at all costs, the perception that decisions are being made on the basis of race. And when you look at the correlative, with how decision-making is being made through the admissions process, it appears as if decisions in large part are being based on race.”
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) November 13, 2020
Lieu said that what mattered was a data point showing 73 percent of federal judges were white men.
“The reason that you can’t talk about the federal judiciary and you keep going to the college issue is because you know you have no basis on the issue of the federal judiciary,” Lieu said.
“It just needs to be more diverse. It’s corrosive to America to have a entire third branch of government in which people were selected on the basis of them being white.”
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