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Democrats shocked by Trump judicial nominee’s utterly ordinary conservative college essays

Criticizing segregated spaces on campus? Oh, the horror!

Has everybody forgotten the common ideological arguments of the 1990s?

Senate Democrats who have lived through previous decades – not just the era of OJ, Seinfeld and boy bands – seem shocked and appalled at finding college writings that are utterly ordinary for the time.

Their latest target among President Trump’s judicial nominees is Kenneth Lee, a former associate counsel to President George W. Bush who has been nominated to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco.

Politico reports that California Democrats – veteran Dianne Feinstein and faux-woke newbie Kamala Harris – are seizing on Lee’s writings as an undergraduate at Cornell University.

The Korean-American lawyer has “extreme and troubling views on race,” they claim, because like every other conservative college student in the ’90s, Lee mocked the soft bigotry of low expectations that progressives applied to anyone who’s not white or Asian.

He “defended The Cornell Review for publishing a parody of Ebonics,” according to Politico:

“If the Oakland School Board provides politically correct, feel-good nonsense to poor urban blacks, Cornell University does the same for middle-class and affluent blacks,” Lee wrote during his time as an undergraduate at Cornell. “The university has justly garnered a notorious reputation for championing racial group-think and multicultural dogma.”

Shocking! “Extreme”! Criticizing the top-down imposition of “racial group-think” by the enlightened whites who run Cornell and see all black people as a monolith!

Lee also wrote utterly predictable ’90s things about the link between promiscuity and HIV transmission, saying that gay men can protect themselves by not having sex with many partners. UNBELIEVABLE!

His college writings, which continued at Harvard Law School, even sound contemporary at times. He defended a professor accused of sexual assault by noting two of his accusers only brought their accusations after they “took a class on human sexuality,” which might have led them to believe that his “kindly” behavior was actually “lecherous.”

In the millennium before the grossly misleading statistic became widely cited and rarely understood, Lee called the 1-in-4 statistic about women and rape “deeply flawed.”

Who was he citing? The cross-millennial “Factual Feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers, who 20 years later is still criticizing the junk surveys that give us increasingly unhinged estimates of campus rape among the most privileged, least at-risk women in America.

And some progressives are upset with Lee for his Cornell writings against “victimization culture” (what does that sound like?) and racially segregated spaces on campus (sadly, still popular).

There is nothing remotely Roy Moore or even Matt Gaetz about Lee, judging by his college writings or his subsequent work. “One conservative advocate” told Politico that Lee has a “demonstrated actual record of doing things that advance the cause and civil rights of minorities,” including going after police brutality.

The outrage of Feinstein, Harris and the urban, white, intolerant left toward Lee says much more about them than him. His college writings were certainly no less embarrassing than theirs, either in their time or viewed decades later, and he was even prescient about matters that we’re still arguing about today.

If the worst thing you can say about Lee is he was well within ’90s mainstream conservatism – and has continued to grow and mature since then – that’s still a lot better than much of Trumpworld.

MORE: College writings shouldn’t sink judicial nominees like Neomi Rao

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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