Judge James Chiun-Yue Ho on diversity and the judiciary

We need more judges like Judge Ho on the bench. He is a prime example of accomplishments made by President Trump on his judicial appointees. Judge Ho doesn’t see color or race when adjudicating cases. He sees the law. This is more important than ever.

The video below is from his testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing entitled, “The Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary” on March 25, 2021.

Here is a transcript of his statement.

Thank you for inviting me to testify. I am honored to join my distinguished colleagues from the judiciary. Our remarks today are akin to what we judges sometimes all concurring in the judgment. We agree on certain core principles, but I would like to offer my own reasoning. equality of opportunity is fundamental to who we are, and to who we aspire to be as a nation. And to my mind, that means two things. It means that we must do everything we can to ensure that everyone truly has the opportunity to succeed. And it means we must never bend the rules to favor anyone. Dr. King had it right. Choose people based on who they are, not what they look like. Let me begin by explaining how I began. I came to America from Taiwan, at a very young age. So you know, most kids grow up learning English from their parents, I grew up learning English from a bunch of Puppets from a place called Sesame Street. My classmates brought a kid’s lunchbox to school, I brought a bento box to school. My food seemed normal to me. But it smelled funny to my classmates, or so they were telling me. And I remember racial slurs and jokes on the playground, and on the football field. But I also learned that if you work hard and prove yourself, you can find your place in America. equality of opportunity is not something to be passive about. It’s something we should be passionate about. We must make sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn and to succeed, so that when Lose or Draw, at least you got a chance, no matter who you are. This is not just a talking point to me. It’s why I was honored to serve as co chair of the Judiciary Committee of the national Asian Pacific American Bar Association. It’s why I love talking to young lawyers and law students of every race and ideological stripe. It’s why I always say that if anyone is willing to forego other opportunities in their careers in order to enter public service, call me. I’ll take them to lunch and share what I know. But here’s the kicker. Once everyone has a full and fair opportunity to be considered, you pick on the merits. Both the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act make clear that it is wrong to hire people based on race. That’s the law for a wide range of jobs. But it would be especially wrong, I would submit to select judges based on race. It is true, I am the only Asian American on my court. I’m also the only immigrant on my court. But I would never suggest that a wise Asian would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white judge. That would be antithetical to our legal system and poisonous to civil society. No one should ever assume that I’m more likely to favor Asians or immigrants or anyone else, or that my colleagues are less likely to everyone should lose or when based on the law, period. That’s why Lady Justice wears a blindfold. That’s why judges wear black robes. And I don’t say this because I think race is no longer an issue in our country. I have received racist hate mail and racially disparaging remarks. Because of positions I’ve taken in my legal career. I’ve been treated differently because of the race of the person I’m married to. And I also remember back in high school, my college admissions advisor, tell me that my grades, sa t scores and activities were all strong enough to get me into my top choice of schools. If I was an agent, Now, I’m not saying any of this here to complain, whatever negative experiences, iPad, they pale, in comparison to the many blessings I’ve had living in this great country. I was not born an American. But I thank God every day, but I will die an American. My point is just that I don’t come to my views because I think racism is behind us. Rather, I come to my views precisely because racism is not behind us. Because the last thing we should do is divide people by race. The last thing we should do is to suggest that the racists are right. We don’t achieve equality of opportunity by denying it to anyone. We achieve it by securing it for everyone. So make no mistake, it would be profoundly offensive and un-American to tell the world that you’re restricting a judgeship to members of only one race, it’s offensive to people of other races. And it’s offensive to people of that race. Because you’re suggesting that the only way they’ll get the job Have you rigged the rules in their favor? as a judge, I have the profound honor of presiding over a naturalization ceremony every year. I do this to celebrate my own naturalization. Now, 39 years ago, people from all around the world come together in one room for one purpose to become an American. And it reminds me that what binds our nation is not a common race or religion or philosophical point of view. what unites us is not a common past, but a common hope for the future. A shared love of freedom and a mutual commitment to the Constitution, under the principle of equality of opportunity. Thank you.

Here is a link to the full hearing. It’s incredibly boring. Judge Ho’s statement is the highlight.