United States Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, congratulated a Korean-American nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for being Korean during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California was nominated by President Joe Biden and if confirmed by the Senate would be the first Korean-American woman to serve as an appellate court judge.
“What you said about your Korean background reminds me a lot of what my daughter-in-law of 45 years has said, ‘If I learned anything from Korean people, it’s a hard work ethic, and how you can make a lot out of nothing.’ So I congratulate you and your people,” Grassley said.
“Thank you,” Koh politely replied.
“Koh, who was born in Washington, D.C., had just finished telling a story about her mother’s escape from North Korea in 1946. She also described the poverty she witnessed growing up in Mississippi in the 1970s,” per The Huffington Post.
“Grassley made the statements during Koh’s nomination hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said that Koh, who had shared stories during the proceeding of her heritage and her mother’s escape from North Korea, reminded him of what his daughter-in-law, who is also Korean American, had told him about Korean people,” NBC News noted.
Grassley’s communications director, Taylor Foy, said in a statement that his 88-year-old boss had intended for his remarks to be “complementary, not to insult anyone. Chairman Durbin invited Judge Koh to share the inspiring story of her family’s immigration to the United States. Sen. Grassley shared that he has similarly been inspired by the immigration story of his daughter-in-law, who is also Korean-American.”
In addition to being the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican member, Grassley is also the chamber’s president pro tempore emeritus, which places him third in the presidential line of succession after the vice president and Speaker of the House Representatives.
Watch below via The Recount:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tells judicial nominee Lucy Koh, who is Korean American, that he’s learned from his daughter-in-law that Koreans have “a hard work ethic and how you can make a lot out of nothing.”
“So I congratulate you and your people.” pic.twitter.com/TZaC9qOUFi
— The Recount (@therecount) October 6, 2021
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.