Blinded by identity politics, liberal 11th Circuit judge sees “discrimination” where others see national security threat

by | Feb 5, 2024

Last week, a narrow ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a temporary setback to a Florida law attempting to restrict land purchases in Florida by Chinese foreign nationals. The law, designed to prevent agents of the Chinese government from acquiring land in the Sunshine State, seeks to prevent a more sinister threat than many realize. Specifically, the law targeted foreign nationals living in China who were not lawful U.S. residents. Two of the three justices who ruled on the matter – one a Bill Clinton appointee, the other nominated by Donald Trump – agreed that some special circumstances might exist in this particular case, while the third judge, Joe Biden appointee Nancy Abudu, decided that bipartisan agreement wasn’t good enough. So she penned her own concurring opinion loaded with the sorts of boogeymen commonly found in left-wing identity politics.

The majority opinion, ostensibly penned by Judges Alberto Jordan and Kevin Newsom, focused on the issue of federal preemption. They determined that the plaintiffs demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success in proving that the Florida Statutes in question are preempted by federal law, specifically the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) and associated regulations. That’s it. Nothing more. The court granted a limited, temporary injunction for just the two plaintiffs involved in the case, taking into consideration the imminent risk of irreparable harm to them and the expedited nature of their appeal.

Enter Judge Abudu and Democrat identity politics. While concurring with her two colleagues on federal pre-emption, she couldn’t resist swerving out of the bipartisan legal lane and onto a more familiar progressive road, claiming “the law was enacted for the specific purpose of targeting people of Chinese descent…”

That’s a direct quote from Abudu’s opinion. But where does she get it from?  Nowhere in Florida’s law does it explicitly target “people of Chinese descent.” She’s inventing that out of whole cloth, weaving a false narrative that isn’t supported by the facts of the case, nor the text of Florida’s statutes.

She also claims that the law “blatantly violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection against discrimination.”

Yet if the violation was so “blatant,” Abuntu should ask herself why it was necessary to pen her own opinion on the matter. Why didn’t her Clinton-appointed colleague see that same blatant violation? Probably because, though Alberto Jordan is also a liberal, he’s from a different era when “racism” wasn’t hiding behind every tree or shrub, ready to be exposed by Democrats at their convenience.

Abudu’s invented reasoning strayed into territory that her colleagues, and a lower court, quite specifically rejected. While lawyers for the plaintiffs indeed raised those arguments, the only sympathetic ears they’ve reached so far have been hers, while her colleagues have all been flatly unimpressed.

The focus of the Florida law in question is clear – to address national security concerns posed by land purchases by Chinese foreign nationals with potential ties to the People’s Republic of China. But when progressive, activist judges decide to get political and introduce racial discrimination, it not only misrepresents the intent of the law but muddies the water on important and very legitimate national security measures, while also cheapening legitimate claims of racial bias brought before the court.

The Florida statute was never about targeting Chinese people as a racial group. It was a calculated response to the very real and documented concerns regarding foreign influence and espionage, concerns that have been echoed at the highest levels of U.S. intelligence and national security. From food supplies to cybersecurity, the Chinese government is playing to win. Fortunately, some leaders in the United States recognize that the threat is real, and they are doing what they can, despite being hamstrung by liberal politics.

Sadly, Democrats, not just Judges like Nancy Abudu, struggle to grasp this critical distinction. By framing the law as an act of racial discrimination, her argument, energetic in its self-righteousness, overlooks the stark difference between targeting a government and its agents versus targeting a race of people. The People’s Republic of China, under the guise of various fronts, has shown a propensity for strategic land acquisitions globally, often with opaque intentions.

Florida’s lawmakers, in response, have crafted much-needed legislation aimed squarely at this geopolitical chess game, not at Chinese individuals based on their race.


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