Korean community leaders in New Jersey want to know what went wrong with the nomination of the first Asian-American to the state Supreme Court.
Leaders of several Korean community organizations planned to gather Friday at a community center in Englewood to discuss the defeat of Phillip Kwon, a Korean-born former federal prosecutor whom Gov. Chris Christie had nominated as one of his picks for the state’s highest court.
The 44-year-old Kwon was rejected by a Democratic panel last week in a 7-6 vote, following a daylong grilling about the financial practices of a Mount Vernon, N.Y., liquor store owned by his family.
Kwon also was questioned about his political affiliation. An independent, he had been a registered Republican for a dozen years before moving to New Jersey and changing his voting affiliation last year
The rejection deeply upset many Koreans, according to community organizer Andrew Kim, who is helping plan today’s meeting. Although many feel there is no chance of Kwon being re-nominated, Kim said many feel something can be learned about New Jersey politics from the experience.
The Korean-American community is starting to mature politically, as organizations that were once largely social-service community groups for newcomers continue to transform into more powerful business associations that are branching out into the mainstream in New Jersey and elsewhere.
The derailment of Kwon’s nomination has caused shockwaves in the community, according to Paul Lee, a community organizer and former member of the board of education in Palisades Park.
Sounds racist! Is that the only thing they can find on Kwon?