Judge Kenneth Lee, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Judge Kenneth Lee

Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Kenneth Kiyul Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, in August 1975. He was age four when his parents and three sisters left Korea following a military coup. He grew up in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. He earned an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. He clerked at the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, before entering the private practice of law.

Lee served four years as special counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and was associate counsel and special assistant to President George W. Bush. At the end of the Bush administration, Lee returned to private practice. He was also adjunct faculty at Pepperdine University School of Law.

He was nominated to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Donald Trump. The Senate session adjourned before his nomination was heard, and he was nominated again. Five months later, following a cloture vote, his nomination was confirmed by a 52-45 vote, and he received his commission in June 2019.

In the News…

California’s voter-approved Prop 63, enacted in 2016, banned high-capacity gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. But the ban violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution and is “illegal,” said a duo of Ninth Circuit judges.

In a 66-page order, Judge Kenneth Lee found that the proposition burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment, as firearm magazines are protected under the Constitution, not “unusual” and are commonly owned for lawful purposes.

He further found that Proposition 63 “struck at the core right of law-abiding citizens to self-defend by banning LCM possession within the home,” using the acronym for “large-capacity magazine.”

The state’s “compelling interest” in mitigating gun violence was not narrowly tailored by “a statewide blanket ban on possession everywhere and for nearly everyone.” As such, Proposition 63 was not the “least restrictive means” of preventing mass casualties, wrote Judge Lee.

“Many Californians may find solace in the security of a handgun equipped with an LCM: those who live in rural areas where the local sheriff may be miles away, law-abiding citizens trapped in high-crime areas, communities that distrust or depend less on law enforcement, and many more who rely on their firearms to protect themselves and their families. California’s almost blanket ban on LCMs goes too far in substantially burdening the people’s right to self-defense,” Judge Lee wrote.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Lee today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Judge Kenneth K. Lee
Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse
221 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101


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