Trump, La Raza-Tied Judge Gonzalo Curiel, and the GOP

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Published on: June 8, 2016

Donald Trump has managed the impossible. He is the first candidate in United States history who has both the entire Democrat Party and the entire Republican Party campaigning against him.

He accomplished this feat by raising what I believe to be legitimate questions about the impartiality of the judge who will oversee his Trump University case in California, Gonzalo Curiel. Trump has done it with his customary bombastic style, and has aroused the ire of everyone but his base. Even his most faithful and loyal supporter, Newt Gingrich, put his VP hopes at risk by saying that Trump’s comments were “inexcusable.” Under withering pressure from friend and foe alike, he has simply and characteristically doubled down.

After campaign aides sent out instructions yesterday to surrogates to stop talking about the judge, Trump immediately countermanded the directive, saying it contained “stupid” information, and ordered his surrogates to continue attacking the judge on all fronts.

He has since softened his tone toward the judge, but only after the entire Republican Party came after him in force. I have yet to find one Republican elected official who has said anything in defense of Trump’s stance toward Judge Curiel. The lone Republican who supported Trump initially, Alberto Gonzales, has since joined the chorus of critics. Now Trump is plaintively saying only that he hopes the judge will be fair.

The truth is, in my judgment, that Trump has legitimate reasons to question the objectivity of Judge Curiel. But Trump’s bombast and the howling accusations of racism from all corners spooked the Republicans before they could even consider the possibility that he might have a point.

This is a judge who is openly pledged to advance the cause of Latino interests. Before joining the bench, he belonged to the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. “La Raza,” of course, means “The Race” in Spanish. One could be forgiven for considering the possibility that as an organization it might be as racially motivated as an organization calling itself “The Aryan Lawyers Association.”

It is certainly not inappropriate in the least to ask exploratory questions, and certainly appropriate to ask whether such a judge can be fair with a plaintiff like Trump who has been widely accused of pursuing goals in immigration that are considered by many, perhaps even by the judge, to be contrary to Latino interests.

Before Curiel took his seat on the bench, as a member of the La Raza Lawyers Association, he participated in awarding scholarships to illegal aliens as a member of the selection committee for the organization’s 2014 Annual Scholarship Fund Dinner & Gala. Thus he was publicly rewarding those who had no legal right even to be in this country and were breaking the law right in front of these attorneys just by being present at an awards ceremony of this nature.

The La Raza Lawyers Association offers links to like-minded organizations on its home page, under the “Community” banner. A good percentage of these affiliate organizations are dedicated to promoting amnesty and illegal immigration.

An objective observer is compelled to wonder whether such a judge can be neutral, objective, and impartial towards a plaintiff who has pledged to the entire nation to enforce immigration law and to deport the same students Judge Curiel wants to send to college.

It’s odd and hypocritical for the left to criticize Trump for bringing up the ethnicity of Judge Curiel when they constantly bleat about the need for “diversity” on the bench. They salivated over Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court because she was a “wise Latina” who would make better decisions than someone who was an old white guy.

As one observer put it,

When Sonia Sotomayor said that being a “wise Latina” influences her decisions for the better, that—we were told—was not merely nothing to worry about but a sign of her judicial temperament and fitness for the High Court.  When Trump says being a Latino will influence this judge’s hearing of his case, he’s Hitler.

But justice is supposed to be utterly impartial, which is why the statue of Lady Justice wears a blindfold. It should not matter before the bar of justice what ethnicity judges, plaintiffs, defendants, or even jurors are, because the issue is one of criminal behavior, not heritage.

But the more the left insists on ethnic diversity, the more they make race and not justice the issue. As Bill O’Reilly stated last night, recusal is the recommended course of action for Judge Curiel. There are clearly reasons for objective observers to wonder whether he can be impartial, and that alone is reason enough for him to hand over this case to another judge.

Trump’s strategy here may be to put as much public pressure on the judge as he can in the hopes the judge will bend over backwards during the trial to appear impartial. With the judge making critical comments about Trump University on the pages of the Washington Post that seems like a long shot.

Alternatively, he may be pre-emptively creating his explanation for a loss in court. It was biased, it was rigged, and the whole system is corrupt.

The GOP made a blunder by allowing themselves to get sucked into a matter which is a purely personal one for Trump and has nothing to do with the party or his candidacy. Party leadership would have been much better served to stay out of the debate altogether and simply declaring that this is a matter that has to do with Donald Trump’s private business life, and is between him and the justice system. But it’s obviously too late for that.

The Whig Party went the way of all flesh when it awarded its nomination in 1848 to Zachary Taylor, a war hero who was an apolitical candidate without a discernible ideology. Taylor didn’t care one whit for the Whig platform, and probably was only barely aware of what was in it. He himself was a slaveholder and thus hardly in position to support its anti-slavery planks. While Taylor’s populism enabled him to win the election that fall, ardent Whigs deserted the party in droves and the party ran its last candidate in 1852 before disintegrating completely and disappearing into the mists of history, to be replaced by the brand new Republican Party.

The GOP establishment had better figure out a solution to the Trump conundrum right quick, or the same thing that happened to the Whigs just might happen to them.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

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