Trump v. Curiel

Over the last few days, Trump has been launching attacks at the judge who refused a summary judgement in his favor on lawsuits involving the alleged scam known as Trump University. Judge Curiel ruled partially in Trump’s favor and partially against, throwing out the demands for an injunction but allowing the demands for damages to proceed. Trump then attacked Curiel, claiming that he is biased against Trump because he’s Mexican and doesn’t like Trump’s position on deportation.

Ken White has a great lawsplainer on the rules of recusal and bias. The TL;DR version is that Trump is full of it (surprise!). First of all, his lawyers haven’t asked for a recusal. Second of all, the reason they haven’t asked for a recusal is because demanding a judge recuse himself simply because he’s “Mexican” (Curiel is a first-generation American born in Indiana) wouldn’t work:

Many courts have considered and rejected the argument that a judge of a particular ethnicity, gender, or religion is inherently biased because of the nature of the case. In fact, the argument has been so repeatedly and thoroughly rejected that it’s sanctionable to make it.

But even that’s going too far. The case here does not involve Hispanics or immigration. It’s a case about fraud involving Trump University. What Trump is saying is that Hispanics can not possibly be judges for him in any proceeding because they might not like his positions on unrelated issues. The press has called these comments “racially tinged”. I won’t. If Trump is saying that Hispanics, by sole virtue of being Hispanic, can not judge his cases, that’s pretty much the definition of racism.

(Trump supporters are harping on Curiel’s association with the La Raza Lawyers of California, deliberately or ignorantly conflating it with the National Council of La Raza. I’m not going to get into NCLR right now, but these are not the same things. They’re not even close to the same thing. And even if they were, it’s not clear that this would necessitate Curiel’s recusal.)

I’m not fond of attacks on judiciary. I wasn’t happy when Obama did it for political reasons. And I’m certainly not happy when Trump does it for his personal benefit. However, I think we may be overthinking this. Our own Thrill sent this out the other night.

I think Thrill has hit it on the nose. Trump is trying to defuse an electoral liability. Trump is many things, but he’s not an idiot. He knows that Trump University could be a big liability in the campaign. So he’s already delegitimizing the result, trying to pretend that the University controversy is just people out to get him because of his awesome ideas.

To be fair, our mainstream politicians and political commentariat are in glass houses on this one. For years, any SCOTUS decision they disagreed with was the result of politicization of the Court. If the conservatives opposed Obamacare, it was because of politics. If SCOTUS overturned campaign finances “reform”, it was politics. The extension Trump has made is to extend that excuse making into his personal lawsuits, rather than just political cases. But the groundwork for delegitimizing the Courts has been well laid and the people who laid it are the very ones complaining about Trump.

But this is a new low. Trump is attacking the integrity of the federal judiciary because of its effects on his personal finances and personal political ambitions. A federal judge is being slimed as collateral damage on his way to the White House. Right now, the GOP is rallying behind him, hoping he’ll advance their agenda. But, throughout this campaign, his has instantly and viciously throw anyone who has the temerity to oppose him under the nearest bus. What’s it going to be like when he’s President?

Post Scriptum: And just in case were’ still on about Trump not being establishment? The Florida AG decided not to join Trump University suits around the same she got a donation to her campaign.

Comments are closed.

  1. Thrill

    I wish I had composed a more coherent Tweet!

    But yes, you’re right. Trump is setting himself up for a win-win scenario in which he either prevails in the lawsuit or loses it but wins by scoring a point against the corrupt and rigged system. He’s really good at that game.

    It’s funny, but I never feel shocked at anything Trump does or says. Instead, I get disgusted by the sense that I’m being cynically manipulated. Yet I can only marvel at how well it seems to work on others.

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  2. AlexInCT

    Trump then attacked Curiel, claiming that he is biased against Trump because he’s Mexican and doesn’t like Trump’s position on deportation.

    Actually, whether the case had merit or not, Trump pointed out that Curiel was an active member of La Raza, a Mexican organization that is very clear about its goal to reunify some US states with Mexico, which obviously, considering the type of people that become part of these nasty racist organizations that get a pass because in today’s ass backwards society only whites can be racists, could mean the judge had a bias.

    Judges are basically expected to excuse themselves from decisions they are responsible for where there might even be an appearance of impropriety, because of any sort of bias or affiliation, and in this case, it sure applies.

    Wondering why you never mentioned these things though. Trump’s case might be bullshit, but this claim he is making is sure as hell valid.

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  3. AlexInCT

    And just in case were’ still on about Trump not being establishment? The Florida AG decided not to join Trump University suits around the same she got a donation to her campaign.

    So you are faulting Trump for playing the rigged game? I am all for standing on principles and falling on the sword to make a point, but then again, when the game is rigged to the extent it is today, I think the people that successfully play it and want to do away with it are far superior than the assholes that pretend there is no game being played.

    I have to laugh at the people that nit pick about Trump and his behavior – and believe me I think he is a pompous ass and great at playing the rigged game – but give criminals like Clinton or Obama, and idiots like Sanders, a pass, directly or indirectly. My choice still remains between doubly evil and stupid.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Wondering why you never mentioned these things though. Trump’s case might be bullshit, but this claim he is making is sure as hell valid.

    I mentioned La Raza. Specifically, I mentioned that La Raza Lawyers and National Council of La Raza are not the same thing.

    And Ken specifically addresses this in his lawsplainer:

    Leaving aside for the moment whether the attack is deliberately dishonest because it conflates a bar association with a political advocacy group, membership before becoming a judge isn’t grounds for recusal. Moreover, membership in a religious organization is not grounds for recusal. Membership in bar associations and legal associations like the one at issue here has repeatedly been found not to require recusal. That’s not just for ethnic organizations. So, for instance, membership in the Guild of Catholic Lawyers was not a basis for recusal in a suit against the New York Archdiocese.Hoatson v. New York Archdiocese, 280 Fed.Appx. 88 (2nd Cir. 2008).

    Even if one argues that Judge Curiel’s membership in a Latino attorney organization might show bias, Trump’s lawyers would have a problem: they’d be arguing that the alleged bias didn’t arise until long after Judge Curiel started hearing the case. Trump’s argument, to the extent it can be nailed down, is that Trump wants to build a wall and Judge Curiel is a member of a Latino organization and therefore Judge Curiel is biased. But Trump didn’t start talking about building a wall until Judge Curiel had already been hearing the case for years. In general, a party can’t manufacture bias through new conduct after the judge has been assigned. That stops parties from judge-shopping. So, for instance, if I don’t like how my case is going before a Turkish-American federal judge who is a member of a Turkish-American group, I can’t force a judge-switch by becoming a loud advocate for official recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

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  5. AlexInCT

    I mentioned La Raza. Specifically, I mentioned that La Raza Lawyers and National Council of La Raza are not the same thing.

    At the risk of being pedantic, I will point out that this is splitting hairs. They may not be the same organization, but both have the same agenda: to unify southern states that once belonged to Mexico with that country. One organization is totally honest about it, and the other, the one with the lawyers, uses careful language to mas that fact.

    In fact, let me link you to another member of that La Raza organization that is also a lawyer and what she said: Wise Latina:

    “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.

    Emphasis, mine.

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  6. Hal_10000 *

    They may not be the same organization, but both have the same agenda: to unify southern states that once belonged to Mexico with that country.

    You base this on what?  Wild speculation?

    Sotomayor’s comments are dumb and racist.  So that make’s Trump’s comments … ?

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  7. richtaylor365

    Let’s see, A judge who actively affiliates himself with a group that supports pro-illegal immigrant organizations , a judge that made public comments before the Washington Post calling Trump University “a total scam”, a judge who would be in in direct conflict with Trump’s signature platform, namely to build a wall, and this is the guy that is supposed to stand up and do the right thing, namely to recuse himself?………….Please!!!!!

    You think Thurgood Marshal (ex head the NAACP) would ever recuse himself from affirmative action legislation? You think Sotomayor ( a woman who used Affirmative action scholarships throughout) would recuse herself in these matters? Hell, we even had a sitting SCOTUS judge who actually officiated gay weddings; you think she would even remotely entertain the notion of bias on her part and sit out any gay marriage legislation before the bench?

    And the Republicans do it again, never miss an opportunity to let the progressives define the narrative, falling all over themselves disavowing the “racist? Trump.

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  8. Hal_10000 *

    A judge who actively affiliates himself with a group that supports pro-illegal immigrant organizations , a judge that made public comments before the Washington Post calling Trump University “a total scam”, a judge who would be in in direct conflict with Trump’s signature platform, namely to build a wall, and this is the guy that is supposed to stand up and do the right thing, namely to recuse himself?………….Please!!!!!

    1) Show me here Curiel has called Trump U a total scam. If he had said such a thing, Trump’s lawyers would be all over it.

    2) The La Raza stuff is a red herring. Trump didn’t know anything about that nor say anything about it. He said, “This guys’s a Mexican (which he isn’t) and, despite Hispanics loving me, any Mexican can not be impartial in my cases”.  When you say someone can’t do their job purely because of their race, that’s pretty much the definition of racism.

    3)  So that’s how it works now? If you have any association with any group that has any disagreement with any political figure, you can’t be a judge?  By that standard, every single fucking judge in America needs to recuse himself.  The conservative justices on the Court are members of the Federalist Society, which directly opposes many of Obama’s policies. So I guess they all need to recuse themselves from all of Obama’s cases from this point forward.

    And “the Left” isn’t defining the narrative. Trump is defining the narrative by being a liar, a fraud and a scumbag. Unless the Left is using mind control rays, Trump is creating this all by himself (and loving every minute of it).

    Oh, wait. There I go again, suggesting that a Republican take responsibility for the things they say and do. What was I thinking?

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  9. CM

    Yep it’s mindless. But these are the contortions required in order to justify casting a vote in Nov for such a shitheel. Look at the gymnastics Paul Ryan is now attempting to undertake. Ryan endorsed, and continues to endorse, a guy who he himself acknowledges, makes racist comments and doubles down on them.

    I don’t see how Sotomayor’s comments were dumb and racist – if a judging panel is comprised of a diversity of people, then that diversity is likely to make a positive difference to rulings, as it is less likely to be based on ignorance / a lack of understanding.

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  10. Section8

    ““This guys’s a Mexican (which he isn’t) and, despite Hispanics loving me, any Mexican can not be impartial in my cases”.  When you say someone can’t do their job purely because of their race, that’s pretty much the definition of racism.”

    Did he say any Mexican cannot be impartial? Where in that link you posted did he say he should be recused because he was Mexican. He said he should recuse himself in his rant, and later on mentioned he was Mexican. He also mentioned Obama appointed him. Yeah the rant was silly, but it doesn’t merit taking bits to make your own narrative.

    Apprarently WSJ later posted he said in and interview there is a conflict of interest due to the wall he’s proposing and an association with another lawyer. I didn’t see any interview from WSJ though other than a couple of quotes about the supposed interview. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere. It would just be interesting to see what was actually said rather than a reporter taking bits and pieces to make a narrative which has happened multiple times in the press and that you love to parrot.

    Also PC goal post shifting bullshit alert! A new standard of communication born right out of thin air yet again.

    Man, for someone who says he’s against it, you sure do play into it. Of course he’s not from Mexico, that doesn’t mean he can’t be called Mexican. It’s not racist or ignorant to make such a statement.

    Are you to tell me you’ve never referred to someone by their ethnicity even if they were born here? Such a “he’s Italian” or “she’s Irish” or “she’s Korean” even if they were born here. If you say no I call bullshit as people do it all the time and no one has ever thought twice of it until now.

    Regardless of your views on Trump stop helping to enable this bullshit of new rules of speech that pop up right out of thin air. It’s more dangerous than Trump or anyone else on their worst day.

    As for La Raza

    http://larazalawyers.net/

    This is not the San Diego group he’s part of, but part of the over all organizations including the San Diego group.

    Click on links and affiliations you can see NCLA at the bottom. They are all tied together either directly or though support of one another let’s cut the crap on this one.

     

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  11. Section8

    “He also mentioned Obama appointed him. ”

    Didn’t finish my sentence on that one. Basically anyone could have taken that line and spun that as the reason. Or taken his line that lawyers are scum but the rant was cherry picked to make the most “racist” outcome possible because that’s what the left and bullshitters like Hal do all the time.

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  12. Hal_10000 *

    S8, I see your point. I could have worded differently. But there is little doubt about what Trump is saying here. He’s had a chance to clarify and he has. That the only reason the judge has ruled against him, according to Trump, is because he’s Mexican.

    There’s also the larger point beyond any purported racism: this is how Trump acts when he doesn’t get his way: attack the motives of anyone and everyone in his path. I expect similar things to happen if Congress opposes him.

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  13. Section8

    Fair enough, he was talking out of his ass on this one. He could have worded this one much better and had the chance to do so.  And the wall issue is only a year old so not sure how the case could have been dismissed years ago, but wasn’t due to the wall. Either way he would have been far better off saying the case is BS but there will be a jury trial and when there is everyone will see how great the school was yada yada.

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  14. Hal_10000 *

    Either way he would have been far better off saying the case is BS but there will be a jury trial and when there is everyone will see how great the school was yada yada

    Whoa! We agree on something! ;-)  Yes, I think he would have been better off saying that.  Had he said that, I wouldn’t care. But that’s not in Trump’s nature, I think.

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  15. CM

    “He would have been better off saying…” is nonsense, because he never would have said that because he doesn’t believe it. So what is the point?

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  16. richtaylor365

    Hal, your acrobatics in delineating  La Raza Lawyers of California with the National Council of La Raza is a bit farcical, like splitting hairs between the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front. If you go to the former website, it links directly to the NCLR, but sure, move along, nothing to see here.

    If the judicial system can’t be seen as impartial then the people loose faith in the rule of law. A litigant’s right to a fair trial is the main reason the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary. And as a private citizen Trump has every right to question the judge’s bias against prior actions and affiliations.

    Between his La Raza affiliations and his choice for council in representing the plaintiffs (Robbins Geller Law Firm, another La Raza supporter and big time Hillary Clinton donor), biases can be inferred.

    And the reason Trumps lawyers have not asked Curiel to recuse himself is because they missed their window;

     

     According to both Gillers and law professor Lahav, Trump cannot claim Judge Curiel was biased against him on appeal if Trump lawyers do not ask the judge to step aside while the case is still in the lower court.

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  17. AlexInCT

    You base this on what?  Wild speculation?

    Actually I base it on the people and the culture I know. See Hal, I lived in multiple South American countries when I was younger, and have visited every one of the countries south of us except for French Guyana (next to Surinam) and several of the Caribbean islands. I am fluent in Spanish, but not just that, fluent in the various idioms and customs of the different latin nations (and man are there some differences), and know people from Mexico. The fact remains that those that join La Raza, in every form, do so because it is an organization dedicated to reuniting Mexico to the American states they feel were stolen from them.

    So no, I don’t base it on speculation: I base it on personal experience and knowledge.

    BTW, Spanish is not the only language I am fluent in. I learned the ones I speak by living in the countries they are spoken in, and because my father made sure I went to school with the locals. He always said that you only learned a language and its nuances when you learned about the people. What is clear to me is that most Americans without a similar experience fall very short in understanding other people, because they make the mistake of thinking that they believe in the same stuff we do. They don’t.

    Anyway, my point is that this is nothing but a media orchestrated attack from the left to use the same old tired tropes to discredit someone they hate and to help their side win, and I am not surprised to see you are going right along with it. The most racist people I have ever interacted with have always been leftists, especially here in the North East where I live. Fuck them and their finger pointing and faux accusations. They are pissed that they have lost control of the narrative and are desperate to destroy Trump because he has basically hit them where it counts: the American people.

    I think Trump will suck as a president, but I think the alternative will be far worse. The left needs to be shut up. It might be too late to reverse the damage they have done to the globe, but at a minimum we need to put them front and center and made suffer all the crap they have inflicted us with. Fuck them.

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  18. AlexInCT

    Your mom and wife both gave me two thumbs up, and that was just because they only have two hands douchebag.

    Here is some Spanish for ya CM: Chinga to puta madre hijo de puta.

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  19. CM

    Did you mean “Chinga tu puta madre hijo de puta”?

    Alex provides further evidence of what I wrote earlier – it doesn’t matter how bad the Republican candidate is, some people will FIND A WAY of making them acceptable. Even though their standards for anyone with a D after their name is way way way higher. So woefully predictable.

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  20. Hal_10000 *

    Rich, your attempts to justify Trump grow increasingly hilarious.

    f you go to the former website, it links directly to the NCLR, but sure, move along, nothing to see here.

    Oh my God, there’s a link … somewhere … on their page … which is mostly about law.  Holy shit, you’ve unmasked the conspiracy!

    If the judicial system can’t be seen as impartial then the people loose faith in the rule of law. 

    Exactly. Which is why Trump attacking the judiciary as a Presidential candidate for his own personal gain is so dangerous.  This is total bullshit and people like you are buying into the bullshit.  The judge gave Trump a ruling that was mostly in his favor. He can’t throw out the case unless there is no basis to to it whatsoever; which there clearly is (again, read the lawsplainer). It’s rare for a judge to throw out a lawsuit like this yet Trump is acting like it’s the fucking Spanish Inquisition and useful idiots like you are carrying his water for him.

    Between his La Raza affiliations and his choice for council in representing the plaintiffs (Robbins Geller Law Firm, another La Raza supporter and big time Hillary Clinton donor), biases can be inferred.

    Bullshit.  Can biases be inferred for SCOTUS because the members are part of the Federalist Society?  Or is it only Hispanic causes that create this sort of bias.  Notice you skipped the point I made above: almost every judge is a member of some organization that has a political view. Must they all recuse? Or only the one who cross the Dear Leader?

    And the reason Trumps lawyers have not asked Curiel to recuse himself is because they missed their window;

    I notice you didn’t link this analysis. Here you go. The reason it’s too late is because you can’t ask for recusal after a judge issues rulings you don’t like.  You request it immediately or if new information comes to light.  This part of the law is designed specifically to prevent what Trump is trying to do: scream bias when the rulings don’t go his way.

    So good points, Rich, apart from everything you said being wrong or trying to infer bizarre things from the name of  legal organization or that a lawyer in the case happens to supports Hillary (because, apparently, in Richworld, lawyers don’t do politics).

    You know … I’ve waited a long time to say this … why don’t you try taking Trump’s tiny little cock out of your mouth?

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  21. Hal_10000 *

    So … Alex … you don’t have any evidence that La Raza want to take over the country.  Just your experience.  Gotchya.

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  22. richtaylor365

    Hal, you are indeed pathetic and your weak attempts to mitigate the connection between LRLC and NCLR is an insult to any clear thinking folks.

    Oh my God, there’s a link … somewhere … on their page … which is mostly about law.  Holy shit, you’ve unmasked the conspiracy!

    Were you born yesterday? Sites link to other sites that they feel simpatico with, duh. It was you falling all over yourself trying (weakly) to delineate between the 2 but when one site refers readers to other sites, there is a connection, your denials not withstanding. If Trumps website linked to the KKK, you would explode in righteous indignation, quit being a hypocrite.

    I notice you didn’t link this analysis

    I did link it, this site is so effed up, links don’t show up, I’ve even had whole comments disappear. Here is the link I was using.

    And as far as me defending Trump’s actions or sucking his cock (honestly, what is up with both you and CM being so fixated/obsessed with fellatio? I suggest both of you get off the porn sites and set up a date night with the wife, get back to some human interaction) I figured you would ignore my points about the appearances of impropriety and bias, not leap to the conclusion that I give my assent to his behavior. I guess all my posts describing Trump as odious, thin skinned, reactionary, ego maniacal, and wholly unsuited to be POTUS got lost on you, throw those out the window because here I think this judge has some connections which could infer bias and threaten Trump’s ability to get a fair trial.

    Of course  Trump handled this poorly, doesn’t he handle everything poorly? But I objected to you all the other progressive stooges limiting his objections to that of race only and ignoring everything else.

     

     

     

     

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  23. Hal_10000 *

    (honestly, what is up with both you and CM being so fixated/obsessed with fellatio? I suggest both of you get off the porn sites and set up a date night with the wife, get back to some human interaction

    Just giving back what I’ve been getting for the last eight years anytime I so much as vaguely defend Obama.  NLRC is not the KKK and you know it.  And the link basically supports my argument. Thanks.

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  24. richtaylor365

    Just giving back what I’ve been getting for the last eight years anytime I so much as vaguely defend Obama.

    So you are condemning bad behavior by indulging same bad behavior yourself. Your logic and moral convictions are absolutely stunning, nice work.

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  25. richtaylor365

    And was your point that you are hypocrites who use the Hillary Clinton rule of ethics, whining about behavior that you willingly dabble in yourself? We got that point a long time ago, sorry.

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  26. AlexInCT

    Alex provides further evidence of what I wrote earlier – it doesn’t matter how bad the Republican candidate is, some people will FIND A WAY of making them acceptable. 

    Actually the republican candidate, Trump specifically, is IMO really bad and shows the sad state of affairs in that party. But at least he is not a corrupt and power hungry criminal, multiple times over, that believes she is above the law and owed something because she has a vagina or an idiot communist that is mad at the world because he couldn’t get a job or get laid until his forties.

    When someone like Trumps is a better choice than not one, but 2 democrats, it says a lot more about how horrible the democrats are for having that sort of scumbags representing them than about people just voting for  the republican candidate because he is republican as you claim or because they simply see how horrible the democrats are. Pot, Kettle..You know..

    I am not voting FOR Trump BTW: I will be voting AGAINST Hillary and anything the left stands for.

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  27. AlexInCT

    Just giving back what I’ve been getting for the last eight years anytime I so much as vaguely defend Obama.

    Except you have done a lot more than “vaguely” defending Obama. It has been down right pornographic and stalkerish in nature from where I stand. You have carried the same lies the LSM and DNC do for him and done so with gusto far to have anyone buy that your defense wasn’t anything but all out. And I mean, shit when you pull shit like this:

    So … Alex … you don’t have any evidence that La Raza want to take over the country.  Just your experience.  Gotchya.

    You leave no doubt that you are full of it. La Raza’s mission statement might be scrubbed clean for the obvious reasons, but their advocates have repeatedly expressed their end goal, just like the muslim horde invading Europe today: to take back what they believe is theirs. But go ahead and keep sucking that Obama cock you like so much and then acting as if the issue is the rest of us not understanding your nuance, man. Trump is a fucking douche and shitty person, but pretending La Raza isn’t a racist entity with nefarious goals is akin to claiming the KKK is just a group of guys that like to get together to drink beer and bitch about things.

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  28. CM

    Actually the republican candidate, Trump specifically, is IMO really bad and shows the sad state of affairs in that party. But at least……

    I am not voting FOR Trump BTW: I will be voting AGAINST Hillary and anything the left stands for.

    And yet when someone on the left votes against whoever the right puts up, they’re immediately sucking cock. And you don’t even care that it makes you a massive hypocrite.

    I would be very surprised if Trump wasn’t a corrupt and power hungry criminal, multiple times over. Among other things.

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  29. CM

    Except you have done a lot more than “vaguely” defending Obama.

    Except that it doesn’t even have to be ‘defending’ Obama, vaguely or otherwise. Sometimes it’s just attacking a stupid argument or pointing out why and how you’re just wrong. Or that you simply have no evidence (as per) and are indulging in wild speculation. They are much much more common occurrences.

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