Trump’s Attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel and the Lessons of the 1998 Court Case ‘Macdraw Inc.’ - the Atlantic
Not even officially the GOP nominee yet and already doing his best to commit violations of civil rights. Undermine the judiciary. Already power seeking at the expense of the nations system of checks and balances.
A related misconception is that the impartiality of minority judges is inherently suspect. As David Graham noted, in the 1970s, this Trump-style claim of “inherent” bias was thrown at the great Leon Higginbotham, who rose to be chief judge of the Third Circuit. Higginbotham, an expert of the history of race and American law, crisply denied the motion:
By that standard, white judges will be permitted to keep the latitude they have enjoyed for centuries in discussing matters of intellectual substance, even issues of human rights and, because they are white, still be permitted to later decide specific factual situations involving the principles of human rights which they have discussed previously in a generalized fashion. But for black judges, defendants insist on a far more rigid standard, which would preclude black judges from ever discussing race relations even in the generalized fashion that other justices and judges have discussed issues of human rights.
Constance Baker Motley, the first female African American judge, faced a similar challenge in a 1975 sex-discrimination case. “[I]f background or sex or race of each judge were, by definition, sufficient grounds for removal,” she responded, “no judge on this court could hear this case.” Catholic and Mormon judges have also been challenged; Judge Michael Mukasey, an Orthodox Jew, was asked to step aside from a case against a Muslim defendant in 1994. Citing Higginbotham’s landmark opinion, he said that motion was “the same rancid wine in a different bottle.”
Trump wine has always been a little off, and this vintage fairly reeks. At its rawest, the claim amounts to, “Who are you—African American, woman, Jews, ‘Mexican’—to judge a real citizen, a white man?” It’s no different, in essence, from the assertion of one Texas Ku Klux Klansman, being sued for harassing Asian American fishermen, that a female black judge should withdraw because “of the prejudice of ‘your people against the Klansmen.’”