Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Civility Watchdog: June 7, 2016, Donald Trump

It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent. The American justice system relies on fair and impartial judges. All judges should be held to that standard. I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.

Over the past few weeks, I have watched as the media has reported one inaccuracy after another concerning the ongoing litigation involving Trump University. There are several important facts the public should know and that the media has failed to report.

Due to what I believe are unfair and mistaken rulings in this case and the Judge’s reported associations with certain professional organizations, questions were raised regarding the Obama appointed Judge’s impartiality. It is a fair question. I hope it is not the case.
-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, June 7, 2016. The statement was a response to criticism of Trump's demand that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel recuse himself from a civil case concerning Trump University, given that Curiel was of Mexican heritage, was a member of a Latino lawyers' association, and that Trump had pledged to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border to stop illegal immigration from Mexico.

Comment: Trump is saying that his position on Curiel has been distorted, but has it? The interview in question described Trump's position as:
In an interview, Mr. Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation given that he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association. Mr. Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Mr. Trump said.
If this is an accurate description of Trump's remarks in the interview, then Trump is saying that Curiel's ethnicity and his membership in a Latino professional association is sufficient to justify belief that Curiel would be biased against Trump, which seems like an unfounded accusation of bigotry against Curiel (and a bigoted assumption itself: that Latinos will make judicial against their political opponents). Would it be justified to demand that a white judge recuse themselves from the civil case against Trump, because the judge would be biased in favor of Trump? If the above quote is not an accurate description of Trump's remarks during the interview, then Trump is being misrepresented, but by the Wall Street Journal, not by the wider media or any critics who based their criticism on the Wall Street Journal's article.

No comments: