Donald Trump’s racial purity test for judges

Donald Trump did his part yesterday to further America’s purity-politics renaissance, when he declared that a Mexican-American judge hearing a legal case against him couldn’t be unbiased because Trump has been critical of Mexican immigrants.

Trump had criticized Judge Gonzalo Curiel before. The Republican presidential candidate previously claimed, falsely, that Curiel was “Mexican,” and Trump went out of his wife to say the judge’s full name, apparently to emphasize the judge’s ethnicity and otherness.

Then yesterday Trump went even further. The Wall Street Journal reports:

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.

Trump and his supporters were basing their argument, in part, on having confused a Latino lawyer’s association and a Latino advocacy group, both of which share the words “La Raza” (Spanish for “race”) in their names. Curiel belongs to the lawyer’s group, not the advocacy organization.

Trump has gone from questioning the trustworthiness of foreign Muslims, which was bad enough, to holding suspect an entire class of American citizens. It’s an argument the religious tried to use years ago against gay judges, claiming they’d be inherently biased to hear cases involving religious right plaintiffs and causes. The problem, among others, is that we all have conflicts, and we’d be disqualifying judges left and right if we adopted the Trump Standard for jurisprudence.

If Mexican judges can’t hear cases against people who have political views critical of Mexico, then every judge would have to be scrutinized by his ethnicity, and his heritage. And this applies to white judges too. Has the defendant every said anything critical about white people? Does he espouse political views that benefit the African-American community, and that a white person could be critical of? Then ban that judge!

But there’s another wrinkle. Once you ban that white judge from hearing a case against an outspoken black person, you can’t replace with him a black judge, because under the Trump Standard the black judge is really biased. So are Asian-Americans okay? Pacific Islanders maybe?

And what happens when you kick a gay judge off a trial — who do you replace them with? Straight judges, who have just as much a stake in sexual orientation issues as a gay judge? (After all, if gays per se are pro-gay, then straights per se must be pro-straight — oh the inherent conflict!)

But worst of all, beyond the practicality argument, is the underlying racism and division of Trump’s worldview. As we approach the 70th Anniversary of the end of Japanese Internment later this month on June 30, we shouldn’t be honoring that memory by creating classes of good and bad citizens, and especially defining those classes based on someone’s genes or ancestors.

In a creepy tweet, sent out earlier today, Trump announced that “several legal Hispanics” supported his presidential run:

by default 2016-06-03 at 11.01.23 AM

And yesterday was the day that GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan declared he had heard enough to finally endorse Trump.

And the Republican party wonders why they’re having growing problems with Latinos.

Here’s a little graphic I made for the last election. Funny how some things never change:


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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