“They accept Law as their Master. And they respect this master more
than your subjects respect you. Whatever he commands, they do. And
His command never changes….” - Demaratus
Donald Trump’s recent accusations of bias against Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel has drawn fire from both sides due in large part to Trump’s insistence that Curiel’s inability to remain impartial in overseeing the lawsuit against Mr. Trump and his eponymous university is due to Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage. Trump has also made statements implying he would have similar concerns if the judge were Muslim, another group he has been criticized for attacking in his public pronouncements.
The Left has of course taken their expected swings at this hanging curve ball. The more interesting reaction has come from the Right, where leading Republicans have stumbled over one another to distance themselves from Trump’s accusations directed at Judge Curiel. The interesting part is that elected officials on the Right, while being quite vocal in damning Trump’s perceived racial animus, have not seemed particularly interested in discussing the more disturbing aspects of what Trump is doing: using identity politics and his status as a presidential candidate and probable nominee to attempt to influence the outcome of a pending civil case against him.
What Donald Trump is suggesting, the direction in which he seems to want to nudge our legal system, is antithetical to the principles Americans, particularly presidential candidates, should personify. It’s dangerous, shortsighted, unbelievably selfish, and despicably cynical….and it’s all the Left’s fault.
Full disclosure: I don’t like Donald Trump. I won’t be voting for him. In my opinion he’s no better than Hillary Clinton, and the way he’s gone after Judge Curiel proves it, because this is the sort of tactic the left uses. The implication that a judge cannot remain impartial just because his ancestors were Mexican (Judge Curiel is himself actually from Indiana) and thus may disagree with the defendant politically is the exact sort of identity politics that conservatives have rightly decried for decades. It’s really the logical conclusion of a lot of that thinking; if someone isn’t like me, racially, sexually, politically, then they surely can’t impartially judge me in a matter of law. It’s the “live your truth” thinking run amok. In the law, there can be only two sides: the truth, and everything else.
Of course, Trump supporters fall back on Curiel being a member of La Raza or otherwise radicalized. The racial angle to the story has served to make both sides even less reasonable than normal. White Trump supporters, sick of years of the left and the media always employing the knee jerk they-must-just-be-racists card, dig in their heels in support of the candidate they think they can trust to stop illegal immigration. A decent percentage of them may even have been open to the argument that what Trump is suggesting is wrong not because it’s “racist” but because of the way it undermines the law, but not anymore. The leftists who might once have actually listened to any possible real complaints about Judge Curiel (if any actually exist) certainly won’t when it’s Trump making the accusations, since for them anything Trump says is de facto racism. The truth is the Left isn’t upset with the tactic of accusing a judge of some sort of racial bias, they’re just upset with who’s using the tactic in this case.
The government isn’t blameless, either. Years of judicial activism and “legislating from the bench” (typically seen as mainly a left wing phenomenon, though right leaning judges aren’t pure either) has made the Right highly distrustful of judges. The legislative branch has largely ceded its oversight role of the Federal judiciary below the Supreme Court. Taking some power and influence away from the judiciary, which doesn’t belong there in the first place, could go a long way towards possibly restoring trust in the people tasked with administering legal decisions. Voters should also vote for the politicians most likely to keep legislative power where it belongs, and not allow the judiciary such free rein.
What it boils down to is that Trump is cynically using the racially charged political environment and the (earned) distrust of liberal judges on the Right against one specific judge to help himself win a lawsuit. But if the rule of law is followed it shouldn’t much matter if Judge Curiel gave a speech to La Raza. Judges are just people, subject to the same foibles as anybody else. Which is why the law exists, why it’s so important. It’s the guidebook which allows flawed men to judge other flawed men when necessary to keep our society civilized. That’s something we all would do well to keep in mind. There are probably plenty of people howling about Trump being a racist who, deep down, believe a white man isn’t capable of impartially judging a black man. That thinking comes from seeing people as mere members of a group and not as unique individuals. It comes from not accepting that Law must be our Master, and that his command never changes.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.