LACBA Responds to Donald Trump’s Comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel

The Los Angeles County Bar Association issues the following statement regarding Donald Trump’s comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling two class actions against Trump University:

 We are appalled by Donald Trump’s accusation that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling two class actions against Trump University, has “an absolute conflict” in presiding over these actions.  Equally intemperate and appalling is Mr. Trump’s claim that Judge Curiel is a “total disgrace.”

 Mr. Trump bases this on Judge Curiel’s “Mexican heritage,” by which Mr. Trump apparently means that Judge Curiel’s parents were Mexican immigrants (Judge Curiel himself was born in Indiana) and that the judge is a member of a Latino lawyers’ association—while Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to seal the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

 If Mr. Trump’s view about judges were right, any party dissatisfied with a judge’s rulings could get rid of the judge by just saying something offensive about the judge’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.  This is absurd.  It would allow endless manipulation of the courts by unhappy parties. 

 If Judge Curiel’s rulings are wrong, Mr. Trump can appeal them.  If he believes Judge Curiel is biased, he can make a motion requesting that he recuse himself, and appeal if that motion is denied.  But neither he nor anyone else should believe that they can insult one judge after another until they get one they think will rule for them.

 Mr. Trump should immediately withdraw his appalling and intemperate remarks about Judge Curiel.