Gastonia, NC Correspondent-We in this country spend entirely too much time looking for prejudice under every rock. Are there people in the world who are prejudiced? Yep! They’re called humans. Every single blessed one of us has prejudices. We are hardwired to have them. Humans are a tribal society, and as much as the granola-ridden do-gooders would love to have us believe it, we are NOT all one tribe.
We are programmed to see differences in others as threats. It’s how our furry little mammal forebears lived long enough to evolve into us. Some of us are self-aware enough to recognize our prejudices and work diligently to defeat them, but when the chips are down and the stress is high, or when the beer is flowing and the scotch is chasing, we will revert to our tribal nature.
In the court system, prejudice is anathema. The idea of a judge ruling for or against a defendant, or a juror casting his ballot based on the color of the defendant’s skin or some other characteristic is rightly chilling to us all. That’s why juries are made up of more than one person, and why there are appeals courts in place to re-examine verdicts. That’s why there are judicial watchdog groups that go over judges’ actions with a fine-toothed comb and sniff out bias wherever it may lurk.
Those, like The Donald, who bloviate publicly about judges being prejudiced against him are the sort of blowhards whose very personality could irritate St. Francis himself to the point of irrational violence. Rather than admit they might have done wrong and owning up to it, they play the prejudice card and claim that they would have been exonerated if the judge/jury wasn’t “them.”
Big news, Donald: I’m not entirely sure YOU’re one of “Us.”
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-To believe that any judge is completely without prejudice is folly. To believe that any judge can successfully suppress his or her prejudices before making a decision is wishful thinking. Political persuasion and race are only two factors influencing a judge. Socio-economic upbringing is a factor. Geographic location, type of residence, financial security, upbringing, depth and breadth of education, etc., etc., etc., are all factors that influence everyone’s thinking.
Decisions are never made in a vacuum. We empower judges to attempt to decide cases based on the letter and intent of the law, but we know that something deep inside their subconscious may tip the balance of logic and reason to one side or the other. We hold them to a high standard so we may receive fair trials and decisions despite their prejudices. If they violate that standard, it becomes our civic duty to work to replace them with judges who will live up to that standard.
Is it fair game for a politician like Donald Trump to question a judge’s qualification in a trial that concerns his businesses? Yes, but Trump seems to have done it for political gain rather than judicial fairness reasons. Without knowing the details of the lawsuit, the most reasonable approach would seem to be Trump asking his lawyers to make the case in court for the current judge to recuse himself due to prejudice. To splatter inflammatory accusations all over the media appears to be an attempt to win a case in the court of public appeal.
We elect and appoint our judges to be final arbiters in unique and complex cases. To insist they adjudicate as a computer would—devoid of emotion or life experience—will only dehumanize our laws, and therefore dehumanize society. Keeping politics out of law is the best way to ensure justice for all.
Prescott Valley, NV Correspondent-In reference to the recent fraud, class-action suit involving Trump University and student complaints concerning the university (jobs promised at the end of the course), the judge in the case, Gonzalo Curiel, has been questioned by Donald Trump as to the judge’s “Mexican descent,” political ties and alignment with organizations such as La Raza (the race), which is a race-centered organization more interested in the rights of those Mexicans and others in America illegally than they are true American citizens and their values and ideals. In addition, the judge is reportedly a member of the La Raza Lawyers Association of San Diego, which is also affiliated with the Hispanic National Bar Association.
The Hispanic Bar Association called for boycotts of Mr. Trump’s business interests, such as golf courses, hotels, restaurants and other enterprises. The association praised the media, NBC and Univision (American Spanish language network) as well as Macy’s and other related businesses and corporations for their actions against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump feels that the judge is prejudiced against him (“sticking it to him”) because of Trump’s policies and views on illegal immigration and the building of a wall/barrier at the southern border of the United States to keep illegal immigrants from entering the country. The judge feels differently and is interested in increasing the numbers of Mexican heritage illegal and legal immigrants that pour across the Mexican border on a daily basis.
No judge should be able to make a decision in a case based on what his or her political or ethnic persuasion is or isn’t, and either one should certainly not be the deciding factors or outcomes in any case. As Curiel is an Obama appointee, by way of former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, it is clear that the judge’s associations undoubtedly suggest leanings towards Latino priorities, illegal or otherwise, along with the suspect political activities that appear to be part and parcel of such associations.
Perhaps Trump’s words concerning the judge’s ethnicity in the case should have been left unsaid, but the judge’s bias was clear from the beginning, and his association with La Raza certainly should have been grounds for dismissal. He should have recused or disqualified himself from the case from the very beginning.
Another strange occurrence in the Trump University case is the fact that a plaintiff in the fraud case was dismissed through the plaintiff’s attorneys as she gave the university a high rating, which would have helped Trump in the case, and Curiel permitted the dismissal. With the withdrawal of the positive, supposedly injured plaintiff, the case should have ended. Additionally, the judge was distracted by the Washington Post and made statements concerning Trump University standards and how the school was a scam. This only furthered the Post’s zeal to send out a bevy of reporters to dig up dirt on Trump.
Donald Trump has every right to be angry about the judge’s rulings and to question the motives of the judge, including the judge’s associations with questionable organizations, his statements to the media, and the dismissal of a plaintiff. Others in similar circumstances should question the process as well. It is not wrong to bring up racial or ethnic background when it is shown to influence the actions of a judge such as Curiel.
Until judicial reform is made a priority, judges like Curiel will continue to play the race card and involve their political viewpoints within cases all to the benefit of their causes and not to those who are actually in the midst of a case awaiting a fair and equitable outcome. No judge should benefit from a decision in a suit, given the authority to legislate from the bench or be influenced by political operatives.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Let’s make something clear, sir Donald Trump will do anything to swindle his way out of the court house, eluding a judicial decision against him and his fraudulent activities. What is his end game? Trump is expressing that the judge overseeing his case is of Mexican descent; we know how Trump feels about Mexicans. Most likely, the Mexicans hate Trump as well for his outright attack on their race. To level the play field, so to speak, and keep political and racial influenced decisions at bay, Trump wants another judge to take the stand.
I believe that not every minds are warped the same way or in the same direction. With that in mind, it might be unfair to cast aside jurors or judges because of fear that their decisions in judicial matters might be influenced by their race or political persuasion. Not everyone is lightheaded and is out for vengeance or takes their jobs personally. Believe it or not, there are people who actually play by the book and have strong moral laws and principles behind the decisions they make. Even if there seems to be a conflict in terms of race and politics, jurors and judges are allowed to look at situations objectively, instead of one’s race or nationality…