The judge Trump disparaged as ‘Mexican’ will preside over an important border wall case

Trump attacked the federal judge for his race while the judge presided over a fraud case against Trump University.


The federal judge whom President Donald Trump disparaged as a "Mexican" during his campaign will preside over a case brought against one of the president's most highly touted initiatives: the U.S-Mexico border wall. 

District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was targeted by the president while he was the judge of a class-action lawsuit against the president's now-defunct Trump University, will on Friday hear the case brought by the state of California, some environmental groups and Rep. Raúl Grijalva , D-Ariz. It challenges waivers that were given to the federal branch more than 10 years ago to bypass some federal and state laws for border security. 

The case, which was initially three separate lawsuits before being consolidated by Curiel, represents a substantial legal challenge to the construction of Trump's potential border wall. 

Andrew Gordon, a former Department of Homeland Security lawyer during the Obama administration, told McClatchy, which first reported the story, that a ruling against the administration could slow plans for construction along the U.S.-Mexico border, even if the ruling is later overturned. 

"This is a very significant case," Gordon told the news service. 

The groups that have brought the lawsuit have a significant legal burden to meet. The waivers they challenge were granted in 1996 and 2005 to allow the federal government to bypass some federal and state laws, including environmental statutes, in the name of border security. 

Brian Segee, a lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs, told McClatchy that a key debate will be whether Congress meant to waive these laws into the distant future or only for specific projects ongoing at the time the waivers were issued. 

California has argued that the construction of a border wall could do "irreparable harm," to its wildlife. Grijalva's suit maintains that previous environmental analyses are out of date and did not take into account updated border-security measures, including the potential construction of a border wall. 

It is yet another showdown in federal court over Trump's immigration policies. The lawsuit also brings Curiel, whose court is in San Diego, back into the national spotlight on a case about a topic that is nearly as synonymous with the president as his defunct university. 

The last time, as Curiel served as the judge over the case on some of the lawsuits which alleged fraud against Trump University, Trump began to attack him, when the candidate was still considered by most to be a longshot for the presidency though he had secured the GOP nomination. 

Perhaps most jarring was Trump's continued use of Curiel's ethnicity as a means to attack the federal judge's impartiality. Trump falsely asserted that Curiel was a "Mexican," - Curiel was born in Indiana - and other times said that he was "Hispanic," and "Spanish," seemingly as an attempt to argue that the judge was biased because of Trump's sharply conservative immigration ideas, including of course, the wall proposal. 

"Look, he's proud of his heritage, OK? I'm building a wall," Trump said of Curiel in June 2016 to CNN anchor Jake Tapper. "He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico." 

Trump's remarks, which he repeated at various points for months, drew some rebukes from his own party - even Paul Ryan called the remarks "racist" - and prompted the candidate to issue a statement that argued that his comments were being misconstrued. 

Curiel, whose parents were immigrants from Mexico, did not respond publicly to Trump's attacks. The fraud lawsuits ended in a $25 million settlement Trump agreed to pay out shortly after the election. 

Though Trump insisted during his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, Congress has sought to secure funding from American taxpayers. The amount of money for the project is currently a subject of ongoing budget negotiations that have already shut the federal government down once.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Courts are engaged in two broad types of cases on this issue, weighing whether sex discrimination...
Austin council OKs search for more resources to fight opioid crisis
Austin council OKs search for more resources to fight opioid crisis

Austin City Council members this week called on the city manager to find more resources for public education, harm reduction and treatment to deal with the region’s emerging opioid crisis and increasing number of opioid overdose deaths. A resolution adopted unanimously by the council Thursday will encourage greater collaboration between city...
Facebook and Twitter plan new ways to regulate political ads
Facebook and Twitter plan new ways to regulate political ads

Facebook and Twitter announced plans Thursday to increase transparency of political campaign ads, changes aimed at preventing foreign manipulation of the coming midterm elections.  Facebook said it would begin including a “paid for” label on the top of any political ads in the United States. Clicking on the label will take people to...
NRA host calls for legislation to limit reporting on mass shooters. Then he says he didn’t mean it.
NRA host calls for legislation to limit reporting on mass shooters. Then he says he didn’t mean it.

In the days after a shooter killed 10 people at a Texas high school, National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch joined a chorus of conservatives in spotlighting a subject to blame that didn't involve guns.  "The media has got to stop creating more of these monsters by oversaturation," Loesch said on the NRA's television station...
GOP immigration rebels push ahead despite Trump veto pledge
GOP immigration rebels push ahead despite Trump veto pledge

House advocates for moderate immigration policies stood at the cusp of forcing votes on bills that would give young undocumented immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship — even as President Trump threatened to veto any legislation that did not hew to his hard-line views.  Backers of a rare procedural maneuver that would spark an immigration...
More Stories