In an absolutely delicious irony, a federal judge Donald Trump previously called biased for being “Mexican” (he was actually born in Indiana) is now in a position to make a key judgment regarding President Trump’s beloved folly, a border wall between the United States and Mexico. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel is set to hear a case being brought by the state of California, along with multiple environmental groups, against the federal government’s attempt to ignore environmental laws in its plans to build such a wall. According to CNN:
The case, which is being brought by the state of California and multiple groups, challenges the Department of Homeland Security’s power to waive environmental laws in their construction of a border wall…The plaintiffs argue that the Trump administration is violating the Constitution and state laws because it is not “conducting any environmental review or complying with any environmental protection laws.” But the federal government, citing a 1996 immigration law, says it has the authority to waive environmental laws in order to build the wall, a top campaign promise of Trump’s.
Judge Curiel previously presided over a class action lawsuit against Trump University. In June of 2016 then-candidate, Donald Trump said that Curiel was biased in the case because of his Mexican origins, telling CNN‘s Jack Tapper, “We are building a wall. He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.” Wow, “He’s a Mexican”? No, Curiel is an American, born in Indiana, and it is incredibly racist of Trump to say otherwise, as well as it being racist to just assume with no evidence that Curiel would be biased. Even to this day, Curiel has made no public remarks against President Donald Trump.
Tapper appeared to be floored by Trump’s comments, saying, according to CNN’s transcript of the 2016 interview, “You’re invoking his race, talking about whether or not he can do his job…But he’s an American. You keep talking about it’s a conflict of interest because of Mexico. I don’t care if you criticize him, that’s fine. You can criticize every decision. What I’m saying, if you invoke his race as a reason why he can’t do his job.. if you’re saying he can’t do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?”
Reaction to Trump’s remarks at the time was widespread condemnation. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on 6/8/2016 (see around 2:26 in the video below), about Trump’s remarks, “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Of course, since then, Speaker Ryan has often acted as an apologist, for now, President Trump’s words and actions, but in June of 2016, he was pretty clear in stating he thought Trump’s words were racist.
Here is a video from CNN, reporting on the current lawsuit. Apparently, the Trump government would be disregarding at least 30 laws in building the wall, circumventing its threat to the environment, to national wildlife refuges, to national monuments. The video includes excerpts of Trump’s June 2016 interview with Jake Tapper, as well as Paul Ryan’s condemnation of then-candidate Trump’s comments, which Ryan called “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
Ultimately, the class action lawsuit against Trump University was settled out of court for $25 million. It is a wonderful bit of what some would call karma coming back on Trump that Curiel is also presiding over this wall-related case. Previous challenges to the 1996 immigration law the government cites as allowing them to circumvent environmental law have not been successful. It remains to be checked if the current lawsuit brought by the state of California and several environmental groups will be successful, but even if it is not ultimately successful, it further stalls the start of building the wall while the case is underway, which absolutely is helpful. The longer the funding for the wall, and the building of the wall, can be stalled, the more likely it is that we will have a new president in place who will put a complete stop to the ridiculous, xenophobic, racist, stupid and enormously expensive folly of President Trump’s before it even gets started. Free societies do not build walls. It is just that simple.
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