Texas, Trump, and Prejudice

It was a typical Texas criminal case: agricultural worker Pete Hernandez was indicted for the murder of another Mexican in 1950; he was convicted quickly by a jury. Here it got complicated. His Mexican American lawyers appealed the jury’s decision not because of legal or trial error or a prejudiced judge but because the jury was all-white. The grand jury that indicted Hernandez was also all-white.

The appeal was rejected by the all-white Texas Supreme Court. The Mexican American lawyers asked the United States Supreme Court to issue a writ of certiorari (call the case up). The Earl Warren Court agreed. They heard the case. (Hernandez v. Texas, 1954)

Hernandez’s lawyers argued that Jackson County had a substantial Mexican-American population but in the previous 25 years not a single trial or grand jury member had been Mexican American. 6,000 Jackson County whites had served during that time.

The all-white United States Supreme Court unanimously stuck it to Texas. It ordered a new trial with a color-blind jury. The court clearly stated that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment clause of “equal protection” was not limited to just Whites and Blacks.

Except, that is, for Donald J. Trump, candidate for president and businessman. He is being sued for fraud in the Southern District of California (San Diego) in a class action suit that is approaching trial. Trump is listed as a witness in the trial which might occur during Trump’s presidential campaign.

At issue is, did Donald Trump fraudulently collect up to $36,000 per student at his Trump “University” a decade ago in which the “university” promised to educate students the “successful” Trump methods of getting rich in real estate but didn’t produce?

Concurrently, the New York State Supreme Court has ruled that Trump “University” was not legal and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a state law suit demanding $40 million from Donald Trump.

The question is, is Donald Trump defending his Trump University and himself properly? The answer is no, because he is adopting the Hernandez v. Texas reverse facts as a defense.

Donald Trump declared at a Tennessee campaign rally that Gonzalo Curiel, the San Diego district judge in the Trump University lawsuit is “unfair” to him because he is “Spanish”, that he is “Hispanic.”

Trump said, “Because I think he’s been very, very unfair with us… I think the judge has been extremely unfair. This is a case that many, many people said should have been thrown out on Summary Judgment.  We have 98% approval. We have an A from the Better Business Bureau.”

The day after Trump declared that the judge had been “unfair” because he is “Spanish” and “Hispanic,” he appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where host Chuck Todd asked Trump about the judge being unfair “…because he’s Hispanic?”

Trump replied, “Well because of the Wall, and because of everything that’s going on with Mexico and all that. I think it’s frankly -- look this is a judge who has treated me very, very unfairly. This is a case that should have been thrown out a long time ago in the opinion of many great lawyers.”

The facts, however, do not reflect Trump’s jaundiced view of the case and the judge. Nine months before Trump announced for president with his campaign demand for a “Wall” on the border paid for by Mexico, Trump lawyers were already talking about the judge “recusing” himself from the case. They have tried several times to have the case dismissed. The judge has done the opposite; he granted a motion to make the case a “class action” suit. He has ordered Trump into discovery hearings twice for several hours during the campaign and has approved the release of Trump’s sworn testimony along the lines of “I don’t remember,” “it was a long time ago,” “I don’t recognize any of the instructors.” Trump University advertised its “instructors” were “hand-picked” by Trump; the law suits claim that Trump did not “hand pick” any instructors which is prima facie fraud.

Federal District Judge Gonzalo Paul Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana, in 1953, one year before the Hernandez v. Texas case was decided. He graduated from the University of Indiana law school in 1979. Curiel worked in private practice until he joined President George H.W. Bush’s Department of Justice in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s office. He headed the Narcotics Enforcement Division in the busiest federal court outside Washington. He moved to the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s office until he was appointed to the California Superior Court in San Diego by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007.

President Barack Obama appointed Judge Curiel to the federal court in San Diego in 2012; the Senate confirmed him without opposition.

Considering his senate confirmation without opposition and that he sent many, many Hispanic criminals to prison, complaints by Donald Trump that Judge Curiel is being “unfair” to White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) Trump because the judge is “Hispanic” should be treated like a “cold opening” on Saturday Night Live -- with laughter. 

It was a typical Texas criminal case: agricultural worker Pete Hernandez was indicted for the murder of another Mexican in 1950; he was convicted quickly by a jury. Here it got complicated. His Mexican American lawyers appealed the jury’s decision not because of legal or trial error or a prejudiced judge but because the jury was all-white. The grand jury that indicted Hernandez was also all-white.

The appeal was rejected by the all-white Texas Supreme Court. The Mexican American lawyers asked the United States Supreme Court to issue a writ of certiorari (call the case up). The Earl Warren Court agreed. They heard the case. (Hernandez v. Texas, 1954)

Hernandez’s lawyers argued that Jackson County had a substantial Mexican-American population but in the previous 25 years not a single trial or grand jury member had been Mexican American. 6,000 Jackson County whites had served during that time.

The all-white United States Supreme Court unanimously stuck it to Texas. It ordered a new trial with a color-blind jury. The court clearly stated that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment clause of “equal protection” was not limited to just Whites and Blacks.

Except, that is, for Donald J. Trump, candidate for president and businessman. He is being sued for fraud in the Southern District of California (San Diego) in a class action suit that is approaching trial. Trump is listed as a witness in the trial which might occur during Trump’s presidential campaign.

At issue is, did Donald Trump fraudulently collect up to $36,000 per student at his Trump “University” a decade ago in which the “university” promised to educate students the “successful” Trump methods of getting rich in real estate but didn’t produce?

Concurrently, the New York State Supreme Court has ruled that Trump “University” was not legal and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a state law suit demanding $40 million from Donald Trump.

The question is, is Donald Trump defending his Trump University and himself properly? The answer is no, because he is adopting the Hernandez v. Texas reverse facts as a defense.

Donald Trump declared at a Tennessee campaign rally that Gonzalo Curiel, the San Diego district judge in the Trump University lawsuit is “unfair” to him because he is “Spanish”, that he is “Hispanic.”

Trump said, “Because I think he’s been very, very unfair with us… I think the judge has been extremely unfair. This is a case that many, many people said should have been thrown out on Summary Judgment.  We have 98% approval. We have an A from the Better Business Bureau.”

The day after Trump declared that the judge had been “unfair” because he is “Spanish” and “Hispanic,” he appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where host Chuck Todd asked Trump about the judge being unfair “…because he’s Hispanic?”

Trump replied, “Well because of the Wall, and because of everything that’s going on with Mexico and all that. I think it’s frankly -- look this is a judge who has treated me very, very unfairly. This is a case that should have been thrown out a long time ago in the opinion of many great lawyers.”

The facts, however, do not reflect Trump’s jaundiced view of the case and the judge. Nine months before Trump announced for president with his campaign demand for a “Wall” on the border paid for by Mexico, Trump lawyers were already talking about the judge “recusing” himself from the case. They have tried several times to have the case dismissed. The judge has done the opposite; he granted a motion to make the case a “class action” suit. He has ordered Trump into discovery hearings twice for several hours during the campaign and has approved the release of Trump’s sworn testimony along the lines of “I don’t remember,” “it was a long time ago,” “I don’t recognize any of the instructors.” Trump University advertised its “instructors” were “hand-picked” by Trump; the law suits claim that Trump did not “hand pick” any instructors which is prima facie fraud.

Federal District Judge Gonzalo Paul Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana, in 1953, one year before the Hernandez v. Texas case was decided. He graduated from the University of Indiana law school in 1979. Curiel worked in private practice until he joined President George H.W. Bush’s Department of Justice in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s office. He headed the Narcotics Enforcement Division in the busiest federal court outside Washington. He moved to the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s office until he was appointed to the California Superior Court in San Diego by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007.

President Barack Obama appointed Judge Curiel to the federal court in San Diego in 2012; the Senate confirmed him without opposition.

Considering his senate confirmation without opposition and that he sent many, many Hispanic criminals to prison, complaints by Donald Trump that Judge Curiel is being “unfair” to White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) Trump because the judge is “Hispanic” should be treated like a “cold opening” on Saturday Night Live -- with laughter.