Trump and the judge - It’s not about race, but the rule of law

Watch any cable new show panel discussing Donald Trump, including MSNBC this week, and quite predictably you will hear that Trump is a racist. The latest flap is over the judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuit. The judge is of Mexican heritage and Trump raised concerns as to whether the judge can be impartial based on Trump’s hard line stance against illegal immigration from Mexico.

"I'm building a wall. I'm trying to keep business out of Mexico." Trump said. "He's of Mexican heritage, and he's very proud of it, as I am of where I come from."

Is this about race? Or judicial fairness?

Regarding race, “Mexican” is not a race. In actuality, the federal government maintains five racial groupings – white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian/Hawaiian, completely divorced from any anthropological or scientific understanding of race. Mexican is counted by the feds as part of the Hispanic racial group, as are most residents of Central and South America, even though Mexicans racially are 60% Mestizo (mixed Amerindian/Spanish), 30% Amerindian, and 9% European in racial makeup. Trump made no mention of the judge being Hispanic or of any of the racial groups making up Mexico’s population, instead only of his Mexican ancestry. Perhaps a fine distinction, but a difference nonetheless.

Trump’s concern is instead about judicial impartiality. The judge in question, Gonzalo Curiel, is a member of the La Raza Lawyers of San Diego, a group that claims it is not affiliated with the National Council of La Raza, but which lists that group, strongly opposed to the Trump candidacy, on its website as part of its “community.”  Even the US Supreme Court acknowledges selective justice based on race. The recently upended the death sentence of a black Georgia man convicted by an all-white jury. Meaning that race or ethnicity might prevent judicial fairness.

To be sure, Donald Trump could have spoken more carefully and clearly, instead of initially referring to Judge Curiel, born in the USA, as Mexican, and relying on his affiliations and his serving on a scholarship selection committee that chose an illegal alien to receive funding to attend law school. So why wouldn’t Donald Trump be concerned about the rule of law being applied fairly?

Because it often is not.

This past week at his San Jose rally, an unruly mob violently attacked Trump supporters. The mayor, while condemning violence against those exercising free speech and assembly, had his police force stand down for fear of “further inciting the crowd.” So much for enforcing the law. Any guess whether the response would have different if it had been a Hillary Clinton rally and Trumpsters were beating up her supporters?

Instead Trump supporters were blamed for the violence of Democrats and other anti-Trump forces. The rule of law was ‘trumped’ over political concerns. Might the Trump University trial face similar selective justice and be of concern to Donald Trump as a defendant in the case?

Beyond Trump, the law is frequently applied selectively depending on politics. Compare the treatment of David Petraeus and Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified material. Or the consequences for Richard Nixon lying and covering up an office break-in versus Barack Obama lying and covering up a deadly attack on a US embassy, blaming it all on a video. Or IRS officials using the immense power and intimidation of their agency to stifle political opponents of the current administration with no one held to account or punished. Where is the rule of law?

What about illegal immigration? Opposition to illegal immigration is not about race, it’s about enforcing the law. Just like Trump’s opposition to the judge. If anything, illegal immigration is a post-racial problem. It’s already a model of diversity given the multitude of ethnic and racial groups migrating to America.

Asian women from China enter the US solely to give birth to anchor babies who are then American citizens. Hispanic adults and children illegally cross the Southern border. Refugee resettlement programs, via Obama’s executive orders, are bring blacks from Somalia to Minnesota. Are all these immigrants coming to America legally, under laws passed by the peoples’ representatives in Congress?

What about sanctuary cities, over 300 in the US, where criminal aliens are protected from deportation by local officials flouting existing law? Will Hillary Clinton crack down on this lawlessness?  She promises amnesty in her first 100 days, much to the delight of the #NeverTrump movement, the Wall Street Journal, Jeb and Marco, and the Republican donor class. Rule of law? The will of the people? Yet any opposition to such lawlessness is called racist.

Donald Trump is simply echoing the perception of millions of Americans that Lady Justice is no longer wearing a blindfold, dispensing justice fairly and impartially. She has replaced her scales of justice with an opinion poll, weighing popular opinion and political correctness, along with a political agenda, placing a finger on the scale, weighing one side down as political whims desire. Lastly she has replaced her sword with Al Sharpton’s megaphone, ready to agitate and disrupt.

With repetitive monotony, big media warns that, “Donald Trump’s hostile remarks about minorities and his un­or­tho­dox strategy have imperiled his campaign.” Just as they have been warning us for the past year that each of his passing remarks is the final nail in his campaign coffin.

Trump is one of few politicians willing to stand up to and call out those who place politics above the law. Jake Tapper can ask Trump 23 times in one interview if his comments about the judge were racist. Each time Tapper asks, Trump will gain at least 23 new supporters who realize that this entire kerfuffle is not about race but instead about the rule of law.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based retina surgeon, radio personality, and writer. Follow him on Facebook  and Twitter.

If you experience technical problems, please write to