Op-Ed: I’m Mexican-American, And I Was A Judge. What Trump Is Doing Is Appalling.


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Retired Justice Cruz Reynosa Photo credit: www.tjsl.edu

Editor: Cruz Reynoso, the first Latino appointed to the California Supreme Court, is professor emeritus at University of California at Davis Law School. He has also served as vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2000, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in San Jose, Calif., last week. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
The people of the United States are increasingly diverse in our religious, ethnic and racial backgrounds. While we still struggle with discrimination, we have learned to live respecting one another.This respect has taken many decades to achieve, yet it can be fragile, particularly when political leaders challenge it. Our common progress has been jarred by Donald Trump’s demeaning of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel based on his ethnicity. Trump has responded to disappointment in the courtroom with bitter vitriol on the campaign trail: He says his plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border poses an inherent conflict of interest for the judge. Trump branded Curiel a “hater” and “very hostile” and noted that he was “Mexican.” And he called Curiel to recuse himself from an ongoing class-action lawsuit over Trump’s failed Trump University, after the judge issued several rulings against Trump in the litigation. (On Tuesday, Trump said his remarks were “misconstrued,” though he did not apologize.)

A U.S. citizen, Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants and has enjoyed a distinguished career, as an attorney in private practice and as assistant U.S. attorney to the Southern District of California. Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) appointed him as a Superior Court judge. When President Obama appointed him to the federal bench, he was described as “a nominee with impressive — indeed extraordinary —……

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