June 10, 2016
Since posting The New York Times editorial numerous Republicans have spoken out against Donald Trump’s racist remarks. The best was said on June 7, 2016 by Paul Ryan. “I disavow these comments. I regret those comments that he made. Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
The following New York Times editorial reflects my views in words that I cannot construct in a better way.
Donald Trump’s Contempt for the Rule of Law
Federal judges have repeatedly and emphatically refused to recuse themselves from cases because of their race or ethnicity. These rulings were driven by two realizations: Ethnically based challenges would reduce every judge to a racial category, which would be racist in itself. And such challenges would make judges vulnerable to recusal motions — for reasons of race, ethnicity, gender or religion — in every case that came before them.
In other words, once these challenges were allowed, there would be no end to them.
The gravity of this matter has clearly eluded Donald Trump, who has cast aside the Constitution and decades of jurisprudence by suggesting both ethnic and religious litmus tests for federal judges. These pronouncements illustrate that Mr. Trump holds the rule of law in contempt.
Mr. Trump started down this road months ago, attacking a federal judge in California who is hearing a lawsuit against the now-defunct Trump University. Last week, he asserted that the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, had an “inherent conflict of interest” because he was “of Mexican heritage.” Mr. Trump implied that Judge Curiel — an American, born in Indiana — was biased against him because he intended to build a wall along the border to stop illegal immigration.
Republican leaders repudiated the remarks and hoped that the issue would disappear. But Mr. Trump went further on Sunday, when he said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” that a Muslim judge might be similarly biased against him because he has proposed a ban on Muslim immigrants entering the United States.
When the interviewer, John Dickerson, reminded Mr. Trump that this country has a tradition of not judging people based on heritage, the presumptive Republican nominee responded, “I’m not talking about tradition, I’m talking about common sense.”
Republicans who say they disagree with Mr. Trump’s racialist statements have tried to assuage the public by arguing that he doesn’t really believe those views. But if that’s the case, it is pretty cold comfort. Cynically choosing to equate ethnicity with bias is hardly more appealing than simply being ignorant or bigoted.