With a name like Alberto Gonzales, it’s a good bet the first Hispanic attorney general of the United States knows a thing or two about discrimination.
And the fact that he made it to the highest law enforcement position in the land says he knows a thing or two about the law.
So when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales weighed in on the controversy over Donald Trump’s criticism of the Hispanic judge presiding over two class-action lawsuits claiming Trump University engaged in fraud, it got the media’s attention.
In a column published Saturday by the Washington Post, Gonzales argued that Trump has every right to question the impartiality of District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel – but not on the grounds that have gotten the most headlines.
The presumptive Republican presidential nomination has said Curiel’s Mexican heritage would present an “inherent conflict of interest” in lawsuits that claim a defunct real estate training program known as Trump University swindled students out of thousands of dollars.
In his op-ed — and again in news shows over the weekend — the former attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush said Curiel’s Mexican heritage was a non-issue (the judge was born in Indiana) but wrote that there are legitimate reasons Trump can criticize the judge.
As TPNN reported last week, Curiel is a known member of a group called La Raza Lawyers of San Diego. The lawyers’ group is not officially affiliated with the radical Hispanic group National Council of La Raza, Gonzales wrote, but “Trump may be concerned that the lawyers’ association or its members represent or support the other advocacy organization.” (There’s a good reason for that concern. National Council of La Raza is listed on the “community” links of the La Raza Lawyers of San Diego homepage. If they’re not officially affiliated, they’re about a handshake away.)
Trump also has a right to question Curiel’s decision to choose a law firm that has giving more than a half-million dollars to Hillary Clinton as the firm to represent the groups suing Trump, wrote Gonzales, who is currently dean of the Belmont University School of Law in Nashville..
“Curiel appointed the firm in the case before Trump entered the presidential race, but again, it might not be unreasonable for a defendant in Trump’s position to wonder who Curiel favors in the presidential election,” Gonzales wrote.
The heart of the matter is justice, Gonzales wrote.
Regardless of the way Trump has gone about raising his concerns over whether he’s getting a fair trial, none of us should dismiss those concerns out of hand without carefully examining how a defendant in his position might perceive them — and we certainly should not dismiss them for partisan political reasons.
In an interview Monday with CNN’s Ashley Banfield, Gonzales acknowledged that Trump’s criticism of Judge Curiel on the basis of his Mexican heritage made him angry, but repeated his point about the American system of justice.
“I’ve worked very hard with Hispanic organizations to get good quality Hispanics on our courts so it makes me angry some of these comments which I think are wrong and inappropriate,” he said. “But again, this is not about the judge. This is about our judicial system, and the right of every American citizen to get a fair trial before an impartial judge.”
The mainstream media won’t likely listen to Gonzales. His battles with the Nancy Pelosi Congress of George W. Bush’s second term were so intense that the Washington Post called him “one of the nation’s most controversial attorneys general since the Watergate era.”
But it’s possible that American voters will.
Gonzales followed up his Washington Post column with television interviews Sunday, and caused a stir on social media.
It’s “perfectly legitimate” for Trump to question judge’s impartiality, ex-attorney general Alberto Gonzales sayshttps://t.co/N3s5xHGCbU
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) June 6, 2016
— SonnyGirard (@SonnyGirard) June 6, 2016
— SonnyGirard (@SonnyGirard) June 6, 2016
@foxandfriends Any other Judge would have already dismissed the case… Trump is on to something….
— Terry Shawn (@xebec78) June 6, 2016
But this one gives a perfect view of the liberal mindset.
— RodfromCranston (@RodfromCranston) June 6, 2016
To liberals like this, Alberto Gonzales isn’t a distinguished attorney who rose to the top of his profession through acumen and hard work. This former attorney general, to a liberal, is just a “HIspanic who would back tRUMP’s racism.”
And they call Trump racist?