Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A Madman In the Driver's Seat of the GOP Clown Car, June 2016 Edition

This video I'm about to show you was recorded during a top secret meeting of librul bloggers following up on reports that Trump tried to bully his Republican Party handlers into backing his obscene plan to harass/defame the judge overseeing his Trump University fraud trial(s):

Dear YouTube: you didn't have a clip for me to embed directly. Shame on you.

The news about this is deadly serious, however.

What Trump is attempting - according to the Bloomberg article I've linked to - is to subvert the independence of the entire judicial system (nevermind the war he's already declared against the media):

Trump ignited the controversy when he defended his real-estate program by saying Curiel has an inherent conflict of interest because of his Mexican heritage, because the candidate has proposed building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to curb illegal immigration. Curiel was born in Indiana, and Trump's complaint has been criticized by Republican leaders, legal experts, and other commentators. Trump on Sunday broadened his argument by saying on CBS that it’s possible a Muslim judge could treat him unfairly too, because of his proposed ban on Muslim immigration.

How is this dangerous? Let me defer to Garrett Epps at The Atlantic:

“...Courts have repeatedly held that matters such as race or ethnicity are improper bases for challenging a judge's impartiality,” wrote the chief judge, Ralph Winter, a Reagan appointee. “Nor should one charge that a judge is not impartial solely because an attorney is embroiled in a controversy with the administration that appointed the judge. … Finally, appointment by a particular administration and membership in a particular racial or ethnic group are in combination not grounds for questioning a judge's impartiality. Zero plus zero is zero.”
That equation is a good way to think legally about Donald Trump’s attack on Curiel, who is hearing a case against him as ordinary as Macdraw—a civil class action alleging Trump’s “university” was a scam aimed at defrauding its students by selling them worthless instruction.
Trump has now made an issue out of Curiel’s ethnicity and his appointment to the bench by the Obama administration. His ire was raised because the judge allowed the release of some documents from Trump University—documents that seem extremely damaging to Trump’s case. “The judge was appointed by Barack Obama,” Trump told a rally last week. “The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that’s fine.” In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump went on to say that Curiel’s “Mexican heritage”—he was born in Indiana—should disqualify him because “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”

It's only a conflict of interest because TRUMP is making it a conflict of interest. And at no time has Trump pointed to any statements Curiel has made about Trump's political campaigning to prove bias. If you're pointing to Curiel releasing documents related to the Trump U fraud case, that's because the judge is answering a Freedom of Information Act request that's been perfectly legal in similar cases throughout the decades we've had FOIA rules. Trump's only calling that "unfair" because obviously those documents are going to reveal some pretty nasty things about Trump's business practices.

Painful in all this is the implication - shoved out there by an entitled "rich" white guy - that ethnics, women, any minority class are unable to perform their duties as a Justice when white people are being judged. Back to Epps:

A related misconception is that the impartiality of minority judges is inherently suspect. As David Graham noted, in the 1970s, this Trump-style claim of “inherent” bias was thrown at the great Leon Higginbotham, who rose to be chief judge of the Third Circuit. Higginbotham, an expert of the history of race and American law, crisply denied the motion:
By that standard, white judges will be permitted to keep the latitude they have enjoyed for centuries in discussing matters of intellectual substance, even issues of human rights and, because they are white, still be permitted to later decide specific factual situations involving the principles of human rights which they have discussed previously in a generalized fashion. But for black judges, defendants insist on a far more rigid standard, which would preclude black judges from ever discussing race relations even in the generalized fashion that other justices and judges have discussed issues of human rights.
Constance Baker Motley, the first female African American judge, faced a similar challenge in a 1975 sex-discrimination case. “[I]f background or sex or race of each judge were, by definition, sufficient grounds for removal,” she responded, “no judge on this court could hear this case.” Catholic and Mormon judges have also been challenged; Judge Michael Mukasey, an Orthodox Jew, was asked to step aside from a case against a Muslim defendant in 1994. Citing Higginbotham’s landmark opinion, he said that motion was “the same rancid wine in a different bottle.”
Trump wine has always been a little off, and this vintage fairly reeks. At its rawest, the claim amounts to, “Who are you—African American, woman, Jews, ‘Mexican’—to judge a real citizen, a white man?” It’s no different, in essence, from the assertion of one Texas Ku Klux Klansman, being sued for harassing Asian American fishermen, that a female black judge should withdraw because “of the prejudice of ‘your people against the Klansmen.’”
The re-introduction of this crude, explicit racism into politics is repellent...

This is Trump's World-View all over again: the one where it is all about getting "treated fairly," which in Trump's case is "give ME all the candy and toys I want and maybe I'll stop kicking you." Trump wants this judge to throw the whole case out, protect Trump from the embarrassment of exposing an allegedly massive fraud that was his online college. He's trying to bully Curiel off the bench and force the courts to give him what he wants. As though he's not the first defendant who's tried this...

But the problem I opened with remains: there is more to this than just Trump's attempt to corrupt our judicial system to his whims. Go back to what Trump is trying to do during that conference call with his intra-party allies.

Trump is calling on them to follow his marching orders on this, to get every Republican out there to attack this one judge on an openly racist and unproven accusation.

An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge's Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge's credibility and impugn reporters as racists.
“We will overcome,” Trump said, according to two supporters who were on the call and requested anonymity to share their notes with Bloomberg Politics. “And I’ve always won and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is...”
...When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.
“Take that order and throw it the hell out,” Trump said.

He's not taking advice from people who know how campaigning works... he's not recognizing the possibility he's crossing a line that nobody should cross. He's ordering people to do it his way or else, and he wants them all to attack attack attack. Especially if those attacks paint the entire Republican Party as fearmongering, self-serving racists.

This is who's leading your party now, Republicans. A proven narcissist sticking to a gameplan that's bound to alienate not only non-White voters across the board ("how dare YOU judge Trump?") but also White voters who take the impartiality of the judicial system seriously (not only Democrats and Independents but also Republicans who DO respect the system) and aren't going to support someone throwing a hissy fit like this.

This is where it gets worse, America: The Republican Party - whose collective soul had died years ago - has fallen to the whims of an Honest-to-God madman.

We will be lucky to get out of this alive...

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