Should Judge in Trump University Case Recuse Himself?
Donald Trump is under fire after pushing for the federal judge presiding over the fraud lawsuit against Trump University to recuse himself because of his Hispanic heritage.
Trump has claimed that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whose parents were born in Mexico, is biased against him.
In an op-ed in The Washington Post, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales supported Trump's right to ask for an impartial judge to hear his case.
Gonzales said that it would be inappropriate to disqualify a judge based on his or her ethnicity, but it is appropriate to look at other reasons why they may be biased.
He noted there have been rumors that Curiel is a member of the anti-Trump organization National Council of La Raza, in addition to allegedly having connections to Hillary Clinton donors.
"It's perfectly legitimate to ask the question," Gonzales said. "And I think the judge, as every judge should do before every case, to consider all the facts, to consider the publicity about the case, what's being said publicly about the case and make a decision."
He added it's not just about being impartial, it's also about the appearance of impartiality.
"I'm angry with anyone who disparages a Hispanic judge," Gonzales said. "I work very hard to get some Hispanic judges in the judiciary. But this is not about the judge. This is about whether or not someone can receive a fair trial before an impartial judge."
He said that even though he agrees with Trump's right to ensure he gets that, he would have gone about it differently and not brought up Curiel's ethnicity in the first place.
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