In the volatile, high-stakes world of Presidential politics, we often get so wrapped up in the support or opposition of a candidate that right and wrong gets pushed aside for the sake of political gain or loss. My initial reaction to Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordering the release of documents pertaining to Donald Trump’s scam “university” was positive. After learning more and consulting with my internal conservative compass, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the wrong move even if it may hurt Trump’s support.
As conservatives, we should not support activists on the bench. That’s the beauty of being a true Constitutional conservative; we have the law on our side. We simply need judges who interpret the law properly.
Judge Curiel cited “heightened public interest” in Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee for President as one of his reasons. According to the Washington Post:
In his order, Curiel noted that Trump had emerged as a leading presidential candidate over the course of the civil case against Trump University and that Trump had “placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue.” The judge pointed to a previous case to say that courts deciding on public disclosure must weigh “whether a party benefitting from the order of confidentiality is a public entity or official; and . . . whether the case involves issues important to the public.”
There are two points there. First, the judge decided that the issue is one that’s important to the public. If the release of the records yields something important that we don’t know, then I’ll happily reverse my choice here and support the decision. By “something important,” I don’t mean further evidence that Trump is a fraudulent, deceptive salesman who uses his brand to draw people into a web that will likely hurt them. We already know that. His supporters have either accepted that his deceitful nature is part of the package that could prevent Hillary Clinton from being President or they’re too blind to see the truth about him. Either way, that sort of revelation does not qualify as “issues important to the public.”
The second point he made is that Trump called into question the integrity of the court proceedings. Yes, he did. Trump is being a whiny adolescent. Again, this is nothing new and if the judge feels like it’s important for the integrity of the court to reveal that Trump is wrong, that’s his prerogative. However, this sounds more like a rebuke. Trump made it personal by saying that the judge was railroading him because he’s Mexican and fears the wall that Trump wants to build. As ignorant as Trump sounds when he speaks, it’s not a viable reason for the judge to react in this way. He’s taking it personally, a trait that doesn’t belong on the bench. He’s getting Trump back for his comments. In other words, the judge is bringing himself down to Trump’s level.
To the #NeverTrump crowd who doesn’t like my choice, I’ll say this: Trump will not be stopped by revealing more of the same. The truth is out there and his supporters have chosen to ignore it. Reinforcement of the obvious is not going to change hearts and minds. Just like the violent protesters, actions like these will only fuel the pro-Trump movement by giving him the ability to do what he does best: play the victim. We need true opposition, not an activist judge getting personal.
When the release is analyzed, we’ll see how valid the judge’s actions really were. Unfortunately, if it’s just a bunch of zingers about corruption and doesn’t reveal anything about Trump that we don’t already know, then this move is just another example of activism from the bench which we, as conservatives, should denounce.