Judge Gonzalo Curiel, US Federal judge of the Southern District of California, has greenlit the construction of part of President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. This announcement is somewhat of a surprise for the mainstream press, who reported and criticized Trump for being racist in his comments about the judge.
Between the years of 2014 and 2016, Judge Curiel was trying a lawsuit against Trump University, which was being sued for alleged fraud on behalf of three students. At the time of the US Presidential Election, Mr. Trump accused Judge Curiel of being a “Trump hater” during the campaign, and this sort of rhetoric gained a lot of criticism for Candidate Trump as being a racist for saying things like “[Curiel] happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine…” but also expressing the thought that the judge’s ethnicity would lead him to oppose the matter of US-Mexico border security.
As it turned out, in matters not covered very widely by the press, Judge Curiel actually postponed some court proceedings to avoid a “media frenzy” just before the Presidential election. Further, this was to prevent damage to the impartiality of the jurors in the case. Later, after the election was over, President-elect Trump’s attorneys asked Judge Curiel to delay the case until after the presidential inauguration in 2017. The Judge denied this request, but at the same time, he also urged the suing parties to pursue a settlement, and for that purpose recruited District Judge Jeffrey Miller to facilitate the settlement talks. By November 18th, 2016, all three plaintiffs had agreed to settle, and Curiel certified this decision.
As it has turned out, Judge Curiel has actually been on record as ruling for things in favor or preferable to President Trump’s agenda more than not. Actually, too in June of 2016, Candidate Trump had issued a statement noting that his remarks about Mr. Curiel were misconstrued.
Judge Curiel’s ruling about the border wall was in response to a lawsuit brought by the State of California, arguing that the wall would violate environmental laws. However, the judge’s ruling did not go with the will of the State, and instead has fast-tracked several operations, including the waiver of some 30 building laws and environmental restrictions for the building of prototype walls outside San Diego, and also approval to replace 18 miles of existing barriers.
The US Justice Department hailed the Judge’s ruling on February 27th, emphasizing that border security is an issue of paramount importance.
And in typical fashion, President Trump himself weighed in:
Big legal win today. U.S. judge sided with the Trump Administration and rejected the attempt to stop the government from building a great Border Wall on the Southern Border. Now this important project can go forward!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
So, this was probably a bit of a shock for the MSM press, but a welcome victory for the Trump agenda, which appears to be gaining steam as successes begin to build upon one another.