Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spent most of the last week under fire for claiming that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge overseeing a case alleging that a Trump company was an elaborate scam, cannot fairly decide this case because Curiel is “of Mexican heritage.” The judge is an American citizen born in Indiana to immigrants from Mexico.
Appearing on Face the Nation Sunday morning, Trump added another category of individuals who may not be trustworthy on the bench — Muslims. In response to a question from host John Dickerson about whether an Islamic judge wouldn’t be able to treat Trump fairly, the Republican presidential candidate replied “it’s possible, yes.”
Trump’s logic, which he laid out in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week, is that judges with certain racial, ethnic (or, apparently, religious) backgrounds cannot be impartial towards him because they will be offended by Trump’s racist policies. Judge Curiel has an “inherent conflict of interest” as a person of Mexican descent, the presidential candidate claims, because Trump says he is “building a wall” to keep out Mexican immigrants.
It’s an extraordinary view of how judicial recusals should work. In essence, Trump appears to believe that people with odious views — or, at least, famous people with odious views — should be able to disqualify judges they do not like solely by proclaiming those views.
In May, Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees in a Trump administration. Every single person on his list is white.