The race-based rants of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump against the federal judge presiding over a fraud trial involving Trump University resurrects excrement flung at America's first federal judge of Hispanic origin 55-years ago.
Trump and his surrogates like Pastor Darrell Scott, claim rulings of U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel that rile Trump result from Curiel's animus against Trump. That animus, Trump contends, arises directly from Curiel's Mexican-American ancestry.
Trump claims that Judge Curiel's ancestry automatically makes him an opponent of Trump's signature proposal to build a wall between Mexico and the United States to blunt illegal immigration.
Trump's unsubstantiated, race-based onslaught against Judge Curiel is reminiscent of the ancestry obsessed attacks directed against Reynaldo Garza, the distinguish Texas lawyer of Mexican-American heritage appointed to the federal bench in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.
Garza was the only federal judge of Hispanic origin for nearly twenty-years until 1979 when President Jimmy Carter appointed additional federal judges of Hispanic ancestry.
"Individuals and groups perceived a Mexican-American Federal Judge as an interloper," law professor Mary Delores Guerra wrote in a 2013 law review article about federal judges of Hispanic ancestry.
Opponents of Garza, who served on both federal district and appellate courts, scrutinized his "actions and sought fodder to justify their discriminatory beliefs," Professor Guerra noted in that article.
Typical of Trump's thrust-without-proof style, his accusations against Curiel lack specific documentation of bias beyond Trump's unsubstantiated rant that Curiel's opposition to that proposed wall has triggered retaliation in the form of rulings against Trump. Judge Curiel was born in Indiana to parents born in Mexico.
Further, Trump's accusations against Curiel sidestep the fact that this jurist has presided over the Trump University fraud case long before Trump even announced his presidential campaign in June 2015 with a promise to build that wall and have "Mexico pay for it."
Federal law provides Trump with remedies if he thinks Judge Curiel is biased -- remedies that do not require the use of nakedly racist accusations.
But those legal remedies require that Trump provide solid proof of personal bias by the judge, not just Trump's unsubstantiated rants about alleged wrongdoing.
"A judge cannot be disqualified merely because he believes in upholding the law," a federal appeals court stated in a 1949 ruling against South Carolina officials then trying to block blacks from voting.
Explicit in Trump's rants against Curiel is the assertion that Mexican-Americans harbor hatred against Trump because of his proposal to build a wall. That assertion is as inaccurate as Trump proclaiming that all blacks oppose police brutality.
Trump surrogate Darrell Scott is not an outspoken opponent of police brutality like many black pastors in Cleveland, Ohio where Scott, an African-American, leads a mega-church.
Scott, for example, was virtually silent on the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a policeman in Cleveland, a homicide that elicited outrage nationwide.
Scott, like Trump, is an opponent of Black Lives Matters, a movement organized a few years ago that opposes abusive policing against blacks.