Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters taking aim at a San Diego judge are also criticizing a local lawyers’ association.
As Trump doubles down on his claim that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is inherently biased against Trump University in a civil fraud case because his parents were from Mexico, the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association has been criticized nationally as being a radical organization.
Trump claims Curiel is handling the case in a “hostile manner” because he is a member of “a club or society which is very strongly pro-Mexican.” Supporters have amplified this claim on national talk shows.
In fact, the association is a local group for Hispanic lawyers that is affiliated with the Hispanic National Bar Association. It was founded in 1979 and now has more than 300 members.
“Our purpose is to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy,” the group says in its mission statement. “We are dedicated to promoting diversity on both the bench and bar. We support law students with mentorship programs and scholarships.”
The association sponsors local candidate debates and makes local endorsements.
San Diego has a similar fraternal and professional organization for women lawyers, the Lawyers Club of San Diego, and there is a statewide organization for African-American lawyers, the California Association of Black Lawyers.
The San Diego County Bar Association, which represents all lawyers in the county, issued a statement Monday night about “the importance of judicial independence, in light of the spotlight on San Diego during our current Presidential election” but did not refer to Trump or Curiel.
“Inaccurate personal attacks on a sitting judge’s ethics and/or character improperly alters public perception and compromises the power of our democracy,” the bar association said in the statement.
“Criticism and healthy discourse are integral to our first amendment rights, and are to be encouraged and supported. However, the integrity of the justice system is compromised by irresponsible criticism and intimidation, particularly because judges who have been criticized are precluded from taking a position or speaking publicly on pending litigation,” the bar association said.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: