No, Judge Curiel Is Not Biased Against Donald Trump

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I have exciting news. A few days ago I asked if some qualified lawyer type person could take a look at Judge Curiel’s rulings in the Trump University case and report back on whether he’d been fair. Guess what? Someone actually took me up on this! Here is Max Kennerly’s summary:

The Makaeff case was filed on April 30, 2010, and transferred to Judge Curiel on January 30, 2013….On the issues where Judge Curiel had discretion, he generally ruled against the plaintiffs….On the issues where Judge Curiel had to rule on disputed legal concepts, he generally ruled against the plaintiffs….There’s only really one issue where Judge Curiel truly sided with the plaintiffs, and that was over the appropriate proof of damages.

….Summing Up: Judge Curiel is doing his job like a normal judge, issuing rulings consistent with the case law. But you already knew that.

For the record, note that the “plaintiffs” in this case are the folks suing Trump. So when Curiel rules against the plaintiffs, he’s ruling for Trump. There’s a whole lot of detail to back up Kennerly’s summary, and you should read it if you’re interested in this stuff.

But there’s one bit that I’ll take note of right here. Trump’s major whine is that the whole case should have been tossed out on summary judgment long ago. Kennerly points us to Ken White for an explanation of all that. Roughly speaking, White confirms that Trump is full of shit. You don’t get summary judgment unless your opponents literally have no credible evidence on their side. If they have even a small amount, then you let a jury decide. Obviously Trump’s victims do have some evidence, so summary judgment was never really a possibility.

None of this will stop Trump from whining, of course. As near as I can tell, there’s no force on earth that can stop a Trump whinefest. Without something to whine about, I don’t think Trump would find life worth living. He’s the eternally unappreciated man.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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