Donald Trump's attacks on the federal judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuits are even worse than you realize (yes, really). Trump has been attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel for weeks, insinuating that the judge's Mexican heritage might make him biased in the case against Trump since, you know, Trump keeps making racially charged attacks against Mexican immigrants. The insinuation is pretty awful, yes, but by attacking a judge, Trump shows just how big of a bully he really is. Elizabeth Warren made the point Thursday night while lambasting Trump on a whole array of subjects. She made it clear that Trump has attacked someone who can't defend himself — the definition of a bully.
She pointed out that Judge Gonzalo Curiel is bound by federal judicial ethics not to fight back against Trump. Who do bullies usually pick on? Those who can't stand up for themselves. Here's how Warren put it:
Like all federal judges, Judge Curiel is bound by the federal code of judicial ethics not to respond to these attacks. Trump is picking on someone who is ethically bound not to defend himself, exactly what you would expect from a thin-skinned, racist bully.
There is, of course, the possibility that Trump wasn't aware of the code of judicial ethics. He generally shows little regard for how the federal government works, a line of attack that Clinton has been happy to pursue. The one area, though, that you would think he'd have a big of knowledge is the judicial system.
That's because the presumptive Republican nominee has been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in state and federal court over the last three decades. USA Today also found that the Trump University suits were two among 50 that are currently open. Some of the past cases have been tax disputes, and New York State has obtained liens on Trump's properties for unpaid tax bills — at least 36 times. Yes, 36! Then there are all the individuals and companies he and his companies have refused to pay.
Regardless of his knowledge of the ethics code, Trump shouldn't be surprised his attacks aren't getting him anywhere. That's not how the court system is supposed to work. Warren summed up what is going on when Trump spews the theory that his "own bigotry compromises the judge's neutrality":
Understand what this is: Trump is criticizing Judge Curiel for following the law instead of bending it to suit the financial interests of one wealthy and oh-so-fragile defendant.
So she decided to stick up on Curiel's behalf. She told his story, how he was born and grew up in Indiana, went to undergrad and law school at IU, and then worked as a federal prosecutor for 13 years in southern California fighting Mexican drug cartels. He had to have body guards to protect him when he became the target of an assassination plot — he lived a year in hiding. Not someone who is easily influenced or swayed it would appear. That says a lot, Warren said:
That's the kind of man Judge Curiel is. What kind of man is Donald Trump? Donald Trump says Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself. No, Donald, you should be ashamed of yourself! Ashamed for using the megaphone of a presidential campaign to attack a judge's character and integrity simply because you think you have some God-given right to steal people's money and get away with it. You shame yourself and you shame this great country.
Well said, Warren. Well said. In other news Thursday night, Warren endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton. With Obama, Biden, and Warren on the trail with her, Clinton's hopes in November look pretty great — and Trump's, well, even worse.