A Hispanic judge, who previously disliked Trump’s plan to build a border wall, has “gone rogue” and sided with the POTUS. Southern District of California Judge Gonzalo Curiel released a 101-page ruling supporting the decision, basing his agreement on interpretation of the law. Curiel and Trump previously locked horns on the issue; just last year, the POTUS called him a “hater” and accused him of bias due to his Mexican ancestry. The current decision marks a distinct shift in the judge’s attitude towards the wall.
• Curiel also indicated that the decision may not be his own personal belief on the political validity of the wall. He indicated that the law, “cannot and does not consider whether the underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent.”
• Some challengers believe the Trump administration is guilty of inappropriately waiving environmental laws to push the wall forward. This has been the primary basis for lobbying by environmental groups, but Curiel doesn’t agree. He feels that the administration has adhered to all requirements up until now.
• The Center for Biological Diversity, who disagrees with the wall on the basis that it may interfere with migratory patterns, responded by expressing disappointment with the decision. They believe the wall will seriously impact many species, some of which are currently threatened or endangered.
• In explaining the sudden change of heart, Curiel called on his roots as a citizen of Indiana. “As fellow Indiana native Chief Justice Roberts observed in addressing a case surrounded by political disagreement: Courts are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments.”
• Instead, he believes the public should fight against leaders like the POTUS if they disagree with his decisions. “Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them,” he said. “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
• The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement shortly after Curiel’s report was officially released to the public. “We are pleased DHS can continue this important work vital to our nation’s interests.”