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  1. Law Professors Fear Trump Will End Judicial Independence, Rule of Law. Roger Algase

    Update, June 8, 12:02 pm:

    Here is an appropriate comment about the potential dangers of a Trump presidency for our democracy and for minority immigrant rights from Stuart Taylor, Jr., a Journalist and Brookings Institution Nonresident Scholar, writing in POLITICO Magazine on June 7:

    "Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and their colleagues will no longer deserve to be leaders of their party, or of anything else, if they continue to support a man who is now attacking the independent judiciary for daring to hear and make public evidence plausibly alleged to implicate Trump University in predatory fraud. Not to mention his displays of contempt for our constitutional traditions; his appalling ignorance of the law, the nation and the world; his constant stream of lies; his lashing out like a narcissistic would-be tyrant against reasoned criticism; and his insults to Mexican-Americans and Muslims."

    See: "Why Trump's Assault on the Judiciary Is the Most Dangerous Thing He's Done:

    The GOP presumptive nominee has already made a long step toward authoritarian rule."

    My original post follows:

    The Donald Trump cancer in America's democracy began with his attacks on Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists" and his promise to build a Wall along the Mexican border (which, to anyone with a sense of history, has to bring back memories of the Berlin Wall, or even the Wall separating the Warsaw Ghetto from the "Aryan" part of that city under the Nazis).

    It then continued with Trump's pledge to engage in ethnic cleansing (a/k/a mass deportation) against 11 or 12 million mainly Latino, Asian and black immigrants who are in the US without legal authorization, using a "task force" to conduct midnight raids which one of his presidential campaign opponents, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) aptly compared to "jackboots" (i.e. Nazi storm troopers).

    Then this cancer spread to Trump's proposal to bar virtually every Muslim in the world from immigrating to or visiting the United States - a proposal that Trump later tried to tone down as only a "suggestion", but which he has never retracted, while insisting that most Muslims around the world are filled with "hate" for America.

    When Trump's racial and religious attacks were limited to immigration issues only, many people ignored them or tried to downplay them as nothing more than legitimate immigration enforcement policy proposals aimed at curbing illegal immigration and protecting against terror attacks on US soil.

    Warnings that Trump's extreme immigration proposals were like a cancer that could spread to attack the foundations of American democracy itself were dismissed by many as unfounded, mere "name calling", or even "irrational".

    But, with Trump's continuing attacks against "Mexican" and Muslim judges as inherently biased and unqualified to serve in cases involving him personally (amounting potentially to quite a few cases - Trump has reportedly filed some 3,500 lawsuits during his career so far), more and more people are concerned about the health, or even survival, of judicial independence which is at the foundation of our democracy, or even survival of the rule of law itself, in a Trump administration.

    This concern is shared, not only by many politicians in Trump's own party, as per the headlines over the past few days, but also by legal experts.

    The Associated Press reports as follows on June 7

    "Trump's contention that [Judge Gonzalo] Curiel is biased against him because of Trump's border plan is 'ridiculous', said Josh Blackman, a young conservative law professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston.

    'If that's the new standard for recusal, every judge in the federal judiciary who has some ethnicity or religion or race that affects a case has to recuse,' Blackman said."

    The AP article continues:

    "American Bar Association President Paulette Brown said personal criticism of a judge undermines judicial independence.

    'Anyone running for the highest office in the land should understand that the independence of the judiciary is essential for and effective and orderly government and justice system,' Brown said.

    The AP also gives an example of a Jewish federal court judge who refused to step down in a case where his ethnicity had been raised as an issue, but who later did step down in that same case for an entirely different reason:

    "Federal judges have repeatedly rebuffed calls to step aside from cases over race, religion or ethnicity. U.S. District Judge Paul Borman, who is Jewish, turned down a request to withdraw from a case of a Palestinian immigrant accused of lying about her role in a fatal terrorist attack. 'Like every one of my colleagues on the bench, I have a history and a heritage, but neither interferes with my ability to administer impartial justice,' Borman said."

    However, as the same article explains, Borman later did withdraw from the case after discovering that his family had a financial interest in the Jerusalem supermarket that the woman had helped bomb.

    Concern among legal scholars over whether Trump would respect the law as president goes beyond Trump's use of racial and religious attacks against the judiciary, according to the same AP story:

    "'The concern is that [Trump] would act unbounded in the presidency, in a way that doesn't follow the law.,' said John McGinnis, a Northwestern University Law professor...

    'Here it's just about Trump. said Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler.

    More troubling, Adler said, is that the recent comments seem to fit into a pattern of intemperate remarks Trump has made during the campaign.

    'He said he would give military officers unlawful orders and expect them to comply,' Adler said, referring to Trump's claim that the military would follow his orders to torture suspected terrorists. Trump has since backed off on that.

    The AP story also quotes Professor Adler as saying of Trump:

    "He has repeatedly given indications he has no appreciation for the rule of law..."

    To be fair, the same AP article also quotes one legal expert as trying to draw an equivalency between Trump and Hillary Clinton on the issue of lack of respect for the rule of law

    "Former federal appeals court judge Michael McConnell, an appointee of President George W. Bush, says he is not encouraged by the behavior of the leading candidate of either party, citing Clinton's troubles over the private email server she used when she was secretary of state.

    'They both
    seem to think they're above the law'...said McConnell, who teaches constitutional law at Stanford Law School."

    While no one, including Hillary herself, is arguing that her handling of emails was entirely beyond criticism, and granting that she is still under FBI investigation in this regard, a comparison between her and Trump for claiming to be above the law would carry more weight if Hillary had also engaged in racial and religious attacks on federal judges and supported the use of torture

    The comparison would also have more force if Hillary had tried to intimidate her opponents by threats of retaliation, including "opening up" the libel laws to undermine the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech; and banning the entire membership of a major world religion from entering the US in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion; while calling for surveillance of US citizen members of this religion, including their places of worship.

    Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has not done any of the above.

    The link to the above AP article is:
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice is primarily focused on H-1B specialty worker and O-1 extraordinary ability petitions, J-1 training visas, and green cards through labor certification and opposite sex or same sex marriage. His email address is

    Updated 06-08-2016 at 11:02 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Trump, Ignoring Constitution, Continues Attacking Latino, Muslim Judges. Roger Algase

    Update, June 9, 12:30 pm:

    Guess whom David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, is now attacking for opposing Donald Trump's racist assault on Judge Curie: The Jews, of course - who else?

    This only goes to show that the genie of hatred cannot be kept in the anti-Latino, anti-Muslim, anti immigrant bottle for very long, but is bound to spread out into attacks against other ethnic groups as well, including this one which has been the object of so much hatred and discrimination in America in the past.

    This is why we need to stop hate and bigotry at the source, no matter what form it might take or what garb it might masquerade under - including but not limited to the pretext of enforcing the immigration laws.


    Update, June 6, 2:28 pm:

    Other leading Republicans who are decidedly unhappy with Trump's assertion that judges of Latino ancestry or Muslim religion would be inherently biased against him because of his immigration proposals include TV anchor Joe Scarborough, Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R. Utah), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). See POLITICO: June 6,

    Trump has Republicans squirming with 'Mexican' judge attacks

    See also Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb), who called Trump's comments "the literal definition of 'racism'".

    My original post follows:

    In my June 3 post dealing with Donald Trump's attack against US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel based on the judge's Mexican ancestry, I suggested that, based on the same logic he has used against Judge Curiel, Trump might just as well claim that a Muslim judge would be unqualified to sit in a case involving Trump personally.

    It evidently did not take long for Trump to validate my prediction. POLITICO now reports that, in addition to continuing his attacks on Judge Curiel as being allegedly biased against him because of the Judge's "Mexican heritage" (as well as accusing the Judge of belonging to a "pro Mexican" organization that it in fact only a bar association for Latino attorneys), Trump is now claiming that a Muslim judge might also be biased against him.

    POLITICO reports as follows:

    "Quizzed by CBS's John Dickerson that aired Sunday on 'Face the Nation', Trump said he'd have similar concerns [over bias] about a Muslim judge.

    'It's possible, yes, Yeah. That would be possible absolutely," he said."

    Dickerson, who seems to know what America means and what kind of country we are much better than the man who could very possibly be our next president, then responded, according to the POLITICO story

    "Isn't there a tradition though in America that we don't judge people by who their parents were and where they came from?"

    To which Trump answered:

    "I'm not talking about tradition. I'm talking about common sense, OK?"

    The "tradition" that Trump doesn't want to talk about happens to be the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the law.

    For the POLITICO story, see:

    According to the Washington Post, Trump's comments about Mexican and Muslim judges have drawn strong condemnation from several of his fellow Republican spokespersons and current or former elected officials. Here are some extracts from the Post's article:

    "Republican strategist Brian Walsh, a former spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, [tweeted] 'I don't care if he's the nominee. Republicans should loudly condemn this racist, nonsensical rhetoric by Trump'....

    ...Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) responded to Trump's latest comments with a strongly worded statement to The Washington Post:

    'His comments are offensive and he should retract them'...

    The Post's story continues:

    "Republican leaders including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who both support Trump, have criticized these statements...

    Former speaker
    Newt Gingrich, another Trump booster, also criticized him on 'Fox News Sunday.'

    'This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made, and I think it's inexcusable...If a liberal were to attack Justice Clarence Thomas on the grounds that he's black, we would all go crazy."


    Washington Post: GOP worries rise amid hostile Trump comments on Latinos and Muslims
    (June 5)

    (Sorry - I do not have the link. Please go to

    It is worth noting that not as many of Trump's fellow Republicans criticized Trump when his attacks were focused on Mexican and Muslim immigrants. But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee seems determined to prove that when the rights of immigrants come under assault on the basis of ethnicity or religion, the rights of minority American citizens are also put in danger.

    Trump's above comments about judges being unqualified to sit in certain cases based on their ethnicity also raise serious questions about what would happen to the Constitutional principle of separation of powers, and to our democracy, if Trump were to become the next president.

    This question will be explored further in a future post. In the meantime, a few questions are worth considering:

    1) How many minority judges would be appointed to the federal bench in a Trump administration? Would Trump refuse to make any minority appointments on the grounds that any such judges might be "biased" against him or opposed to his immigration policies by reason of their ancestry or religion?

    2) Would minority applicants be considered for federal agency employment on an equal basis with white ones, as is now the case, or would they be refused on the grounds of being "biased" against Trump or his immigration policies on the grounds of their race or religion?

    3) Would the above question apply especially to minority applicants seeking employment with immigration-related agencies such as the Department of Home;and Security, the Department of Labor or the Department of State?

    Would President Trump order his aides to go through lists of federal employees looking for Latino and Muslim names to add to his "enemies" list, as Richard Nixon reportedly did in the case of Jewish federal employees shortly before he was forced to resign?
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School with more than 35 years experience helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is

    Updated 06-09-2016 at 11:44 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Trump's "Mexican" Judge Helped To Destroy Drug Cartel. Roger Algase

    As outrage over Donald Trump's claim that US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over two lawsuits against Trump University is biased against Trump purely by virtue of US-born Judge Curiel's Mexican Ancestry, continues to grow (see below), NBC news reports that Judge Curiel helped to bring down a dangerous Mexican drug cartel and may have been targeted by the cartel for assassination.

    The June 1 report states:

    "When Curiel was part of narcotics enforcement, he helped to bring down the Mexican criminal organization run by Benjamin Arellano Fellx, who was arrested in 2002 and convicted of running a violent and deadly drug cartel between the US and Mexico.

    Before Felix' arrest, the Los Angeles Times reported that Curiel had been a possible target by the cartel when a top lieutenant was arrested and claimed in a bugged conversation that he was given the go-ahead to assassinate the U.S. prosecutor."

    If Trump's genuine concern is making immigration enforcement more effective, rather than simply using racial attacks to try to destroy anyone who opposes him, as the National Hispanic Bar Association and Slate Magazine's William Saletan allege in their following quoted remarks, it would seem curious for Trump to pick a target who may have risked his life to stop drugs from coming into to the United States from Mexico.

    It is one thing for Trump to go after "illegal" immigrants. But why (as also in the case of Sen. John McCain), does he also like to attack American heroes?

    Updated 06-04-2016 at 08:08 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Trump's "Conflict of Interest" Could Bar Minority Judges in Many Cases. Roger Algase

    Update, June 3, 4:30 pm:

    House Speaker Paul Ryan, only one day after endorsing Donald Trump for president, has now criticized Trump for his racially based attack against U.S> District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Referring to Trump's remark that Judge Curiel has a "conflict of interest" in presiding over the lawsuit against Trump University, because of the Jusge's "Mexican heritage", Ryan said, according to POLITICO:

    "Look, the comment about the judge the other day was just out of left field for my mind...It's reasoning I don't relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that."

    The same report also quotes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as having reservations about Trump's racial attack as well, saying:

    "...these attacks don't serve the candidate very well at this point"

    If only Republican leaders still had the courage to stand uo against the Frankenstein figure who is about to become their official presidential candidate. The fact that they don't, or have given up whatever guts and moral sense that they had until recently in this regard in the name of expedience and desire to win an election at any cost, may turn out to be America's tragedy in November.

    Trump is certainly no Hitler, but Trump still has the potential to destroy American democracy, and his reprehensible racial attack on a federal judge whose decisions in Trump's own case, in which he is a defendant,Trump disagrees with, is just one more evidence of this.

    The half-hearted, timid statements of the above two Republican Congressional leaders remind one of the "decent" Germans who opposed Hitler in the early 1930's but were afraid to speak out against him until it was too late.

    For the POLITICO story, see:

    My original post follows:

    In typical Trump style, in response to outrage in the legal community as well as among Latinos and most others who believes in racial equality, over his comment that the federal judge in the Trump University lawsuit, Gonzalo Curiel, is biased against Trump because the (US-born) judge is a "Mexican", Trump has taken his racial invective one step further. This has disturbing, if not frightening, implications for the independence of the judiciary, and for the future of our democracy, if Trump is elected president.

    The Hill reports late on June 2 that Trump is now accusing Judge Curiel of having a "conflict of interest" in this case, merely because of his "Mexican heritage". The Hill quotesTrump as having told the Wall Street Journal that Curiel's background is relevant because of Trump's stand against illegal immigration. According to Trump:

    "I'm building a wall. It's an inherent conflict of interest."

    The implications of this latest racial insult against a federal judge are simply mind-boggling. Previously, as also reported by The Hill in the same article, Trump had accused Judge Curiel of being biased against him based on an action that the judge took in the case, i.e. allowing the lawsuit to move forward rather than dismissing it on a motion for summary judgment.

    Trump had accused the judge of taking this adverse action because of the judge's ethnicity, something which alone is enough to disqualify Trump to be in charge of all federal court litigation as president, including picking Supreme Court and other federal judges.

    But Trump's latest "conflict of interest" charge implies that no judge of Mexican or by extension Latino ancestry (as Trump has also referred to Judge Curie as an "Hispanic") is qualified to sit in any case involving Trump himself, purely because of ancestry, not on the basis of anything that the judge may have done or said.

    (Judge Curiel's actual opinions on illegal immigration are unknown, so far as i am aware, and in any event, immigration is not the subject matter of the Trump University lawsuit.)

    Now suppose thatTrump becomes president and head of the federal government. This means that he would be responsible for every one of the thousands, if not millions, of lawsuits or administrative proceedings involving one or another federal government agency, including but not limited to those involving immigration.

    Would Trump instruct government lawyers to demand that every judge with a Latino name in every single one of these proceedings should recuse himself or herself because a presumed disagreement with Trump over immigration policy, even in a case that had nothing to do with immigration?

    What about these government lawyers themselves? Would a Trump administration refuse to hire them, or fire existing ones on the grounds of "conflict of interest" over immigration policy in the case of lawyers who had Latino names?

    And does having Mexican or other Latino ancestry automatically mean that one has a particular view about immigration policy in general? It is true that most Latinos in America are opposed to Trump's extreme immigration enforcement proposals. But not every Latino is.

    (Current polling indicates that, despite his harsh immigration proposals, 20 percent or more of Latino voters may vote for Trump in the fall. (If it is less than 20 percent, all discussion of what Trump might do as president could turn out to be academic, according to most polling experts, among whom I do not claim to be.)

    The assumption that every American of Mexican or other Latino origin "hates" Trump because of his immigration proposals, or even disagrees with these proposals, is not only absurd, but is the crudest form of racial prejudice. It reminds me of the time (not so long ago) when anti-Semitic haters claimed that every Jew in America had his or her first loyalty to Israel, merely by virtue of being Jewish,

    More recently, it is similar to the Islamophobic message being promoted today by Trump himself, as well as many other politicians, that all Muslims, including US citizens, should be suspected of hating America and put under surveillance or barred from entering this country purely because of their religion.

    Following this line of thought, most, if not all, Muslim-Americans can safely be presumed to be opposed to Trump's proposed ban on entry to the US by Muslims from anywhere in the world.

    Does thai mean that no Muslim judge or administrative official should allowed to preside in any case involving a federal government agency because the judge or other official might have a "conflict of interest" with President Trump based on disagreement over immigration policy?

    Would such a "conflict of interest" mean that no Latino or Muslim should be allowed to work for the federal government?

    To carry these examples a bit further, suppose, hypothetically, that Trump, as he has suggested, becomes president and brings about a settlement on some issue or issues between Israel and the Palestinians by pressuring Israel into concessions that some of its supporters in America might find objectionable and blame Trump for.

    Would this mean that Jewish federal judges or government employees would have a "conflict of interest" in any case involving the federal government?

    This question is not so fanciful. Shortly before being forced to resign over Watergate, President Richard Nixon reportedly asked for a report identifying all federal government employees with Jewish names to put on his "enemies" list.

    (Nor is Trump free from accusations that he himself has made anti-Semitic remarks see:

    Trump Speech To Republican Jewish Forum Just A Series Of Offensive Stereotypes About Jews

    Here is one more example. Trump has used very harsh language against China and other Asian countries on international trade issues, and has threatened drastic tariff increases or similar sanctions against them. Would this give all Asian federal judges or other federal government employees a "conflict of interest" if Trump becomes president?

    Would a federal judge or government employee of any background or ancestry who has ever expressed an opinion or issued a decision disagreeing with President Trump on any issue whatsoever have a "conflict of interest" that would disqualify him or her sitting on any case involving the federal government, or even from working for the federal government?

    If any of the above hypothetical examples were ever to become reality, America could be called many things, but "democracy" would not be one of them.

    To be continued in a forthcoming post.
    Roger Algase is a New York Immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

    His practice is focused primarily on H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary work visas, and green cards through labor certification and opposite sex or same sex marriage. Roger's email address is

    Updated 06-04-2016 at 05:37 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Trump Draws More Flak From Legal Experts for Racial Attacks On Judge. Roger Algase

    Update, June 2 at 9:56 pm:

    In his most horrifying and chilling comment yet, Trump has accused US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of having a "conflict of interest" in the Trump University lawsuit because of the Judge's "Mexican heritage". According to The Hill, Trump claims the Judge's ethnic background is relevant because Trump is "building a wall".

    The implications for an independent judicial branch of government in America if Trump is elected president are devastating. Conceivably, many of Trump's immigration actions as president could become subject to federal court litigation.

    Would government lawyers in a Trump administration argue that every judge in every such case with a Latino name should be disqualified from sitting or ruling in the case because of his or her ancestry? What about Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Would Trump try to have her recuse herself from such a lawsuit if it reached the Supreme Court?

    If she did not so so, would Trump try to have her removed from the bench?

    Could America still call itself a democracy in such an event?


    My original post follows:

    Concern among legal authorities over whether Trump would respect the independence of the judiciary as president continues to grow. as the Washington Post reports on June 1 in its article:

    Trump's personal, racially tinged
    attacks on federal judge alarm legal experts

    (I do not have a link - please go to

    Trump's most recent attack against Indiana-born US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is in charge of the lawsuit against him over his allegedly fraudulent "Trump University", as a "Mexican" and a "hater" is not the first, according to the above story. The Post reports:

    " February...[Trump] told Fox News that Curiel was biased against him because of his controversial immigration comments and proposals, including his promises to build a giant wall on the U.S. Mexico border amd deport 11 million illegal immigrants.

    Trump also said, according to The Post's article;

    I think it has to do with the fact that I'm very, very, strong on the border...Now , he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me."

    The Post also reports that a spokesperson for Trump, Katrina Pierson, falsely accused Judge Curiel of being a member of La Raza, and therefore biased against Trump. In fact, Curiel belongs to the San Diego La Raza Lawyer's Association, an unrelated, non-partisan, professional group.

    According to the above article, Luis Osuna, president of the above association, said that:

    "Trump's attempts to discredit Curiel should give voters serious pause, not least because his comments reduce Hispanics in the legal profession to their heritage."

    Osuna was also quoted as saying:

    "Every time these is a comment like this, it is disheartening...It is not, unfortunately, surprising, given the source of the comments. But it displays a complete lack of understanding of the role we have as attorneys and judges and the role we have in upholding the Constitution."

    The same article also quotes Charles Gardner Geyh, a professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, as saying that Trump's comments about Judge Curiel raised an issue of "throwing the judiciary under the bus"​.

    Trump's inexcusable racial attacks on Judge Curiel, which amount to a claim that the Judge's ethnicity in and of itself makes him incapable of rendering a fair decision in the lawsuit against Trump, are just one more indication that the prejudice against Mexicans and other minority immigrants which Trump has made a centerpiece if his campaign can lead to undermining America's entire system of rule of law and government under the Constitution.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger's practice is primarily focused on H-1B specialty occupation and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas, J-1 training visas, and green cards through labor certification and opposite sex or same sex marriage. His email address is

    Updated 06-02-2016 at 08:56 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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