District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the same judge who was insulted by President Donald Trump after presiding over the Trump University case in 2016, is set to review a case against Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The case, which was brought against the president by the state of California, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), and environmental groups, challenges the waivers given to the federal government to build the wall over 10 years ago.
These waivers allow the federal government to ignore federal and state laws so that the border can be built.
If the ruling is favorable to the parties suing the government, the construction of Trump’s wall could be delayed, whether or not it’s later overturned. If this is the case, it would be a victory not only for those concerned about the environmental consequences of building a wall, but also to all taxpayers in general as the project would cost just under $70 billion.
Still, plaintiffs will have a long battle to fight as they will have to prove whether Congress passed the waivers so that any president could make use of them into the distant future or if they were meant to be used for smaller projects.
Both Grijalva and the state of California contend that the wall would create challenges to the environment in the locations where the border would be built. But while California states that the wall would do “irreparable harm” to the state’s wildlife, Grijalva contends that the environmental analysis used by Congress to concede the waivers does not match the updated measures Trump hopes to implement, making it out of date.
Despite the good cases made by all parties involved in the suits that has now been combined by the congressman, once Curiel begins to hear this case on Friday, the judge’s history with the president will once again be the center of attention.
Curiel, who presided over some of the lawsuits against Trump’s defunct Trump University, was targeted by the then-candidate ,who said the judge was biased against him because he was “Mexican.”
But Curiel isn’t Mexican. Born and raised in Indiana by Mexican parents who were naturalized U.S. citizens, the judge was appointed to the federal bench during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Still, Trump said in June 2016 that since Curiel is “proud of his heritage” and that he wanted to build a wall, the judge would not be able to be impartial while judging a case involving individuals who were claiming they were scammed by Trump.
Eventually, the suit was settled, and Trump agreed to pay $25 million to the parties involved. Curiel never responded to the insults.
Trump might wish he hadn’t opened his mouth to attack the federal judge then. After all, his wall may be further delayed or even prohibited from going up depending on how this case goes.