Judge called a 'hater' by Trump rules in his favor on wall, quotes 'fellow Indiana native' Roberts

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U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel/Wikimedia Commons.

A San Diego federal judge once criticized by President Donald Trump has ruled in his favor in a case involving the border wall project.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel cleared a construction hurdle on Tuesday when he ruled the administration didn’t overreach by waiving laws requiring environmental reviews, report the National Law Journal, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Washington Post and Bloomberg News.

Curiel said an immigration law that allowed the waiver appeared to be constitutional, and the Department of Homeland Security didn’t exceed its delegated powers when it issued the waivers.

Trump had called Curiel “a hater of Donald Trump” when the judge was presiding in a suit by dissatisfied students who enrolled in Trump University real-estate investment courses. Trump had said Curiel was “a very hostile judge … who happens to be, we believe, Mexican.”

Curiel was born in Indiana, a point he made in the second paragraph of his border wall opinion when he referred to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. a “fellow Indiana native.” Curiel was quoting Roberts on courts’ need to leave policy judgments to elected leaders, who can be tossed out of office if voters disagree with them.

The full paragraph from Curiel’s opinion: “The court is aware that the subject of these lawsuits, border barriers, is currently the subject of heated political debate in and between the United States and the Republic of Mexico as to the need, efficacy and the source of funding for such barriers. In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent. As fellow Indiana native Chief Justice Roberts observed in addressing a case surrounded by political disagreement: ‘Court[s] are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.’ ”

Trump responded on Twitter.

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