I want to say up front that I don’t really know much (anything) about Gonzalo Curiel, other than what I have read in the papers. He might be a good judge, he might be a terrible one. I’ve never practiced in front of him. I’ve been shown no evidence that he is a bad one, other than the fact that he rules against Donald Trump and his lawyers, which seems to be enough for Trump and his supporters, but it is not enough for me.
Based on a pretty good amount of evidence, Trump University was a fraud, Trump did lie about the extent of his participation in it, and the people he defrauded should have their day in court. I see no evidence that Curiel has done anything wrong whatsoever in this case, or improper.
Anyway, in addition to Trump’s overtly racist attack on Curiel, in which Trump explicitly said that Curiel cannot be trusted to rule fairly on any case involving Trump or any of his companies solely on the basis of his Mexican heritage, both Trump and certain lazy/dishonest conservative bloggers have attempted to affiliate Curiel with “La Raza.”
What they are attempting to do is associate Curiel with the National Council of La Raza, the radical left-wing and pro-illegal-immigration group that has gained significant notoriety in the news over the years as a group that is both anti-American and open to fomenting violent pro-immigration protests.
Curiel, however, has no affiliation with this group whatsoever. He is a member of La Raza Lawyers of California – aka the Latino Bar Association of California. They have absolutely no affiliation with National Council of La Raza. As far as I can tell, they appear to be a pretty garden variety special interest lawyers association. Every state has these chapters for Hispanic lawyers, black lawyers, women lawyers, Mormon lawyers, Christian lawyers, Jewish lawyers – you name it, there is a lawyer association for it in every state. They have meetings, everyone comes and eat lunch together, and they serve pretty much exclusively the function of networking, which is the lifeblood of legal business generation.
Maybe you find the existence of these groups distasteful and tacky, but that’s a separate point. The point is, no, Judge Curiel is not a member of or affiliated with the radical leftwing group that conservatives have come to know and hate, in spite of the surface level similarity of name.