From Lawyers, Guns & Money:
And, you know, Trump has a point. Not because his comments about Curiel aren’t racist — they certainly are. But it is fair to wonder when his arguments somehow became taboo within the Republican Party.
You may remember, for example, the discourse surrounding the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. Her formal credentials were impeccable, essentially identical to Sam Alito’s. And, yet, Republicans routinely described her as “unqualified” because her background meant that she couldn’t be an impartial judge. A particularly common talking point was to compare Sotomayor (Princeton, Yale Law, more than two decade’s worth of experience as a federal judge) with Harriet Miers (SMU, no judicial experience, no experience as a prosecutor, holder of elected office or legal scholar, favorite justice was either Warren Burger or Earl Warren, she’s not sure) because they’re both women and therefore presumptively equally unqualified.
I’m also old enough to remember the National Review‘s chief legal affairs writer arguing that a judge should recuse himself from hearing a same-sex marriage case because he was gay.
In other words, Trump probably got the idea that only straight, conservative white men could be truly impartial judges from…listening to how Republicans talk about judges. No wonder he thinks the circular firing squad is unfair.