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San Diego Judge Disparaged By Trump Remarks Speaks On MLKs Legacy

The San Diego judge involved in the Trump University lawsuit was back in his Indiana hometown over the Martin Luther King holiday to speak about the power of King’s message and the value of an integrated America.

Photo by Courtesy photo

Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel is shown in this undated photo.

US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was in the national spotlight when then-candidate Donald Trump questioned the judge could rule on the class action lawsuit against Trump University because of his Mexican heritage.

The soft spoken federal judge actually grew up in East Chicago, Indiana. He was back home Tuesday as the featured speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Purdue University Northwest. Curiel’s take on King’s legacy seemed to mirror, at times, the judge’s experience.

“Today we live in a land where vicious epithets are hurled at each other to hurt and to ridicule people because of who they are and where they’re from and who they love,” Curiel told the crowd of student. “In these divisive times we are wise to turn to Dr. King’s gospel. The good word that teaches us that we will stand up for justice. We will love our enemies and, as there is a God, we shall overcome.”

Curiel did not break his silence about the comments made by Trump. He told the audience that he does not comment on past, present or potential future cases. Instead, the judge highlighted King’s values of tolerance and inclusiveness.

“He marched for integration because he knew integration of public accommodation held the key to exposing races to each other so that unfounded stereotypes and fears could be replaced with understanding,” Curiel said. “Dr. King knew it. And I know it. I know it from growing up in East Chicago, Indiana.”

The ethnic enclave of northwest Indiana is populated with immigrants from around the world, many of them came to work in heavy industry that once boomed.

Curiel said San Diego shares the same benefits of integration.

In a lighter moment, the judge was asked what he would do if he were nominated to the Supreme Court. Curiel joked that one thing he knows is that wasn’t going to happen.

As a candidate, President Donald Trump questioned Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican heritage as part of the Trump University case, which was decided in San Diego.

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