That is the same judge who, back in 2001, endorsed herself as a "wise Latina woman" who will enrich a federal appellate court with the "richness of her experience" - even though appellate judges may only base their decisions not on their experiences, whoever rich they are, but on the record on appeal and the applicable law.
Apparently, to Justice Sotomayor her race-related experiences - and now religion-related and other experiences - matter in judicial decision-making.
From that point of view, let's look at the experiences of Judge Gonzalo Curiel - the one judge who was criticized by Donald Trump for an appearance of bias based on, specifically, the judge's race and experiences.
"Gonzalo, the youngest of four children, was born at an East Chicago hospital in 1953. His mother was a devout Catholic, and their family was active in the St. Patrick parish, where the children attended school. Before Gonzalo reached high school, however, his father died. And the cost of the parochial education became a greater burden. “I think it was a financial hardship,” said Greg Vega, who has been close friends with Gonzalo since the ninth grade."
So, no diversity here - Judge Curiel was not a pagan, not an atheist, not a Muslim, he was from a devout Christian family.
And, Judge Curiel was brought up in an immigrant community - which, at the time of his birth, could be more fairly characterized as an immigrant ghetto.
"It was a thriving blue-collar town, and also ethnically diverse, with Mexicans, African-Americans and an assortment of immigrants from Poland, Serbia, Croatia and Lithuania."
Why only immigrants lived in that location?
And why only blue-collar immigrants (not highly qualified and highly paid workers) lived in that location?
Obviously because blue-collar immigrants either could not afford, or were not allowed to live in more integrated communities.
There is a reason to believe that Judge Curiel's parents came to the U.S. illegally, and his mother obtained citizenship in the 60s, after the birth of Judge Curiel and after the death of his father.
Since Judge Curiel's mother did not obtain citizenship through marriage to a U.S. citizen father, but after the birth of her American-born children and after the death of her husband, there is a reason to believe that Judge Curiel is an "anchor baby" - and that his early life experiences were shaped not only by poverty, but by illegal status of his parents.
Whether Judge Curiel's parents were or were not illegal immigrants, is easily proven or disproven - through public records. Apparently, with all the money that was poured into the campaign to brand Donald Trump as bigot when he raised the issue of appearance of bias because of Judge Curiel's background, the media was unable to produce documents proving legality of Judge Curiel's parents' presence in the United States.
But, since there is a clear implication that, since Judge Curiel's mother only became a citizen in 1960, even though his father came to the U.S. in 1920s, and only after the birth of her children within the U.S. and after the death of his father - it is likely that Judge Curiel's parents were both illegal parents when they came, and thus the comparison with Donald Trump's mother who came to the U.S. through marriage to a U.S. citizen - Donald Trump's father - is not appropriate.
It is also apparent that, under these circumstances, survival and education came at a hard price to Gonzalo Curiel.
Under the circumstances of such "experience", anybody who would be rich enough to set up a private university, and who would then be accused of cheating students, can expect an "experience-based" bias from such a judge.
Here is a picture of Judge Curiel as a young man.
reelected to that position in 2008, and then proceeded to the federal bench within 3 years of his election in 2008.
"During his tenure he has been exposed to a wide variety of cases, assigned to domestic violence, criminal cases, family court cases, civil cases, presiding over more than 40 that have gone to verdict or judgment.
It is also apparent that the fact that he has reportedly "tried over 300 cases, the vast majority of
them Federal criminal jury trials where he served as the sole or lead counsel" and was
"the lead attorney on the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in 1999 to 2002" defined and sealed his Judge Curiel's prosecutorial mentality - a big concern as to how judicial experiences (praised by Justice Sotomayor) may have shaped Judge Curiel's outlook on cases like the civil case for fraud against the Trump University.
Even without more, Donald Trump would have had concerns about how Judge Curiel's "experiences" as a prosecutor shaped his pro-plaintiff views in a fraud case, and how his experiences of hardship, as a child of likely illegal and barely literate immigrants from Mexico, a child who had to forego his dream of a career in music to go into law in order to earn a living would shape his biased attitude against a rich son of rich parents and a founder of a private university sued for fraud.
But, Donald Trump had much more to be concerned about - and, naturally, his lawyers did not dare to raise those concerns for fear to lose their law licenses, which are in the hands of the judiciary, so lawyers' criticism of judicial misconduct in this country is, as we all know, silenced.
As I said before on this blog, if we do not afford Donald Trump his right to an impartial judge (see my blogs about it here, here and here) - because we do not like Donald Trump - we are shooting ourselves in the foot, because whichever precedent we are creating for those who we do not like, will be equally applicable to everybody else.
For additional description of Judge Gonzalo Curiel's "experiences" and dubious connections that raise the appearance of his bias against Donald Trump that should have disqualified Judge Curiel from presiding over Donald Trump's case - stay tuned.