Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who was subjected to a series of hateful and racist attacks about his Mexican heritage in 2016 from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, is slated to hear a case Friday that will help determine whether Trump can use decades-old waivers to bypass environmental laws and build his desired U.S.-Mexico border wall.
McClatchy first reported on the assignment Monday, noting that it’ll likely attract the attention of the president.
The case is a consolidation of three separate lawsuits filed by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), environmental advocacy organizations, and the state of California. It challenges the use of waivers, granted by Congress, that allow the executive branch to bypass state and federal laws in the pursuit of border security projects. The Trump administration has used those waivers to legally justify the construction of border wall prototypes in Southern California.
Trump disparagingly referred to Curiel as a “hater” and a “Mexican” during a campaign rally in San Diego when discussing the outcome of Curiel’s ruling on a class action lawsuit against Trump University.
He then berated Curiel on Twitter, calling him “very unfair” and “totally biased.”
If Curiel rules in favor of the Trump administration, it would allow the government to proceed with building the wall in other border states like Texas and Arizona.