There was an interesting moment on The View today after co-host Raven-Symone brought up the background of the judge in the Stanford rape case and questioned whether that background could have impacted the trial. That led to a discussion of how similar questions like that were to what Donald Trump had said about Judge Curiel’s “Mexican heritage.”
“We have some information on him,” Raven-Symone said adding, “I don’t know if this is right to bring up or compare with what’s going on in society but he is a Stanford alumni and captain of the men’s lacrosse team…before he became a judge.” She continued, “And so was this boy…” Again, the implication is that maybe Judge Aaron Persky , who is white, a Stanford alum and a former athlete, had some extra-sympathy for Brock Turner who was also white, a Stanford student and an athlete.
Host Whoopi Goldberg added, “It does raise the question of, you know, is there a hint of that here?” She continued, “That’s why, you know, judges have to be really careful because your past does come out and then people start saying ‘Hey, you were a sports guy…he’s a sports guy’.” At this point Whoopi, wish some help from other co-hosts, said it was the same as the question being raised by Donald Trump about Judge Curiel, which it obviously is. “It’s the same idea,” Whoopi said.
Immediately, Joy Behar knew what the right answer should be. “So you’re saying, this judge, that should not be an issue here?” Whoopi replied, “No, but people will make it an issue which is why people have to be really clear about what their decisions are and how it’s going to affect other people because someone says ‘Well you were a sports guy.'” At this point Raven Symone raises her hand and says somewhat sheepishly, “Like I did.” Whoopi continued, “And that’s what Donald Trump…that’s what he’s saying…”
The hosts then brought up Justice Sotomayor’s 2001 speech in which she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Joy Behar, who only moments before was raising the possibility of a “cover up” in the case because of the judge’s history now argued that was very different from what Trump (or Sotomayor) were talking about because Trump was talking about “a man’s ethnic background.”
But Raven-Symone, who had just backed away from raising these questions, undercut Behar’s point saying, “I see it a lot on the same and I think a lot of people in the black community have said the same things with certain judges they’ve gone up against in certain cases saying that this judge can’t be impartial because I’m black and they’re white.” She added, “It’s been going on in our society for years.”
The segment ends moments later without any real resolution, but it is interesting because the issue of whether or not a judge’s background or even their race can impact their decisions is not as simple as some people have been suggesting over the past week. In fact, complaining that a white judge or jury is biased against a black defendant is considered fairly routine. And as we see here, complaining that a white judge might let a white rapist off lightly because of shared sports history is something even Joy Behar thinks is possible, right up until she realizes it’s the same kind of argument Trump is making about Judge Curiel.
Here’s the full clip. The discussion of the Stanford case starts about 2 minutes in and it morphs to a discussion of Trump’s comments around 6 minutes in.