SDLRLA Press Release Re: Donald Trump...

Oct 12, 2015 by

San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association and Community Organizations Respond to Trump Attacks

San Diego, CA – The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association along with Tom Homann LGBT Law Association and Justicia Criminal Defense Lawyers announce a response to Donald Trump’s misleading remarks about the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association and his repeated comments regarding U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

By Luis O. Osuna, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association President:

In recent days our organization and Judge Curiel have become the targets of Donald Trump’s attacks. The comments made by Trump have been misleading, blatant lies and even racist in nature. Given the amount of attention that Trump’s remarks have produced, this statement seeks to clarify who we are as an association, our purpose and the abject impropriety of Trump’s criticism of Judge Curiel and his attacks on the independence of the judiciary.

A part of the general public has made assumptions about our organization based on our association’s name. It is important to note that while the term “La Raza” literally translates into “the race”, its literal translation does not reflect its cultural meaning. In that context, La Raza refers to the concept of the power of the people working together in the name of justice and in the face of adversity. It is in this sense that our association invokes “La Raza.”

The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (SDLRLA) is a local diversity bar association whose reputation among the San Diego legal community is highly regarded. Our focus is “to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy. We are dedicated to promoting diversity on both the bench and bar…” (

SDLRLA’s membership consists of lawyers, judges, law students and other professionals who work with lawyers in a professional capacity. Our membership of about 300 individuals is not monolithic, consisting of members with diverse backgrounds–conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats and Latinos and non-Latinos alike.

We provide our members with professional development seminars, professional networking events, mentorship programs, and award scholarships and bar stipends open to law students of all ethnic backgrounds. In addition, we provide the Latino community with information about legal resources, organize “Know Your Rights” seminars and host candidate debates during local elections that focus on issues primarily affecting the Latino community. While our association is non-partisan, we do endorse candidates whose values align with our mission statement; however, such endorsements have included candidates from both major political parties.

Contrary to what Trump has stated, we are not affiliated with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). NCLR is a wholly independent civil rights and advocacy non-profit organization. ( SDLRLA has not been involved in organizing any Trump protests, nor do we work in conjunction with NCLR.

As an association that provides limited services, we direct members of the Latino community in need of help to other organizations. As such, on our website we have a page titled, “For the Community,” which lists links to numerous organizations across the country that serve the Latino community. These organizations focus on various issues, including police practices, healthcare, immigration and human trafficking, to name a few. On this page there is a link to NCLR’s website, constituting the only tenuous connection SDLRLA has to NCLR.

Furthermore, SDLRLA does not condone any of the violence exhibited by both sides of the protests taking place outside of Trump rallies throughout the country. Our association is committed to effecting change through lawful means and firmly believes that violence only serves to undercut otherwise legitimate concerns.

Regarding Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel. Judge Curiel is a member of our association, as are many other local attorneys and judges of all ethnic backgrounds. By now, most people are aware of the barrage of attacks levied by Trump. Specifically, Trump’s racist remarks claiming that Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage makes him incapable of acting in an unbiased manner while presiding over two of the Trump University lawsuits.
Appropriately so, the judicial code of conduct does not allow Judge Curiel to respond to Trump’s unjustified attacks. Nevertheless, it is imperative to clarify that we are not speaking for Judge Curiel, but rather, we are speaking as legal professionals concerned about the baseless attacks on a man of integrity and their wider implications. As fellow members of the professional legal community, it is incumbent upon us to defend Judge Curiel’s unimpeachable integrity and to highlight the dangers of such criticism of a federal judge by a presumptive presidential nominee.

Judge Curiel, who is a U.S.-born citizen, is a well respected member of the legal community. His reputation is held in high esteem by attorneys who have encountered him both as a federal prosecutor and as a state or federal judge. He is an exemplar of public service who risked his life in prosecuting members of the Arellano-Felix drug cartel. A task he courageously and successfully undertook took to protect all Americans–his own Mexican heritage notwithstanding.

The notion that Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage precludes him from being impartial as he presides over the Trump University lawsuits is completely at odds with the views of legal experts across the nation and untethered from reality. African–American judges have presided over civil rights cases; female judges have presided over gender discrimination matters; both have done so impartially. One need only look to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court who has repeatedly ruled to strike down laws enacted to protect the rights of African-Americans, despite his own ethnic background.

If we allow Trump’s comments to become perfunctory within the normal parameters of political discourse, we then risk descending into a country that reduces every individual down to their ethnic heritage, gender, religion or political ideology. Inevitably, this will lead to the improper use of these metrics to measure an individual’s abilities.

Trump’s repeated accusations of Judge Curiel display an utter lack of understanding for the role we play as attorneys and judges sworn to follow the law and uphold the Constitution. We do not question Trump’s First Amendment right to give his opinion as a named defendant in a civil suit; however, Trump is not the average civilian––he is the presumptive presidential nominee for one of the two major political parties.

This fact should raise concerns among all Americans on both ends of the political spectrum. His persistent attacks on Judge Curiel are not only racist, but they provide an ominous portent of how Trump may use the power of the presidency to intimidate federal judges. Such abuse of executive power poses a threat to all Americans. It is an independent judiciary and a respect of the separation of powers mandated by the Constitution that secures the civil liberties and freedom of the American people. Moreover, Trump’s comments only serve to foment the public’s distrust in our nation’s judicial system, thereby undermining one of the three pillars of our democracy.

For the foregoing reasons, we call on other bar associations to join us in denouncing Trump’s comments and demand that he retract his remarks.

Luis O. Osuna, SDLRLA President

Media: To schedule an interview or request more information, please contact Luis Osuna at 619-948-7668 or

read more

Dialogue on Diversity

Aug 26, 2014 by

SDLRLA is proud to co-present the San Diego County Bar Association’s Dialogue on Diversity “Hot Topics and Trends in Diversity and Inclusion: What All Attorneys Need to Know” The event will be Wednesday, September 17 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., followed by a mixer. Registration begins at 5:00 p.m. The program offers 1 hour of Elimination of Bias CLE. 401 West A Street, Suite 120. Featuring: Sandra S. Yamate, CEO, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession and Judge David Danielsen, Presiding Judge, San Diego Superior...

read more

Children at our Border

Aug 12, 2014 by

Children at our Border:  Questions and Answers about Children Fleeing Violence in Central America, is a new ADL website dedicated to the humanitarian situation at the border In response to anti-immigrant rhetoric that demonizes and dehumanizes children fleeing violence, ADL issued this call for civility in the debate. ADL joined in a Jewish community statement that emphasizes the need to ensure that the U.S. approach is consistent with our country’s commitment to provide safe haven and due process to children fleeing violence who may qualify for asylum. Thank you to the Anti-Defamation League for sharing these resources: Children at our Border:  Questions and Answers about Children Fleeing Violence in Central America, is a new ADL website dedicated to the humanitarian situation at the border. In response to anti-immigrant rhetoric that demonizes and dehumanizes children fleeing violence, ADL issued this call for civility in the debate. ADL...

read more

Int’l Women of Color Day

Feb 18, 2014 by

Thursday, 2/27/14 Lawyers Club of San Diego’s 2nd Annual International Women of Color Day Reception Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, 525 B Street, Suite 2200, San Diego, 92101 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Hon. Sunshine Sykes of Riverside Superior Court, the first Native American judge appointed to the Riverside Superior Court, will be honored at our Second Annual International Women of Color Day Reception. The reception will celebrate the many achievements of women of color, while acknowledging the unique barriers women of color still face, both within and beyond the legal community. The reception is a unique opportunity for law students, attorneys, the judiciary, and other members of the legal community to celebrate women of color. Co-hosted by Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego, Korean-American Bar Association of San...

read more

Women of Color Lunch

Feb 18, 2014 by

Don’t miss: March 20, 2014 “Defying the odds: Women of Color Navigating a Career In Law.” Panelists will include Hon. Patricia Guerrero, Superior Court Judge and former Latham & Watkins, LLP partner; Regina Petty, a partner with Fisher & Phillips, LLP; and Susan Daly, a partner with Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP. According to the ABA and NALP’s prior studies: “minority female lawyers have exceptional attrition rates in large law firms, defined as 25 attorneys or more. By some measures, nearly 100 percent of these women leave law firms within eight years.” Moderated by DWC Co-Chair Olga Alvarez $25, Lawyers Club and co-sponsoring members (including SDLRLA); $40, Non-members; $20, Students; $40, at the door if space is available. Register...

read more

Too far, Lincoln Club.

Jan 27, 2014 by

The Lincoln Club of San Diego County is one of the largest in California, according to its website, with over 300 members.  Their mission is “to advance free market principles and ideas by recruiting, endorsing and financing business-friendly candidates and ballot measures that reflect their commitment to responsible public policy, the expansion of economic opportunity, ad an enhanced quality of life throughout San Diego County.” Recently, The Lincoln Club paid for, through its campaign committee, a negative ad against City Councilman and mayoral candidate David Alvarez. You can click here to see it. The mailer has raised a lot of controversy, which in turn has drawn attention to The Lincoln Club. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but this…this SDLRLA believes pushes the limit too far. On Friday, the Los...

read more

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.