Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


The New York Judge Who Gagged Trump Should Recuse Himself

Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost confidence in courts of law?

Photo by Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images

The judge in Donald Trump’s upcoming Manhattan trial harbors a contempt for the rule of law that is sadly typical these days of liberal jurists.

Inflamed by Trump’s public salvos about the unfairness of the case against him, Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order preventing the former president from criticizing court staff and members of their families, including his honor’s adult daughter.

Let’s begin with the basics.  Gag orders are almost always a prior restraint on speech and presumptively unconstitutional.  Silencing a defendant violates his or her First Amendment rights.  Such orders are often a judicial abuse of law, but some judges do it anyway because they’re imperious, arrogant, and can get away with it.  By the time a gagged defendant appeals, it is invariably too late.  The trial is over.

As the leading candidate for President, Trump has an elevated right to exercise his freedom of expression, especially where his opponents have weaponized the law by bringing politically motivated charges against him to unduly influence the upcoming election.

Judge Juan Merchan and DA Alvin Bragg have forsaken their duties by making a mockery of ethical standards. 

Anyone accused of a crime has a constitutionally-protected right to defend himself in a court of law, as well as the court of public opinion.  That includes justified criticism of the trial judge who has a noted history of liberal bias.  Merchan donated to Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden, and also gave money to an anti-Trump cause, although the amount was small.

But the judge’s daughter is also fair game for criticism.  Loren Merchan is a public figure who runs a prominent progressive political consulting firm that handles outspoken Trump opponents like Adam Schiff, who was infamously censured by his own colleagues in Congress for peddling endless lies about Trump and the notorious Russia Hoax.

Significantly, Merchan’s daughter has a financial or economic interest in her father’s case.  She and her clients raised some $93 million in campaign donations by citing the Trump prosecution in their solicitation mailings, according to reporting by The New York Post.

On this basis alone, Judge Merchan was obligated to recuse himself because a member of his family —which is identified a child under strict ethical guidelines— has a private, vested interest in the outcome of the case.  Yet, he refuses to step aside despite the glaring conflict of interest.  Meaning, the fix is in.

There’s no exemption under the First Amendment protecting the family members of judges.  Merchan’s gag order is as wrongful as his decision not to disqualify himself in favor of a different judge who has no such conflict and might actually be objective and neutral.  The appearance of impropriety, by itself, is sufficient for recusal under Section 100.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct in New York.

In his gag order, Merchan would have us believe that Trump’s comments may induce violent threats.  Yet, there is no evidence that.  If it were otherwise, the former president would be charged with obstruction or tampering.  But he hasn’t been because he confined his remarks to complaints about an inability to obtain a fair trial in New York from a compromised judge and a Democrat District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who brought an anemic and time-barred prosecution by contorting the law.

It’s perfectly okay for witnesses such as Stormy Daniels and confessed liar Michael Cohen to trash Trump in their endless interviews and public comments, but the victim of their attacks is gagged?   The double standard should be obvious to all.

This unequal application of the law was compounded when a federal judge, Reggie Walton, recently appeared on CNN for the sole purpose of condemning Trump.  But the target of Walton’s ire, citizen Trump, has his free speech rights curtailed?

The right to a fair trial embodied in the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments protects the accused, not the accuser or the judge.  They have no such right.  But they do have sacred obligations to see that justice is done fairly, equitably, and impartially.

Both Judge Juan Merchan and DA Alvin Bragg have forsaken their duties by making a mockery of ethical standards.  They have failed to uphold the integrity of our legal system and the honor of judicial independence.

Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost confidence in courts of law?