Should Trump's judge muzzle him?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

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New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan warned Donald Trump against making inflammatory remarks that could "incite violence and civil unrest" as the former president faces criminal charges related to hush money payments to a porn star. But Merchan stopped short of issuing a gag order, saying he wouldn't impose one "at this time even if it were requested." Merchan noted that Trump "is a candidate for the presidency of the United States, so First Amendment rights are critical."

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination, immediately put Merchan's decision to the test. Trump, who has warned the charges against him could spark "potential death & destruction," told a roomful of supporters at his Mar-a-Lago residence and Club in Florida after the New York court hearing that Merchan was "a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife and family," calling attention to the judge's daughter's work in a consulting firm that raises money for Democrats, and did work for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign. Merchan and his family have received threats since Trump's New York arraignment this week, as did the prosecutors in the case in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.