An anti-Trump judge in Utah, was just suspended without pay for 6 months for his unprofessional criticism of Trump in the courtroom and on social media.
The New York Times reported that when it comes to humor, politicians are often the butt of jokes. This can be a problem, however, if the jokes are delivered by a judge.
That seemed to be the message of a ruling this past week by the Utah Supreme Court, which approved a six-month suspension, without pay, for Judge Michael W. Kwan of Taylorsville Municipal Justice Court, after he made politically charged comments in his courtroom about President Trump.
The Supreme Court said in its ruling on Wednesday that the comments — along with an online posting in 2016 critical of Mr. Trump — violated judicial rules on “independence, integrity, and impartiality.” The court noted that Judge Kwan, who was appointed to the municipal court in 1998 and subsequently re-elected by voters, had previously been disciplined for inappropriate political comments.
“It is an immutable and universal rule that judges are not as funny as they think they are,” the court said.
The court added: “Every time a judicial officer engages in misconduct, he or she spends the good will of the judiciary as a whole. Here, we readily conclude that Judge Kwan has been spending our good will.”
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A Utah judge has been suspended for six months without pay after he made a series of critical statements about President Donald Trump online and in his courtroom over the past few years.
The Utah Supreme Court filed its court ruling this past week on Judge Michael Kwan’s actions.
Kwan, who has served as a justice court judge in Taylorsville for 20 years, was cited for “improper use of judicial authority and his inappropriate political commentary,” the latter often involving President Trump.
The court noted multiple times when Kwan had provided political comments that criticized Trump, as a presidential candidate in 2016 and as president on his Facebook page and in court.
Three days after the 2016 election, Kwan wrote on Facebook, “Think I’ll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all” — a reference to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump was heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals without consent.
Almost a month after Trump’s inauguration, Kwan said “welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover” and questioned whether Congressional Republicans would be “the American Reichstag,” this time referring to the political body of Nazi Germany.
Judge Kwan defended his online commentary by stating that he had a First Amendment right to share his views about elected officials’ political and social stances, calling it “constitutionally protected speech” and describing his statements as “social commentary or humor.”
In response, the ruling written by Utah Supreme Court Justice John Pearce dryly noted, “It is an immutable and universal rule that judges are not as funny as they think they are. If someone laughs at a judge’s joke, there is a decent chance that the laughter was dictated by the courtroom’s power dynamic and not by a genuine belief that the joke was funny.”