For some on the left, criticizing President Donald Trump is as routine as brushing their teeth or taking their dog for a walk. Whenever a discussion veers into the political realm, it’s automatic.
But, for one judge in Utah, excoriating the President has landed him in hot water. Last week, the Beehive State’s Supreme Court ruled that Taylorsville Justice Court Judge Michael Kwan’s statements about Trump “violated various provisions of the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct.” Kwan was suspended for six months without pay according to TheBlaze.
Before the 2016 presidential election, Kwan shared articles critical of Trump on Facebook and LinkedIn. After the President’s stunning win, the bitter comments kept coming.
“Three days after the 2016 election, I think I’ll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all,” Kwan wrote on Facebook, referencing the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape in which a younger Trump could be heard bragging about grabbing women by the genitals.
TheBlaze reported that in February of 2017, Kwan posted “Welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover.” He also shared that those in the U.S. should “be diligent in questioning Congressional Republicans if they are going to be the American Reichstag and refuse to stand up for the Constitution, refuse to uphold their oath of office and enable the tyrants to consolidate their power.”
Merely posting his unsavory comments on social media was a violation of the code of conduct. However, Kwan took things a brazen step further when he introduced his biased politics into the courtroom. In a 2017 case the Utah Judge was presiding over, the defendant remarked that they were waiting on a tax return, so they could pay their fines. Addressing the defendant, Kwan quipped, “You do realize we have a new president and you think we are getting any money back?”
The defendant responded that they were praying they would. Kwan then reportedly said, “Prayer might be the answer. Cause he just signed an order to start building the wall and he has no money to do that, and so if you think you are going to get taxes back this year, uh-yeah, maybe, maybe not. But don’t worry[,] there is a tax cut for the wealthy so if you make over $500,000 you’re getting a tax cut.”
Kwan later maintained that he had been joking and that his remarks were “constitutionally protected speech.” The Utah Supreme Court couldn’t have disagreed more. Utah’s highest court stated, “[i]t 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.”
The Utah Supreme Court also commented, “Fulfillment of judicial duties does not come without personal sacrifice of some opportunities and privileges available to the public at large. And as a person the public entrusts to decide issues with the utmost fairness, independence, and impartiality, a judge must at times set aside the power of his or her voice.” In the end, Utah’s highest court dismissed every one of Kwan’s defenses. According to TheBlaze, the stern rebuke was upheld because the Judge “has been the subject of prior discipline and the recipient of prior guidance.”
The Utah Supreme Court contended, “Judge Kwan’s behavior denigrates his reputation as an impartial, independent, dignified, and courteous jurist who takes no advantage of the office in which he serves. And it diminishes the reputation of our entire judiciary.”
A city spokeswoman confirmed that Taylorsville is in support of Kwan’s punishment. The city also expects the Judge to return to his post after his suspension ends. Reportedly, Judge Ron Wolthuis will take Kwan’s place in the Taylorsville Justice Court during the Trump critic’s absence.
~ Conservative Zone