Utah Judge Michael Kwan forgot that he is supposed to be impartial. Kwan has been ranting about the president on the regular, to the point that people were questioning if he could still be impartial when it comes to reviewing a case, where there was a Trump supporter involved.
It would be one thing if he was a new Judge, but Kwan has been on the bench for more than twenty years.
The case that got Kwan in trouble revolved around a defendant saying he would make his payments when he received his tax returns.
“You do realize we have a new president,” Kwan asked, “and you think we are getting any money back?”
“The defendant replied he or she hoped and prayed that would be the case.
“Prayer might be the answer,” the judge replied. “‘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.”
Supposedly this was supposed to be a joke, “But the high court noted that it is “an immutable and universal rule that judges are not as funny as they think they are” and if someone laughs at a judge’s joke, it’s probably because of the power dynamic in the courtroom and not because the joke was actually funny.”
“…Just days after the presidential election, Kwan wrote, “Think I’ll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all.”
During Trump’s inauguration, Kwan wrote: “Welcome to governing. Will you dig your heels in and spend the next four years undermining our country’s reputation and standing in the world? … Will you continue to demonstrate your inability to govern and political incompetence?”
The Utah Supreme Court unanimously found that these comments violated rules that prohibit judges from publicly endorsing or opposing political candidates or doing anything that could undermine the judge’s independence or impartiality.
“We never argued that the judge should not be sanctioned, but we felt and argued that a six-month suspension was too severe,” Greg Skordas, Kwan’s lawyers stated. “The Supreme Court obviously felt otherwise. We will honor that decision and abide by it.”
Kwan had argued in response that his comments were protected under the First Amendment, and that his private Facebook posts were “constitutionally protected speech” that were not “expressly” critical of Trump when he was a presidential candidate. He acknowledged his comments became “more direct, critical and strident” after Trump was elected into office.
The Utah Supreme Court ruled that it could not consider that argument due to precedent but said that didn’t matter anyway — the conduct that Kwan did admit to was enough to warrant a six-month suspension.”
That should be a lesson to him. The courtroom is not supposed to be political. The Judge is simply supposed to be listening to the cases and in a perfect world, he would have no biases whats so ever. But