One of the problems that President Donald Trump seems to have faced in trying to put his policies into action has been the “judicial activist” judges who seem to think that they have the right to dictate policy to the Executive Branch.
One would think that that may be change as Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a record pace to get federal judges in who will be more faithful to the Constitution.
But they don’t have any power over the state courts and there are still a lot of judges out there who don’t seem to understand how to properly conduct their jobs, that they aren’t supposed to be political but neutral arbiters, based on the law and the Constitution.
The Supreme Court of Utah just called Judge Michael Kwan on the carpet for disparaging Trump in court as well as on social media. They upheld a six month suspension without pay for the municipal judge and they said his actions undermined public confidence in the courts by injecting politics.
From Daily Caller:
“Fulfillment of judicial duties does not come without personal sacrifice of some opportunities and privileges available to the public at large,” Utah Supreme Court Justice John Pearce wrote in an opinion upholding the sanctions against Kwan. “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.”
Charges were brought by the state Judicial Court Commission against Kwan after he compared congressional Republicans to the Reichstag which approved Hitler’s actions in Nazi Germany and he injected attacks on Trump into the courtroom.
“Welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover,” Kwan wrote. “We need to 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.”
On another occasion, the judge dismissed a defendant’s contention that he would pay off overdue court fines with his tax rebate, saying that Trump will only give tax cuts to the wealthy.
The JCC found Kwan’s remarks “prejudicial to the administration of justice” and suspended him without pay for six months.
While acknowledging he shouldn’t have made the comments in court, Kwan claimed his remarks on social media are protected speech. The court rejected that argument.
The judge has a past history of issues.
According to Pearce’s opinion, the JCC and the Utah bar association have sanctioned Kwan in the past for inappropriate political commentary and misuse of judicial authority, to include imposing jail sentences in absentia and assessing excessive fines. On one occasion, the state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Kwan for serving as president of a nonprofit that took policy positions and criticized candidates for public office.