State Watch

Utah judge suspended for anti-Trump comments

A Utah judge was suspended from the bench for six months without pay after he made comments critical of President Trump both in his court and online. 

Utah's Supreme Court suspended justice court judge Michael Kwan for what it determined was "improper use of judicial authority and his inappropriate political commentary" in a Thursday decision that was published in full by the Salt Lake Tribune

The court said Kwan posted multiple times on his LinkedIn and private Facebook account about Trump. Three days after the president was elected, for example, he wrote "Think I'll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all . . . ." according to the court filing. He appears to have been referring to Trump's infamous 'Grab them by the p----' remark from 2005 that surfaced ahead of the election. 

In February 2017, Kwan posted "welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover," adding "[W]e 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," referencing the Nazi German government, the court decision said. 

The decision also said that a defendant told Kwan of a plan to use tax returns to pay fines, to which the judge responded "You do realize we have a new president and you think we are getting any money back?"

Kwan told the state Supreme Court that his in-court statements were attempts to be funny, but admitted that they violated rules. He said in court that his internet comments, however, should be protected under the First Amendment. 

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