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Salt Lake City - Utah Judge Suspended For Making Anti-Trump Comments

Published on: May 24, 2019 04:00 PM
By: AP
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FILE - In this May 25, 2010, file photo, Judge Michael Kwan talks with a defendant during drug court in Taylorsville, Utah APFILE - In this May 25, 2010, file photo, Judge Michael Kwan talks with a defendant during drug court in Taylorsville, Utah AP

Salt Lake City - A longtime Utah judge has been suspended without pay for six months for comments he made online and in court criticizing President Donald Trump, including a post bashing his “inability to govern and political incompetence.”

Judge Michael Kwan’s numerous posts on Facebook and LinkedIn in 2016-2017 criticizing Trump violated the judicial code of conduct and diminished “the reputation of our entire judiciary,” wrote Utah State Supreme Court Justice John A. Pearce in an opinion posted Wednesday. His Facebook account was private, but could have been shared by friends, Pearce wrote.

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“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,” Pearce said.

Kwan has been a justice court judge in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville since 1998. He deals with misdemeanor cases, violations of ordinances and small claims. He was first appointed by elected city officials to a six-year term and has remained in the position since by voters who decided to let him stay.

Kwan and his attorney, Greg Skordas, didn’t immediately respond to phone calls and emails from The Associated Press.

Kwan argued the suspension was inappropriate and unlawfully tried to regulate his constitutionally protected speech, Pearce wrote in the opinion.

Skordas told The Salt Lake Tribune, which first reported the ruling Friday, that they are disappointed with the severity of the suspension.

It’s unknown what Kwan’s political affiliation is because he chooses to keep his voter registration private, an option available to any state voter, said Justin Lee, Utah Director of Elections.

Kwan’s online posts about Trump started during the 2016 election.

On Trump’s inauguration day, Jan. 20, 2017, he posted: ““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 next month, he posted: “Welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover. . . 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.”

The ruling suspending Kwan also cited an interaction in court with a defendant in January 2017 in which Kwan criticized Trump after the defendant said he would use his tax return to pay fines.

“You do realize that we have a new president, and you think we are getting any money back?” Kwan said.

“I hope,” the defendant said.

“You hope?” Kwan said.

“I pray and I cross my fingers,” the defendant said.

“OK. 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,” Kwan said. “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 earned a law degree from the Whittier College School of Law in Costa Mesa, California, and was certified in Chinese law by the East China University of Politics and Law in 1993, according to his biography .

Taylorsville city officials agree with the punishment and expect Kwan to return to his position when his suspension ends, said city spokeswoman Kim Horiuchi.



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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 24, 2019 at 05:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Yep another biased leftist democrat judge.

2

 May 25, 2019 at 09:24 PM JohnJay Says:

There's a 243 year tradition of people in America including judges having freedom of speech and expression. Libraries are filled with such examples and judges are never suspended for them. This won't stand, guaranteed. Its a clear example of trump and his fascist followers trying to kill American democracy on behalf of tsar pootin's russia.

3

 May 26, 2019 at 09:25 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
JohnJay Says:

There's a 243 year tradition of people in America including judges having freedom of speech and expression. Libraries are filled with such examples and judges are never suspended for them. This won't stand, guaranteed. Its a clear example of trump and his fascist followers trying to kill American democracy on behalf of tsar pootin's russia.

Stop with your lies kapo scumbag, judges are supposed to be neutral arbitrators of justice not hateful political partisan bigots.

3

 May 26, 2019 at 09:28 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #2  
JohnJay Says:

There's a 243 year tradition of people in America including judges having freedom of speech and expression. Libraries are filled with such examples and judges are never suspended for them. This won't stand, guaranteed. Its a clear example of trump and his fascist followers trying to kill American democracy on behalf of tsar pootin's russia.

Judeges need to be able to be above the politics lest their job become corrupt. If this judge had a maga guy in his court room he'd right away assume guilt by association without looking into the case. That's why freedom of speech with judges need to be scrutinized.

Let's Drain the swamp and go after the ninth circuit in San Francisco as well

4

 May 26, 2019 at 12:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Educated Archy Says:

Judeges need to be able to be above the politics lest their job become corrupt. If this judge had a maga guy in his court room he'd right away assume guilt by association without looking into the case. That's why freedom of speech with judges need to be scrutinized.

Let's Drain the swamp and go after the ninth circuit in San Francisco as well

The judge did and said all the right things in the wrong place. UTAH is as Republican as it gets. San Francisco?? Ha ha. Let the Judges in San Francisco, NY, La, Chicago, Boston and in the rest of the Places where Real Educated and civilized People live continue to do everything possible against this POTS. The Uneducated Deplorable places like Utah, Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, So. Carolina, Louisiana where they did the same to President Obama do it to AOC or whoever comes next(Maybe Biden) The bonus for us Honest working Yiden living mostly in Liberal Towns that hopefully the Trumpist White trash, leidiggeirs etc will decide and move to this Conservative Republican Anti Liberal anti-Torah towns where their ideology and believes has roots. I agree that the people who elected this Judge should have someone they agree just like we Jewish New Yorkers etc have the right to Judges (Politicians) we electing and agree with (like protecting immigrants, sick etc)

5

 May 26, 2019 at 12:13 PM Democrats are anti religious freedom Says:

Reply to #2  
JohnJay Says:

There's a 243 year tradition of people in America including judges having freedom of speech and expression. Libraries are filled with such examples and judges are never suspended for them. This won't stand, guaranteed. Its a clear example of trump and his fascist followers trying to kill American democracy on behalf of tsar pootin's russia.

The only ones who want to ban speech are your fascists democrat buddies who want any an all conservative speech to be deemed hate speech oh and list 3 examples of judges being able to say what they want no matter how biased from the bench

6

 May 26, 2019 at 12:20 PM Vvvvv Says:

An UNprofessional fool. He was already calling Trump incompetent on Inauguration day! This is why liberals In positions of power are so dangerous!

7

 May 26, 2019 at 02:31 PM Anonymous Says:

What about the idiotic judge in Tennessee who stated on Facebook that "the Jews should (expletive deleted), get over the Holocaust". Why was no action taken against him".

8

 May 26, 2019 at 10:20 PM Democrats are anti religious freedom Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

The judge did and said all the right things in the wrong place. UTAH is as Republican as it gets. San Francisco?? Ha ha. Let the Judges in San Francisco, NY, La, Chicago, Boston and in the rest of the Places where Real Educated and civilized People live continue to do everything possible against this POTS. The Uneducated Deplorable places like Utah, Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, So. Carolina, Louisiana where they did the same to President Obama do it to AOC or whoever comes next(Maybe Biden) The bonus for us Honest working Yiden living mostly in Liberal Towns that hopefully the Trumpist White trash, leidiggeirs etc will decide and move to this Conservative Republican Anti Liberal anti-Torah towns where their ideology and believes has roots. I agree that the people who elected this Judge should have someone they agree just like we Jewish New Yorkers etc have the right to Judges (Politicians) we electing and agree with (like protecting immigrants, sick etc)

Kapo scum those leftist liberals you love so much want to ban religious freedom they want to ban milah they want to ban shchita they want to force you to support everything the Torah is against from gay marriage to abortion to transgenderism, but you support them because you are a kapo POS scumbag feh.

9

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