‘Welcome To The Beginning Of The Fascist Takeover’: Utah Judge Suspended For Anti-Trump Comments

A judge in Utah was suspended for six months without pay for comments he made about President Donald Trump both online and in the courtroom, Business Insider reports.

The court ruling indicates that Judge Michael Kwan made a number of comments critical of the president on social media both prior to the election and since.

“Judge Kwan violated the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct when he made politically charged comments to a defendant in his courtroom and when he improperly used his judicial authority to seek the removal of a member of the court’s staff from the premises. Kwan further violated the code of conduct when he made an online post critical of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump,” the order reads.

Kwan has since said that his comments prior to the election were, generally speaking, “social commentary or humor” and that they were not expressly critical of the Trump personally. After the election, Kwan acknowledged that his commentary became more direct and critical, but indicated that any such comments would be protected under the first amendment. His reasoning, he said, was that his comments were simply in line with his broader views on issues such as racism and civil rights.

The court ruling specifically listed a variety of examples of Kwan posting content that was critical of the president.

In 2016, after the election but before the inauguration, Kwan wrote, “Think I’ll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all.” The post was apparently a reference to the Access Hollywood tape that came to light in which Trump is heard happily boasting about grabbing women by the genitals.

In 2017, once Trump was president, Kwan wrote, “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.”

On Thursday, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that Kwan’s behavior had violated their code of conduct several times over. When reviewing Kwan’s claim of first amendment protection, the court indicated that Kwan’s courtroom was “an improper venue to press Judge Kwan’s constitutional claims.” As such, and referring to precedent created in similar cases previously before the court, the Utah Supreme Court issued their reprimand of a six-month suspension without pay.

Kwan’s reprimand comes in the face of a rocky landscape between Trump and the judicial system as the president has repeatedly taken issue with judges who rule against his executive agenda.