Utah judge suspended for making anti-Trump comments

Court Alerts

A longtime Utah judge has been suspended without pay for six months after making critical comments online and in court about President Donald Trump, including a post bashing his “inability to govern and political incompetence.”

Judge Michael Kwan’s posts on Facebook and LinkedIn in 2016-2017 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.

Kwan’s Facebook account was private but could have been shared by friends, Pearce wrote.

“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 was retained in the position by voters.

Kwan argued the suspension was inappropriate and an unlawful attempt to regulate his constitutionally protected speech, Pearce wrote in the opinion.

Kwan’s attorney, Greg Skordas, said the judge is disappointed with the severity of the suspension but accepted that he would get some reprimand.

Like many people after the 2016 election, Kwan felt strongly about the results and said some things “in haste,” Skordas said.

He knows judges are held to a higher standard and must be careful, the lawyer said.

“He certainly regrets making those statements and is committed to not doing anything like that again,” Skordas said.

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.

Skordas said he doesn’t know Kwan’s political party but noted the judge has been reprimanded previously during his career for comments critical of politicians from both major parties.

Pearce referred to those past reprimands while justifying the severity of the suspension.

Related listings

  • News attorneys: Opioid distribution data should be public

    News attorneys: Opioid distribution data should be public

    Court Alerts 05/03/2019

    Attorneys for news organizations argued Thursday that the U.S. public should be allowed to see federal data about how prescription opioids were distributed as the nation’s overdose crisis was worsening.They urged a three-judge panel of the 6th ...

  • Group takes oil refinery fight to North Dakota's high court

    Group takes oil refinery fight to North Dakota's high court

    Court Alerts 03/24/2019

    An environmental group is taking its battle against an oil refinery being developed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park to the North Dakota Supreme Court.The National Parks Conservation Association argued in its Wednesday filing that an air quality...

  • Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes

    Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes

    Court Alerts 03/19/2019

    A court in Germany ruled Tuesday that the government has partial responsibility to ensure U.S. drone strikes controlled with the help of an American base on German territory are in line with international law, but judges stopped short of ordering the...

USCIS Continuing Form I-751 Data Entry

USCIS has completed receipting and data entry for all filings of Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, received between May 1 and Sept. 9, 2018. Petitioners should receive receipt notices by Oct. 22, 2018.

On June 13, 2018, USCIS announced that the California Service Center (CSC) was experiencing a delay in initial data entry for Form I-751. After changing the filing location for Form I-751 from the USCIS Service Centers to the USCIS Lockbox facilities in September, USCIS completed receipting and data entry of these petitions on Oct. 1.

If you submitted a Form I-751 to the CSC between May 1 and Sept. 9, 2018, and you have not received a receipt notice, do not file a duplicate Form I-751 unless you have received a rejection notice or have been instructed to do so by the CSC.

If your two-year green card has expired and you have not received a receipt notice, you may schedule an appointment online for you and any eligible dependents to be seen at your local field office. If possible, bring evidence that you sent your Form I-751 via the U.S. Postal Service or a delivery service, such as FedEx. If you have any questions about the process, visit the USCIS Contact Center page.