Canadian Judge Suspended for 30 days

A Hamilton judge has been suspended for 30 days following a recommendation by an independent disciplinary commission. He was suspended for wearing a cap into his courtroom following the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States. The cap had the words “Make America Great Again” which is the slogan that was used by Donald Trump during his campaign period. The Canadian Judge is known as Bernd Zabel. For the better part of last month, he appeared before a disciplinary committee where he explicitly said that he was not a supporter of the US president. He said that the main reason he wore the cap to his courtroom was humor. He further emphasized that he only wanted to make people laugh. The decision by the Ontario Judicial Council read that he had been reprimanded for what they referred to as breaching the judicial conduct standards. Since December last year, the judge has not been assigned any case. The Ontario Judicial Council also said that the 30 days suspension would come without pay. This is considered as the most serious sanction that can be imposed by the Ontario Judicial Council. Also, they have the power to dismiss the judge on more serious offenses.

After it emerged that the judge had worn a cap in the court room last year, the council said that they received a total of 81 complaints relating to his conduct. The most serious complaint by these people was that he showed unacceptable political views especially affiliating himself with a political party. According to the complaints, many said that they fear the judge may support the many things that President Trump said during the presidential campaign. Some of the issues that were brought forward include anti-Muslim attitudes, misogynistic racism as well as a complaint relating to homophobia. The decision further read that he had associated himself with these views through his conduct of wearing the hat. He, therefore, posed a threat to the vulnerable groups in the society that required to be treated impartially and fairly. Therefore, Judge Zabel was considered not fair to their interests. This decision is just a reminder of the tumultuous political climate that was experienced in the US last year. Notably, President Trump was regarded as controversial and provocative. For instance, it was argued that should he implement his policies, a lot would change. Some of the issues that the council disagreed on include national security, immigration, climate change and free trade which directly affects Canadians.

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About the Author: Nick Callen

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