Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Canadian judge who wore 'MAGA' hat in court suspended

Canadian judge who wore 'MAGA' hat in court suspended

Judges must conduct themselves so as to avoid any perception that the administration of justice will be influenced by their political views.

He added that he made a decision to wear the hat the day after Trump won the 2016 presidential election in the U.S.as a way to "lighten the mood" and did not support the US president in the election cycle.

"The suspension comes after an Ontario Judicial Council panel last month held a hearing which looked into complaints received against the judge for wearing the hat bearing President Trump's campaign slogan in court on November 9, 2016, the day after Trump's victory". "But the reader of the whole story of the judge's exemplary 27-year career, his sensitivity to matters such as race and gender, and the absence of any indication of prejudice or bias, might well see things differently".

Many lawyers and justices defended Zabel because of his record of impartiality on the bench.

Justice Zabel testified that he did not intend to indicate his personal support for Donald Trump or any of the views Trump expressed during the campaign. "We feel the decision speaks for itself". The panel concluded that Justice Zabel's actions amounted to a serious breach of the standards of judicial conduct, that it had an adverse impact upon public confidence in the judiciary and the administration of justice, and that it warranted the imposition of a sanction. Even judges are capable of making mistakes.

The Canadian Press reports that the Ontario Judicial Council brought down the decision Tuesday.

"What would a reasonable member of the public think upon seeing Justice Zabel enter the courtroom wearing Trump's signature red "Make America Great Again" hat and state that he did so "in celebration of an historic event"...?" the panel asked, according to The National Post.

Judge Zabel, who claims he is not a Trump supporter, said in court that it 'pissed off the rest of the judges because they all voted for Hillary, so I was the only Trump supporter up there but that's okay, ' according to the Toronto Star. He explained this comment at the disciplinary hearing by saying that he meant he was the only one who predicted Mr. Trump's victory.

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