Canadian Judge Suspended After Wearing 'MAGA' Hat in Courtroom

Canadian Judge Suspended After Wearing 'MAGA' Hat in Courtroom

It's the most serious sanction permitted by law short of removing the judge from office.

Zabel's action prompted 81 complaints. "In doing so, he violated a fundamental principle of judicial ethics and, particularly in view of the controversy surrounding Donald Trump's campaign, engaged in serious misconduct", the council explained in its decision. He said he had bought several MAGA hats as historical memorabilia, not as a Trump supporter. "We are satisfied that Justice Zabel does not hold any of the discriminatory views that the complainants attribute to Donald Trump", it said. He says that he was trying to make a joke about a result few had expected.

Justice Zabel left his hat in his chambers during the afternoon session. He is praised for his hard work, professionalism, integrity. The "common theme" of the complaints, according to the disciplinary panel, was that Donald Trump had expressed misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim attitudes, and that people from those targeted groups would have reason to worry about being treated impartially in Zabel's courtroom.

In a summary of its decision released on Tuesday, the OJC said Mr Zabel "committed a single aberrant and inexplicable act of judicial misconduct" in an otherwise "unblemished and exemplary" 27-year record on the bench.

The biggest factor in its final decision for suspension revolved around Zabel's record as an "open-minded and impartial" judge.

However, the council said, "we are satisfied that members of vulnerable groups need have no fear about the treatment they would receive from Justice Zabel".

The panel also found that when the judge gave a public statement about that day in court, his comments were not consistent with what had happened.

The council added, while Zabel has been suspended for 30 days without pay, he has not taken on or been assigned any cases since January.

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