On the day following America's -and possibly the World's- most contentious, arduous and dramatic election, Canadian Justice Bernd Zabel decided to lighten the mood by bringing what he thought was levity into his courtroom. Little did the lawman know he was about to set off an unintentional cavalcade of issues. What he intended to be humor was immediately met with personal and professional backlash.
Wonder if it would have been same outcome if he had worn a Hillary cap??— b.robertson (@bevrobertson3) September 12, 2017
Nope. You're not allowed to show any political leanings if you're a judge. THAT is "all" it is.— RandoCalrissian (@TheFunPolicy) September 12, 2017
Immediately following the outcry, Judge Zabel apologized and openly acknowledged that he used poor judgement and was not revealing any political loyalties. Some still believe his actions state he is a proud Trump supporter. He has said that though he does not support ANY of the President's beliefs or controversial actions; he did predict and say early on that Mr. Trump would be standing as the victor while his colleagues were confident in Mrs. Clinton.
Many of the original 81 complaints feel that Judge Zabel's verdict should have been the harshest possible, citing that they do not feel confident the Judge can do his duties without bias. Judge Zabel has been a revered judge and investigations show he has only ever been fair beyond reproach with his record.
After the verdict Justice Robert Sharpe, the Chair of the Court of Appeals stated :
“We are satisfied that members of vulnerable groups need have no fear about the treatment they would receive from Justice Zabel. Whatever Justice Zabel may have thought about the U.S. presidential election, and however serious his actions of Nov. 9, 2016, may have been, his record on the bench and his reputation with his judicial colleagues and the bar demonstrates that he is an entirely fair-minded and impartial judge who is dedicated to the highest ideals of his calling.”
The attornies for the judge explained a glimpse of the his original ideology and expressed his remorse.
The question remains, is there never a time for lightening the mood? Though we must hold our lawful leaders to a high standard are they not allowed creative freedom as well without public ridicule? Judge Zabel says he was merely trying to jovially 'mark a historical World moment."
The battle for those answers and many more carries on.