A Canadian judge has been suspended for 30 days without pay for wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat in court the day after President Trump won the White House on Nov. 8, 2016.
"The panel found that Justice [Bernd] Zabel's conduct violated the fundamental principle that the judiciary must remain above and removed from politics," the Ontario Judicial Council, the body charged with investigating the 81 complaints about Zabel's behavior, wrote in a statement.
Zabel's 30-day suspension for his "adverse impact upon public confidence in the judiciary" is the most serious sanction the four-person disciplinary council could impose short of removing the judge from office, with most of the complainants expressing concern he would judge cases unfairly or impartially.
Zabel, a Hamilton-based judge with 27 years of experience, apologized for wearing the hat emblazoned with Trump's slogan shortly after the initial incident. He testified before the body that he did not intend to indicate his personal support for Trump and wore the cap as a joke.
"The panel was satisfied that a reasonable member of the public, seeing Justice Zabel enter the courtroom wearing the Trump hat, would think that Justice Zabel was making a political statement and endorsing Donald Trump's campaign," the statement continued.
Zabel has not heard any cases since December 2016.