An Oregon judge is facing several counts of ethical misconduct for, among others things, refusing to marry gay couples and hanging up a picture of Adolf Hitler in a local courthouse.
According to KOIN, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day no longer performs marriages at all. And because county judges in Oregon aren't required to perform weddings, Day's actions are not strictly illegal. NBC News explains:
The state Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability found no specific fault with Marion County Circuit Judge Vance Day's refusal to perform same-sex weddings — something he isn't required to do under county law. Day stopped performing any weddings earlier this year rather than preside over same-sex marriages.
But the state's ethics board is taking issue with Day because he told his staff to screen for gay couples and refuse them service.
He also said that he didn't put the picture of Hitler up because he likes Hitler. He just wanted to honor WWII veterans. Per Day's response:
Judge Day further admits that one of the wall hangings emphasized how a liberal democracy overcame the scourge of fascism and… the wall hanging did contain an old painting from that period of Adolf Hitler. Admits that Judge Day was never informed that wall hangings to be displayed in the Marion County Courthouse had to be pre-approved for display by anyone.
In other words, nobody told him explicitly not to hang a picture of Hitler up in the courthouse.
In an separate incident, Day also allegedly falsely accused another dad of attacking him at a children's soccer game, and saying things like, "I’m the judge—I can do whatever I want," referring to himself as a "benevolent dictator," and so on.
Day's attempt to honor our troops has been questionable in other ways, as well. According to a document detailing the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability's complaints against—and denials of—Day, the judge allegedly allowed a veteran convicted of a felony to handle a firearm.
The veteran, referred to in the document as BAS, was under the judges probationary care. Day allegedly dragged him to a wedding:
In November 2013, while driving BAS to Judge Day's daughter's home to do some cabinetry work, Judge Day stopped to perform a wedding ceremony. Judge Day made BAS stand next to him at the wedding.
Day says BAS wanted to watch the ceremony.
On another occasion, Day insisted BAS read Fearless, a book that BAS said triggered his PTSD. Fearless is about Navy SEAL Team Six member Adam Brown, who was killed in Afghanistan, and who BAS says he knew personally. Day says he didn't know "the full extent of BAS' medical conditions at the time." With this in mind, it's not shocking that Day wouldn't get why hanging a picture of Hitler could make some people uncomfortable.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.