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Judge Resigns After Posting Controversial Statements About Confederate Monuments

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 23, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Which of the following controversial posts about Confederate monuments made Judge James Hinkle abruptly resign?

A. "The nut cases tearing down monuments are equivalent to ISIS destroying history."

B. "It looks like all the snowflakes have no concept of history. It is what it is. Get over it and move on."

C. Observing that Confederate monuments have the rear ends of horses facing north, he wrote: "PERFECT."

The correct answer is "none of the above." Hinkle, a 14-year veteran of the Gwinnett County court and former Georgia mayor, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he didn't "see anything controversial" about his posts.

Resignation Accepted

Hinkle did not apologize for his Facebook comments, but he resigned the day after Chief Magistrate Kristina Hammer Blum suspended him.

"My decision to accept Judge Hinkle's resignation is not a comment on his personal opinions; he is entitled to those," Blum said. "While, thankfully, our Constitution protects the right of all citizens to express their opinions, Judges are held to a more stringent standard by the Judicial Canons."

Blum said Hinkle had served the court dutifully, dedicating his life to public service as a former mayor and Marine.

"However, he has acknowledged that his statements on social media have disrupted the mission of this Court, which is to provide justice for all," she said.

Judicial Canons

Georgia Judicial Canons, Rule 1.2, provides that judges have a duty to promote public confidence in the judiciary. It says:

"Judges shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."

Hinkle resigned because of his judicial ethics, while other prominent public officials continue to denounce the removal of Confederate monuments. President Trump called the removal of "our beautiful statues and monuments" in Charlottesville, Virginia, "so foolish."

He also blamed "both sides" for the violence by white supremacists who protested the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. An alleged Nazi fanatic was charged with murder after he plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters there, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

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