Said I back in February. Today, I see that Vince Sicari has lost his case — he was a municipal judge and he lost at the state supreme court level — and he has quit.
Several justices questioned whether the public could separate Mr. Sicari’s position as a judge from roles he has played on the ABC hidden camera show “What Would You Do?” in which he has portrayed homophobic and racist characters. That quandary played a central role in the ruling on Thursday, as the justices noted that someone tuning into the show might not know that actors were used in the sketches. They applied the same standard for Mr. Sicari’s stand-up performances.The judge was judged by judges who themselves have the burden of expectations that judges can never assume that their audience understands sarcasm and role playing and all the other wonderful dimensions of speech that remain open to people who are allowed to be free.
“In the course of his routines, Sicari has demeaned certain people based on national origin and religion and has revealed his political leanings,” according to the court’s opinion. “The court cannot ignore the distinct possibility that a person who has heard a routine founded on humor disparaging certain ethnic groups and religions will not be able to readily accept that the judge before whom he or she appears can maintain the objectivity and impartiality that must govern all municipal court proceedings.”