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 August 8, 2023

Newly-liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court launches feuds with conservatives

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has long been a conservative majority, but that changed last week after a new liberal justice was sworn in. 

According to the Washington Examiner, Judge Janet Protasiewicz was made official last week after winning what the outlet noted was the "most expensive state judicial election in U.S. history."

The newly-liberal-majority state's high court kicked off with a dispute after the court's chief justice, a conservative, blasted her colleagues for firing the state courts director, Randy Koschnick. He was appointed in 2017 by the then-conservative majority court.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, who fired away at her liberal colleagues in a statement on the shocking termination, warned that such a firing displayed that "unprecedented dangerous conduct is the raw exercise of overreaching power."

"Guess who's making headlines in Wisconsin? The state's Supreme Court is caught up in a power struggle, and Chief Justice Annette Ziegler is not holding back. Four liberal justices recently scored the majority, and without consulting anyone else, they started making some controversial moves, including firing employees," Jewels Jones tweeted.

Jones added, "Chief Justice Ziegler was not happy, stating that this violates the Wisconsin Constitution and shows a disregard for established institutional processes. She called their actions reckless and emphasized how it undermines her authority as the chief justice. She also criticized the lack of transparency, highlighting that secret discussions have silenced other members of the court who were not included."

"It seems that the change in direction came about when a liberal justice replaced a retiring conservative justice. Ziegler firmly believes that this unauthorized action is procedurally, legally, and merit-wise flawed. She questions the rush and purpose behind such a move, calling it shameful. It's clear that tensions are running high in Wisconsin's Supreme Court," Jones continued.

Liberal Justice Rebecca Dallet responded to Ziegler's statement in kind.

"On behalf of a majority of justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I want to express my disappointment that the Chief Justice, rather than collegially participate in a scheduled meeting of the court today, is litigating issues normally discussed by Justices either in conference or through email, through media releases," Dallet wrote.

According to radio host Dan O'Donnell, in a bombshell radio interview, Zeigler accused the liberal majority of mounting a "coup" against her.

"In a bombshell interview, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler accuses the Court's new liberal majority of violating the Constitution and engaging in a "coup" against her lawful authority as Chief Justice. This is truly a must-listen," O'Donnell tweeted. 

The shift of power in the Wisconsin Supreme Court is cause for concern for Republicans in 2024, as the state's high court, in its next term, will tackle several major election-related issues, including the use of absentee ballots.

Only time will tell how radical their decision-making becomes, but given the stakes of the next election, anything's possible.

Written By:
Ryan Ledendecker

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