By Ellen Brostrom
I am appalled. I have had the privilege of serving as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge for 14 years. As judges, we take an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. The actions this week of Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky and Janet Protasiewicz of the Wisconsin Supreme Court violate that oath. Moreover, they are unbecoming to the office they hold, and they are disrespectful of their colleagues.
Our state constitution vests the Chief Justice with the administrative authority of the court, not four rogue justices acting through an ad hoc committee of their creation. When these four justices created this committee to usurp the power of the Chief Justice, they violated Article VII, section 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution.
Similarly, their “firing” this week of Director of State Courts, Randy Koschnick, was procedurally flawed, as it was not done by administrative conference noticed by the Chief Justice. And, indeed, it was not based on any failing by Judge Koschnick in fulfilling the duties of his office. These four justices are not free to override our state constitution and the administrative rules of our high court by ad hoc “committee.”
I am saddened by the actions of these four justices. They create doubt going forward that these four will follow the law, and they detract from the dignity of our high court. The beauty and genius of our nation is that we are a country of laws, not of men (or in this case women). This gives people confidence that their liberty and rights will not be encroached upon. This gives us stability and order. The four liberal justices’ actions this week reek of raw abuse of power, and undermine the confidence of the people of Wisconsin in our high court. As a member of the judiciary, I condemn these actions.
[Editor’s Note: Ellen Brostrom is a judge for Branch 6 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in Wisconsin. She assumed office in 2009. Her current term ends on August 1, 2027. She endorsed liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz for Supreme Court last spring. She is the daughter of former conservative Chief Justice Pat Roggensack. She submitted this op-ed to WRN.]