Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley has slammed the planned firing of State Courts Director Randy Koschnick, calling it a political purge and “abuse of power” that is “unprecedented and illegitimate.”
In response to a news story on the new liberal majority’s planned firing of Koschnick, a respected former chief judge who once ran as a conservative for the state Supreme Court, Bradley said, “Political purges of court employees are beyond the pale. Four or five justices secretly voting on court matters without the court actually meeting breaches universal judicial norms. This abuse of power is unprecedented and illegitimate. It should be condemned by all judges.”
Former Republican Attorney General candidate Eric Toney, who is president of the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association, also spoke out against the planning firing.
“This is sad but unsurprising considering the newest Justice campaigned on her political values. If this firing happens it could be the first step in a left wing politicization of the court. This should concern all Wisconsinites and it makes the 2025 Supreme Court race crucial,” Toney tweeted.
State Rep. Ron Tusler tweeted, “The Janet Court wasted no time making a fatal mistake. On day 1, they fire a loyal servant to Wisconsin, Randy Koschnick. As Chairman of Judiciary in the Assembly, I have been very impressed by Randy Koschnick’s non-partisan work as Director of State Courts. He is being removed for no reason, according to the hostile Court’s own admission.”
State Rep. Barb Dittrich also defended Koschnick, writing, “I have known Randy Koschnick for decades. He is a man of integrity and served without bias. He got Wisconsin’s courts running when COVID-19 had shut them all down. To throw away his acumen and experience in this state because of radical politics is a sad stain on our state.”
“Purging good employees for purely political reasons is not a good look to start the ‘new’ court,” said state Rep. Scott Krug. “The Director of State Courts was an exemplary employee and with a flawless service record. Keep your eyes open WI..”
As Wisconsin Right Now reported on Monday, Koschnick says liberal Justice Jill Karofsky called and informed him the court had the votes and would fire him on Tuesday. She refused to give Koschnick a reason.
Great #wssfc plenary session this afternoon: Views from the Bench. Tips from Director of State Courts Hon. Randy Koschnick, Hon. Kristine A. Snow, and Hon. Valerie Bailey‐Rihn 🧵 pic.twitter.com/z8IrRFPZkR
— State Bar of Wisconsin (@StateBarofWI) October 27, 2022
Koschnick said there was no agenda, no scheduled meeting until September, and that Bradley was unaware of the decision. He said that he believed conservative Justice Annette Ziegler was also unaware of the liberal majority’s planned action. The action is also occurring while Koschnick is out of state, robbing him of an opportunity to speak in his own defense.
New liberal justice Janet Protasiewicz is sworn in on August 1, cementing a new left-wing majority on the court. When she ran for the court’s position, Protasiewicz promised voters she has left-wing “values,” called Act 10 unconstitutional, and stated that she supports abortion.
The other liberal justices are Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet. No one is sure where sometime-conservative Brian Hagedorn stands on the matter.
Koschnick, a widely respected former Jefferson County Judge, was appointed to the non-partisan State Courts Director position in 2017 by the Supreme Court’s then-conservative majority. He has avoided making political statements in the post.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Milwaukee Judge Audrey Skwierawski, a former prosecutor and Scott Walker appointee, will be named interim Courts Director. The liberal majority has not made its permanent replacement for Koschnick clear.