The conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are striking back against criticisms from liberal Supreme Court candidate Judge Jill Karofsky.
In a joint statement, Chief Justice Patience “Pat” Roggensack and Justice Annette Ziegler criticized Karofsky’s campaign without mentioning her by name.
“Attacks on the integrity of the court strike at the heart of the judicial system,” they wrote. “Such language risks undermining the court’s legitimacy with parties, attorneys and the public. Judges and those seeking judicial office must be mindful and act with the decorum appropriate to the office.”
Karofsky, who is challenging conservative Justice Dan Kelly in the April 7 election, has made repeated attacks on the integrity of the Supreme Court and Kelly in particular. Karofsky has accused Kelly of always siding with conservative organizations for political reasons. Kelly has called Karofsky’s attacks “slander.”
After Roggensack and Ziegler criticized Karofsky, two more Supreme Court Justices joined in the criticism. In another joint statement, Justices Brian Hagedorn and Rebecca Bradley called Karofsky’s statements “irresponsible and insulting.”
“Her slanderous statements about Justice Kelly’s work on the Court are evidence of her lack of fitness for this bench,” the justices wrote. “At no point has she actually engaged in a substantive critique of Justice Kelly’s opinions, reasoning, or legal analysis. She simply casts aspersions based on the outcomes of cases, which evidences her own outcome-driven judicial approach.”
Bradley and Hagedorn said Karofsky’s approach is “exactly the wrong way to think about cases” because it’s more about following a political agenda rather than following the law, and prefer Kelly’s approach to the law instead.
“We know Justice Kelly, the quality of his reasoning and the depth of his commitment to the judicial craft. We are absolutely confident that we need his integrity and intellect to continue on the Court,” Bradley and Hagedorn wrote. “And as he makes that case to the people of Wisconsin, we call on Judge Karofsky to stop these baseless insults and attacks and to instead give the voters a fair, accurate presentation of the Court’s work.”