Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn was on the receiving end of one of President Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks Monday evening.
The president claimed to have endorsed Hagedorn in the 2019 election and then expressed his anger at the Supreme Court Justice’s decision to rule against Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the presidential election results in Wisconsin.
Two years ago, the great people of Wisconsin asked me to endorse a man named Brian Hagedorn for State Supreme Court Justice, when he was getting destroyed in the Polls against a tough Democrat Candidate who had no chance of losing. After my endorsement, Hagedorn easily won!…
…WOW, he just voted against me in a Big Court Decision on voter fraud (of which there was much!), despite many pages of dissent from three highly respected Justices. One thing has nothing to do with another, but we ended up losing 4-3 in a really incorrect ruling! Great…
…Republicans in Wisconsin should take these 3 strong decisions to their State Legislators and overturn this ridiculous State Election. We won in a LANDSLIDE!
When contacted by RightWisconsin, Hagedorn declined to respond to the president’s criticisms. However, Hagedorn has commented elsewhere on criticism he has received from Trump supporters since he wrote the 4-3 state Supreme Court decision ending Trump’s legal efforts in Wisconsin.
“I knew I’d certainly get an earful from some people who disagreed with my votes,” Hagedorn said in an interview with WISN TV in Milwaukee. “But I’m doing the best I can as faithful as I can to follow the law regardless of politics.”
The Supreme Court Justice also commented on the personal toll resulting from his decision.
“I’ve definitely had some extra police protection,” Hagedorn told WISN TV. “Not just me but some of the justices because of some of the things directed our way. I’m not aware of any specific death threats necessarily. There are some things that are concerning and not fun as a father of five children to hear. It’s been the case that my 12-year-old daughter asked me at one point, ‘Dad can we play in the front yard today or should we play in the back yard?’”
In an interview with the New York Times, Hagedorn described some of the reaction his decision has received:
Talk radio in Wisconsin, particularly on the conservative side, is very prominent. I turned on the radio one morning driving to work and heard what a horrible person I was. So it’s hard to miss it.
Yes, I’ve been called a traitor. I’ve been called a liar. I’ve been called a fraud. I’ve been asked if I’m being paid off by the Chinese Communist Party. I’ve been told I might be tried for treason by a military tribunal. Sure, I’ve gotten lots of interesting and sometimes dark messages.
In his Tweets attacking Hagedorn, the president made a number of errors starting with the election results. Trump lost Wisconsin by over 20,000 votes and did not win in a “landslide” as the president claimed.
As far as endorsing Hagedorn, a search on Google, Twitter and Ballotpedia revealed no endorsement by the president. It’s possible that Trump did endorse Hagedorn but given it’s lack of visibility the endorsement, if it was made, did not impact the race. On Twitter, Trump did congratulate Hagedorn after his victory.
The president was also wrong in claiming “Hagedorn easily won!” Hagedorn managed a victory of just over 5000 votes out of 1.2 million cast.
Finally, Trump was incorrect in saying his state lawsuit to overturn Wisconsin’s election was about “fraud.” As National Review’s Andrew McCarthy (a Trump supporter and a former federal prosecutor) pointed out, there were no cases of fraud alleged in the lawsuit.
“First, notice again that no fraud on the part of the voters is alleged,” McCarthy wrote. “All of these claims involve voters who, with no cause to believe otherwise, cast ballots on the assumption that state officials were acting lawfully.”
The 2019 Wisconsin Supreme Court race was notable because the seat was vacant due to the retirement of the late Justice Shirley Abrahamson, the longest-serving member on the court. The retirement of the liberal Abrahamson and the narrow victory by Hagedorn allowed conservatives to build a 5-2 advantage on the state’s high court. That lasted until the defeat of Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who was endorsed by Trump, in the 2020 Spring election.
The race was also notable because Hagedorn was criticized for being on the board of a traditional Evangelical Christian school with traditional Evangelical Christian values when it comes to human sexuality. This caused the Wisconsin Realtors Association to withdraw their endorsement. The controversy threatened to sink Hagedorn’s campaign.
However, Hagedorn fought back, beginning with an op-ed in RightWisconsin, and grass roots conservative support is widely credited for helping him to victory.