Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler accused the court’s liberal majority of staging a “coup,” according to emails obtained by the Associated Press.
After gaining a majority August 1 for the first time in 15 years, liberal justices quickly moved to fire state court director Randy Koschnick, drawing immediate backlash, and create a committee responsible for many of the tasks that the chief justice has typically handled, the AP reported. Ziegler wrote in two emails obtained by the AP that the majority’s actions were illegal and amounted to “nothing short of an unprecedented coup.”
“You are making a mess of the judiciary, the court and the institution for years to come,” Ziegler wrote to the other justices and the new interim director of state courts, Judge Audrey Skwierawski, per AP. “This must stop. … I have no confidence in the recent hostile takeover and the chaotic effect it has had on the court, staff, and the overall stable functioning of the courts.” (RELATED: ‘A Political Hit Job’: Fired Wisconsin Court Director Files Complaints Against Liberal Justices)
Koschnick, the former director, filed five complaints with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission earlier in August challenging both the four liberal justices and his replacement, Skwierawski.
“This is taking a wrecking ball to the due process of law in Wisconsin,” Koschnick previously told the DCNF.
Ziegler wrote in her email that Skwieraski’s appointment as interim director raises “serious concerns about this being a public trust violation,” given that she is holding two positions at once. In an email sent to Skwierawski on Monday, Ziegler asked her to stop signing orders in her name without her “knowledge or approval.”
“You never asked me for permission,” Ziegler wrote. “You do not have my permission. Stop. These orders are in my name. You have no lawful authority to sign them. If you have signed anything else under my name, please advise immediately.”
Ziegler also slammed the new committee, which she has refused to meet with, as “invented” by the majority.
“Again, I will not condone such lawless destruction of the constitution, the judiciary, or the court,” Ziegler wrote, according to the AP. “For 40 years, the role of the Chief Justice has been understood and respected. Your short term goals will cause long term, irreparable damage to the judiciary. What a historical disgrace.”
Justice Janet Protasiewicz’s defeat of former conservative Justice Dan Kelly in April shifted the court to a 4-3 liberal majority when she took her seat Aug. 1.
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