Ruth Conniff

Lawyers Denounce Attacks on State Justices

They call on state bar, Supreme Court leadership to condemn threatening, anti-Semitic attacks.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Dec 23rd, 2020 11:12 am
Wisconsin Supreme Court. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin Supreme Court. Photo by Dave Reid.

A letter signed by lawyers throughout the state is calling on the leadership of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Supreme Court to publicly and immediately denounce the “vicious personal attacks” on Supreme Court Justices Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky and Brian Hagedorn.

All three justices were targets of hateful messages from supporters of Donald Trump upset with the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s rejection of a lawsuit seeking to throw out the votes of more than 200,000 voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The voicemails and letters were first made public by Progressive Magazine editor Bill Lueders who filed an open records request seeking messages to the justices and published the results in the Progressive and the Examiner.

Karofsky and Dallet have also been the targets of anti-Semitic attacks  published on a pro-Trump blog and in the neo-Nazi publication the Daily Stormer, the Examiner reported.

The letter, signed by 74 members of the Wisconsin Bar as of mid-day Tuesday, concludes “these attacks need to be met with swift and forceful condemnation by the Wisconsin State Bar and the entire judiciary, led by our Chief Justice.  An unanswered threat to one or more Supreme Court Justices is a threat to all members of the judiciary, the Bar, and to the rule of law.”

In response, the State Bar issued a statement denouncing the attacks on Tuesday afternoon. “Sadly, these unconscionable attacks are a reminder that hatred and religious intolerance are alive and well in our society. We, as individuals, elected officials, and a legal community, cannot stay silent when any jurist is attacked or threatened for their work in protecting the rule of law. No one should live in fear for doing their job.”

As of early afternoon on Tuesday, according to Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, a Madison attorney and one of the organizers of the campaign, there has been no response from Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack.

“The collective silence of the legal community has been deafening,” said Beth Cox, one of the organizers of the letter, before the campaign began gathering signatures.

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.

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