Ruth Conniff

Supreme Court Unexpectedly Fires Chief Appeals Judge

Progressive justices object to unprecedented move by the state's high court.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Jul 1st, 2021 11:00 am
Lisa Neubauer. Photo from Judge Neubauer for Justice.

Lisa Neubauer. Photo from Judge Neubauer for Justice.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer was relieved of her leadership duties by the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Annette Ziegler.

Neubauer ran as a progressive candidate for the Supreme Court in 2019 and was defeated by Justice Brian Hagedorn

The three progressive justices on the Supreme Court reacted to this unprecedented action in an email sent to all appeals judges in the state on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an order, signed by Ziegler, declaring that Neubauer’s term leading the appeals court will expire on July 31. The same order replaced her with a new chief, Court of Appeals Judge William Brash.

But according to the email sent by Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca F. Dallet and Jill Karofsky, “Never before has this court limited the number of terms that can be served as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.”

The three justices objected to “the timing and lack of process employed by a majority of this court in the appointment process” and said they had not had time to weigh in on the order.

Email

“Why has her term expired after serving only two terms, comprising six years of service?” the justices asked.

Neubauer’s immediate predecessor served eight years as chief judge, and each of the two chief judges before him served nine years, the justices pointed out.  “If there is to be a newly imposed limit on the number of terms, what propels the need for immediate change?  Why now?”

“A consequence of the change now is that it can serve as justification for an otherwise unjustified termination of the tenure of the current Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals,” they added, “and indeed on July 31, that will come to pass.”

The three justices wrote that they “do not intend to cast a pall over the beginning of Judge Brash’s tenure as Chief Judge.  He has provided many years of service both on the circuit court and the court of appeals and we are confident that the court of appeals will be in good hands.  Nevertheless, we express our concern regarding the timing and lack of process employed by a majority of this court in the appointment process.”

Supreme Court summarily ends Court of Appeals chief judge’s term was originally published by the Wisconsin Examiner. 

6 thoughts on “Supreme Court Unexpectedly Fires Chief Appeals Judge”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    I’m not worried about Russia, China, the Taliban, or ISIS… The real enemies of the citizens of the United States of America are the cult members of the Republican Party… No wonder why so many Americans have been turning their backs to the American flag…

  2. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Because Republicans are nazis.

  3. Paul Nannis says:

    As said above, there a cult…a bad cult.

  4. gerrybroderick says:

    The majority on the court has been bought and paid for by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Assn., The MMAC, etal…..and now is the time for their Supreme Court Flaks to do their bidding. I’m afraid that while not diplomatic, Godzillla is on the $,$$$,$$$,$$$.!!!!!!

  5. TransitRider says:

    Question: Does anybody know if money is involved? Does the Chief Judge get paid more than the other judges? Is the Court’s conservative majority paying Brash for ruling their way?

    Other than a possible money angle, does this make any real difference? Does the Chief Judge have any special powers that the other judges don’t?

    Still, this demotion seems VERY petty, similar to what happened to Shirley Abrahamson.

    Compare this to the US Supreme Court where opposing justices (like Scalia and Ginzburg) could still respect each other as human beings.

  6. Jaimcb says:

    Yes to the above comments. Yep. We Wisconsinites have the unsavory job of unraveling the misguided and convoluted thinking at the core of trumpian politics. It’s not bad people, it’s bad thinking. Yep. Right here in River City!

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us