Wisconsin Examiner
Op Ed

Wisconsin’s Very Own Rudy Giuliani Should Not Oversee Judicial Ethics

How did Jim Troupis, a leader in fake Republican elector scheme, get reappointed?

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Mar 25th, 2024 04:16 pm
Attorney Jim Troupis presenting the recount petition to Meagan Wolfe. Photo from the WEC.

Attorney Jim Troupis presenting the recount petition to Meagan Wolfe. Photo from the WEC.

Just one month before Judge Janet Protasiewicz steamrolled Dan Kelly in the April 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the Court’s four right-wing members (Justices Annette Ziegler, Pat Roggensack, Rebecca Bradley, and Brian Hagedorn) hastened to reappoint Jim Troupis to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee, over objections from Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, and Jill Karofsky.

Yes, THAT Jim Troupis— Wisconsin’s very own Rudy Giuliani, without the drippy hair dye.

The Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee was created by our Supreme Court to advise Wisconsin’s state court judges on how to ethically perform their duties according to the Code of Judicial Conduct, SCR Chapter 60. The Code of Judicial Conduct, in turn, was adopted to ensure that “… judges, individually and collectively, … respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in our legal system.”

During his first three-year term on the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee, Troupis plotted with now-convicted felon Kenneth Chesebro to hatch the fake Republican electors scheme and export it nationwide to overthrow the legitimate 2020 presidential election. His treachery was well known then, and has been recently re-confirmed by his own documents.

At the same time, Troupis represented then-President Donald Trump in his frivolous, anti-democratic attempt to convince the Wisconsin Supreme Court to void lawful presidential ballots in Milwaukee and Dane Counties. This is all in addition to Troupis’ central role in rigging Wisconsin’s legislative maps for the Republicans during Scott Walker’s tenure as governor. Not to mention, during his brief stint as a Walker-appointed judge, Troupis authored a 2016 decision comparing surrogate pregnancy as a way for same-sex couples to become parents (legal under Supreme Court precedent) to “child trafficking.”

Troupis’ reappointment is just one example of the often short-shrift approach to judicial ethics embraced by our former Republican-controlled Supreme Court majority. Having already gutted longstanding ethics rules governing disqualifications in conflict of interest situations, substituting lax rules drafted by their own big business campaign contributors; having already closed all administrative meetings in which the people’s court business was conducted (since re-opened after Justice Protasiewicz’s investiture); having already created special courts for business that compromise judicial independence and equal treatment for all, the court majority once again anointed Troupis, now an alleged unindicted co-conspirator, to serve as an ethics beacon for the hundreds of state court judges acting in good faith as fiduciaries for the good of the people.

Instead of disbarring Troupis for his electoral dirty work and referring him for criminal investigation as they should have, Justices Roggensack, Ziegler, R. Bradley, and Hagedorn welcomed him as one of their own, and rewarded him with a position of undeserved trust that he still holds today.

Predictably, Troupis has denied any wrongdoing in his recent settlement of a lawsuit that further exposed his unscrupulous election meddling on Trump’s behalf. But so what? That just means he is not only ethically challenged but too cowardly to admit wrongdoing even when he’s caught red handed. Craven self-interest is another reason Troupis shouldn’t be advising judges on how to behave under the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Why our current Supreme Court majority hasn’t booted Troupis from the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee since Justice Protasiewicz’s swearing-in is beyond me. In light of his sordid history, how does Troupis’s membership on the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee even arguably advance its mission, let alone the public’s respect for our courts? Why would anyone care what Troupis thinks about judicial ethics, except perhaps those who don’t care about judicial ethics at all?

By Richard G. Niess, Dane County Circuit Court Judge (retired).

Wisconsin’s very own Rudy Giuliani should not oversee judicial ethics was originally published by Wisconsin Examiner.

One thought on “Op Ed: Wisconsin’s Very Own Rudy Giuliani Should Not Oversee Judicial Ethics”

  1. TosaGramps1315 says:

    The fact that the four right-wing State Supreme Court justices welcomed Troupis into their own coven tells you all you need to know about them. The words Republican, ethics, rules, laws and democracy should never be used in the same sentence when describing this group.

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