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Partisan ‘Janet Court’ Takes 1st Shot Against Conservatives With Planned Firing of Respected State Courts Director


“This is highly unusual. This is a wrecking ball” – Director of State Courts Randy Koschnick

The extremely left-wing and partisan “Janet Protasiewicz court” is about to take its first shot against conservatives in Wisconsin with the planned unprecedented firing of Director of State Courts Randy Koschnick, while he is out of state and without conservative justices being informed, Wisconsin Right Now has learned.

Although Koschnick has been an innovative, non-partisan director who is respected by judges on both sides of the aisle and who has avoided making political statements in the post, he once ran as a conservative for state Supreme Court against liberal icon Shirley Abrahamson, and he was appointed to the State Courts Director post by the state Supreme Court in 2017. Thus, his planned termination smacks of the new “Janet court’s” first attempt to undo the old conservative majority’s actions.

We are calling the new liberal majority the “Janet court” because Protasiewicz’s election flipped control to the left.

In an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Right Now, Koschnick said that left-wing Justice Jill Karofsky called him on July 31, 20232, and told him that “tomorrow the court is going to vote to terminate me.”

He said that new left-wing Justice Janet Protasiewicz, whose election cemented the liberal majority on the court, will be part of that majority. Koschnick said that he was told the court has enough votes to fire him, but Karofsky would not give him a reason and the vote is happening without an agenda, without a regularly scheduled session, and while he is out of state.

Koschnick said that conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley did not know about his planned firing until he called her Monday. He said he does not believe conservative Justice Annette Ziegler was told by the new liberal majority either. He is not sure where sometime-conservative justice Brian Hagedorn stands on the matter.

“Rebecca Bradley was not aware of any vote until I called her and no conference is scheduled until September,” he said.

“I told her (Karofsky) that there is no agenda before September, no meeting scheduled. I said I’ve don’t nothing wrong. I’ve gotten awards from the state bar for being an innovator. I’ve never had a complaint,” Koschnick told WRN. “She said we have vote to terminate me tomorrow. This is highly unusual. This is a wrecking ball.”

Koschnick, the former chief Judge of Jefferson, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties, who was appointed to be director of state courts by the state Supreme Court in 2017, said the action was “so unprecedented,” repeating that there is “no meeting, conference, public hearing, agenda. I asked for a reason because I am highly competent, and she did not deny that.”

Koschnick said Karofsky did not provide a reason.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I can’t think of any reason.”

Asked if he thinks it’s political because he ran as a conservative for state Supreme Court once, Koschnick said, “it has that appearance.” He reiterated, “I’ve never made any political statements or actions” in that position. “I can’t speculate on motive, but it’s highly unusual.”

He said that, since he serves at the pleasure of the state Supreme Court, normally he would expect all members of the court to be consulted, but the conservatives weren’t even told.

Koschnick told “them I was out of state at a conference for state court administrators until Thursday. No response.”

He said that “normally the chief justice sets the agenda, and they have a scheduled conference and discuss it, and the entire court votes, either closed or open, with an agenda.”

He said the court is not even in session but has a regularly scheduled conference set for September to discuss administrative matters.

Koschnick was a lawyer for 14 years, and then a circuit judge in Jefferson County for 18 years. He said he received the innovation for keeping the courts open and running during COVID.

Asked for key accomplishments, he said that he put together a chief justices mental health summit “to bring stakeholders around the state together to reach mental health needs before people end up in jail.” He “largely resolved the state court reporter” shortage with extensive outreach and training. He said that “judges across the political spectrum all tell me I’ve done a good job. I’ve never been accused of anything; never made political statements.”

Before she was elected, Protasiewicz took the unprecdented action of telling voters that she was left-wing on a series of partisan issues, from declaring Act 10 unconstitutional to declares that she supports abortion.

Jim Piwowarczyk
Jim Piwowarczyk is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Wisconsin Right Now. Married with 3 kids, a chocolate lab, and a german shepherd. Jim served as a police officer in Wisconsin for more than 20 years. His career started as a police officer in Milwaukee County in 1994 as a patrol officer, until he was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2003 where he worked until he left in 2009 to pursue business aspirations. Jim Piwowarczyk was a field training officer, evidence technician & hostage negotiator and conducted many drug investigations. Jim continued to work part-time for an area police department. Jim is avid real estate investor, and small business owner & developer. Jim has coached youth football and basketball. Jim is also an avid fisherman and hunter.

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