MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Judicial Oversight Commission has thrown out a lawsuit against a liberal-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who accused former President Donald Trump’s lawyer of making racist claims and trying to protect his “king” in a case challenging the battleground state’s 2020 election results.
Lawsuits are confidential under Wisconsin law, but Judge Jill Karofsky released documents to The Associated Press on Saturday that show a retired Maryland attorney filed one against her with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission two years ago. In November 2022, the commission did not discipline her, but warned her to remain neutral and avoid sarcastic remarks from the bench.
Karofsky’s attorney remained defiant, telling the commission in a letter Tuesday that Karofsky was trying to save the U.S. government and accusing the panel of allowing itself to become a political weapon.
“The Judicial Code (sic) requires judges to act impartially toward litigants, but does not require a judge to turn a blind eye to dangerous bad faith conduct by an attorney or litigant,” Karofsky said in an email to the AP, citing a passage from one of her responses. attorney to the commission. “It is beyond reason to read the Code as requiring judges to be mouse-quiet when parties argue for a slow-motion coup.”
Trump filed suit in Wisconsin in December 2020 after a recount confirmed that Democrat Joe Biden had won the state by about 21,000 votes. The filing was one of a number of lawsuits Trump has filed in multiple states in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn the election results and stay in office.
A Wisconsin lawsuit is asking the state Supreme Court to throw out about 171,000 absentee ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The conservative-leaning court ultimately rejected the suit on a 4-3 vote, with Judge Brian Hagedorn casting the deciding vote to uphold Biden’s victory in the battleground state.
Maryland attorney Fletcher Thompson filed a lawsuit against Karofsky in January 2021, accusing her of being hostile toward Trump attorney Jim Troupis. He noted that during oral arguments, Karofsky told Troupis that the lawsuit “reeks of racism” because it sought to throw out absentee ballots in two of Wisconsin’s most diverse counties.
Thompson added that Karofsky later told Troupis he wanted the court to overturn the election results “so your king can stay in power” and said the suggestion the election was marred by fraud was “nothing short of disgraceful”.
Thompson accused Karofsky of being rude and inappropriately launching personal attacks on Troupis. He said her statements revealed political and racial bias. He noted that Trump endorsed Karofsky’s opponent, Daniel Kelly, during their spring 2020 race.
Karofsky attorney Stacie Rosenzweig admonishes the Judiciary Commission in her Feb. 7 letter for allowing partisan actors to “hijack the (judicial) disciplinary system, in an attempt to silence a justice who has rightfully tried to stop the frivolous and dangerous arguments that have undermined our democracy.” “
“We believe the Commission risks setting a dangerous precedent,” Rosenzweig wrote. “By allowing the Commission to be weaponized in this way, the Commission has become a pawn of those determined to undermine an independent judiciary.”