On Wednesday, August 1, Wisconsin experienced an earthquake. Did you feel it? No Richter scale picked up its magnitude, but the impact was felt all across the state, from large cities to small towns. While no buildings were toppled, in fact no property damage was done, the destruction began almost immediately with more to come. It’s true that no lives were lost at the time, but the aftershock will no doubt result in loss of human life as well.
The devastating earthquake happened just as Justice-elect Janet Protaciewicz was sworn in as the newest member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. At that moment, the tectonic plates in our state shifted, as the ideological balance of our high court suddenly went from a slim 4-3 conservative majority to a slim but very significant 4-3 liberal majority.
The new liberal majority lost no time in flexing its muscle and causing the first aftershock. The very day of this human-made disaster, the liberal majority voted to fire the Director of State Courts, Randy Koshnick, who had served with distinction for six years in this important, non-judicial position.
Shortly after Koschnick was fired, the court hired a new interim Director of State Courts. Senate Majority Leader Republican Devin LeMahieu objected, saying that this individual didn’t meet the legal requirements to be appointed to this job. But that didn’t deter the liberal juggernaut in the least.
According to the current Chief Justice, Annette Ziegler, one of the conservatives on the court, the court continued its destructive path by convening a meeting in a way that if not illegal is at least in violation of the court’s self-determined policies and procedures. Some news reports indicated the liberal justices responded pretty much by saying, “too bad. We’re in charge now, and we’ll do what we want, when we want, in the way we want.” Talk about an aftershock!
Legal pipelines were immediately filling up when the ground in Wisconsin shifted on August 1. By Monday, August 7, two lawsuits had already been filed directly with the state Supreme Court, challenging the state legislative district maps that the Wisconsin Supreme Court under a conservative majority had approved in late 2021.
During the campaign in this spring’s election, then Judge Protaciewicz made it very clear what she thinks of the maps in question that gave us the Assembly and Senate districts under which the 2022 midterm elections were conducted. Protaciewicz said they were “unfair” and “rigged.” Used to be that such clear proclamations on an issue sure to come before the court would have been assiduously avoided by a judicial candidate. But the earth in Wisconsin had already begun shifting well before August 1; unfortunately, too many people ignored the signs. Based on what we’ve already seen, I’ll predict the court quickly accepts at least one of the two cases, if not both, and sets a date in the near future for oral arguments.
We care about these maps because they have a great deal to do with who controls our state assembly and state senate. Right now, both houses have solid conservative majorities. But that could change in January 2025, if the maps are redrawn in a way that favors liberals. Imagine Wisconsin with Governor Evers and the liberal majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Talk about an aftershock!
Democrat Attorney General Josh Kaul wasn’t about to be left out of this opportunity to wreak further havoc as a result of the August 1 quake. Last week, he filed a motion in with the Dane County judge who is handling the case challenging our state’s pre-Roe abortion ban, asking that she expedite her decision. Now, why would he do that with a case that has been lollygagging in the system since late June of 2022? Because he now wants this case before the State supreme court sooner rather than later, knowing that Protaciewicz made it very clear in her campaign that she is pro-abortion. And this is how the loss of life happens as a result of Wisconsin’s August 1 ideological earthquake.
I wish I could tell you no more aftershocks will happen, but that would be dishonest. The rumblings have been happening for some time related to Act 10, school choice, executive authority, religious freedom and more.
Elections have consequences. Sometimes they set the stage for cataclysmic, ideological earthquakes that destroy foundations and result in widespread damage that includes the loss of precious human lives. Maybe now people will actually believe it when we talk about election consequences. We can only hope.