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Fired state court director files ethics complaints over replacement

Source: Jorge Reyna | Civic Media

Fired state court director files ethics complaints over replacement

Randy Koschnick filed the complaint against the four liberal justices on the Supreme Court and his replacement, saying that she should not be allowed to serve until her term as a judge ends in 2025.

August 16, 2023 2:09 PM CDT

By: Nate Wegehaupt

MADISON, Wis. (Civic Media) – Recently fired state court director Randy Koschnick has filed multiple ethics complaints against the four liberal state Supreme Court justices who removed him earlier this month.

Koschnick also filed an ethics complaint against the judge selected as his interim replacement, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski. Koschnick was fired from the position one day after liberal justice Janet Protasiewicz took office, giving the court a liberal majority for the first time in over a decade. 

The position of state court director manages the state’s court system – hiring staff, developing budgets, and working as a legislative liaison. The director is hired, and fired, by the state Supreme Court, under the direction of the chief justice.

Koschnick, who was appointed to the role in 2017 by the then-conservative majority court, alleges that Skwierawski cannot serve as the interim director until the end of her term in 2025. The state constitution bars sitting justices from holding non-judicial public office.

But Madison lawyer Lester Pines and Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rick Neiss told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the complaint was meritless. They said that the position of court director is a judicial office, as it is within the judicial system and is overseen by the state Supreme Court.  

Koschnick told the Journal Sentinel that, while the new liberal majority had the legal authority to fire him, they went about it in the wrong way.

The complaints were filed with the state’s judicial commission. If they find the complaints have merit, they would then be taken up by the state Supreme Court, whose liberal majority fired him to begin with. Koschnick is asking that if the commission finds merit, that the four liberal justices be disqualified from considering the matter.

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