For Immediate Release
February 11, 2019
Contact: Courtney Beyer, email@example.com
MADISON — In interview excerpts published by Wisconsin State Journal, legal experts — including former Supreme Court Justice and Marquette University Law School professor Janine Geske, have expressed concerns over Supreme Court candidate and former Scott Walker attorney Brian Hagedorn’s blatant partisanship and extreme agenda.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier this month that Hagedorn once authored blog posts that expressed radical far-right beliefs, one post even likening homosexuality to bestiality. Hagedorn has since refused to commit to recusing himself in cases where he has a clear personal bias, and has not offered an apology for any of the hateful comments he has made.
Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and Marquette University law professor, said Hagedorn’s blog post writings are a rarity in court races.
“He’s moving and blending his own personal views with decision-making in court cases,” Geske said. “That’s a line that most judicial candidates try not to cross.”
Whichever candidate wins election this April, Geske suggested that he or she should consider recusal from cases involving deeply held personal beliefs.
University of Pittsburgh political science professor Chris Bonneau, who studies judicial politics, said the contents of a personal blog should be treated seriously.
“Voters should be pleased that they have information about this guy,” Bonneau said. “Most of the time we have views because we think we’re right. These were his beliefs. If he hasn’t disavowed them, then that’s relevant information for the voters.”
Geske has concerns the perception alone of a candidate playing political favorites is a danger for the legitimacy of the courts.
“Perception is reality,” she said. “If people do not have faith in the court and its independence, the court loses the respect that it needs for its legitimacy.”