Home Part of States Newsroom
Wisconsin Judicial Commission dismisses complaint against Justice Jill Karofsky


Wisconsin Judicial Commission dismisses complaint against Justice Jill Karofsky

Feb 13, 2023 | 3:21 pm ET
By Henry Redman
Wisconsin Judicial Commission dismisses complaint against Justice Jill Karofsky
Judge Jill Karofsky (Photo: Jill for Justice)

A judicial oversight panel dismissed a complaint filed in 2021 against liberal-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky over comments she made during oral arguments in former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

In November, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission dismissed the complaint against her “with an expression of concern” over a statement she made to Trump lawyer Jim Troupis about his attempt to change the election results “so that your king can stay in power.” Troupis was asking the court to throw out hundreds of thousands of votes cast in the largely Democratic Dane and Milwaukee counties. 

“And for you to come forward today and start just using, throwing out allegations of fraud with zero evidence whatsoever. What — What is America? It is not self-government. I’m sorry, it is self-governance. It is not governance from a king. And what you want, is you want us to overturn this election so that your king can stay in power. And that is so un-American,” Karofsky said during the hearing. 

The nine-member commission dismissed the complaint, but said Karofsky should be more careful about appearing to have chosen a side in legal disputes. 

“Regardless of the nature of the case being addressed by the court, a judicial official should take special care and remain mindful of their role in proceedings as a neutral and detached magistrate, as opposed to an advocate, and avoid sarcasm when making statements from the bench, given their obligations under (the state code of judicial conduct),” the commission said. 

The court, in a 4-3 ruling, sided against Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. Karosky was joined by the court’s two other liberals and conservative-leaning Justice Brian Hagedorn. 

The complaint was filed in January 2021 by retired Maryland attorney Fletcher Thompson against Karofsky and Justice Rebecca Dallet. The Judicial Commission did not investigate Dallet over the complaint. 

Thompson’s complaint alleged that the two justices exhibited racial and political biases and failed to show courtesy to Trump and Troupis during the arguments. 

Karofsky has said that the complaint was an attempt to silence people who “stand up for democracy.” She added that she’s received physical threats and anti-semitic harassment since making the decision in the Trump case. 

“I believe both this complaint and the threats to me personally are part of a concerted campaign to intimidate those who are willing to do their jobs and stand up for democracy and justice,” she said in a statement.