During his first debate with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick used an unusual strategy. Responding to a listing of cases where the court of appeals determined that he overstepped his authority and ignored statutes, he responded saying that he was just too darn busy to worry about using “magic words” and that is why he was reversed in those cases. When he said that he was too busy, who knew it was because he was chatting it up with some of the most extreme right wingers in the state?
The Lost Albatross blog was the first to report that Jefferson County phone records show that Judge Koschnick used his courthouse desk phone to call the Wisconsin Family Council. This is the same organization that led the charge to enshrine discrimination against gay Wisconsinites into our state constitution. The group is led by the wildly extreme Julaine Appling who just last year was demanding the prosecution of gay couples that got married in San Francisco and then came back home to Wisconsin. She also is well known for her comment that society has been very tolerant to gay couples by “allowing them to live wherever they choose.” Was Koschnick providing his legal analysis on such subjects to this group? Was he seeking the support/advice of the 501(c)(3) group while planning his run for state Supreme Court? Whatever the answers, someone in the media should be asking the questions.
Apparently the Wisconsin Family Council was not the only right wing group that Koschnick was calling from his courthouse phone. The Lost Albatross also reported that he had also placed a phone call and exchanged emails with the local contact for Wisconsin Right to Life. Incidentally, that group just endorsed his candidacy. What were these communications about and was it appropriate to use an official phone and a state email to have them? Isn’t he “too busy” to conduct such communications on the taxpayer’s dime?
Not only did Judge Koschnick say that he was “too busy for magic words” but he has also been very critical about one of his fellow judge’s use of time at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Koschnick attacked one fellow judge in an email complaining that the judge started hearing cases 30 minutes too late. It seems a little disingenuous when we now know that he may have spent more time than that talking to Appling's group. Even if he really is “too busy” we now know that Judge Koschnick is definitely not “too busy” to consult with some of the most extreme elements in Wisconsin.