John Nichols is reporting that many prominent people in Jefferson County are getting behind Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson rather than their own Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick. That group of people includes prominent police chiefs, lawyers, a former Republican legislator and even two of the three other judges that serve with Koschnick. The full list that was released yesterday totals 65 prominent residents of Jefferson County. It seems pretty clear that those who know Koschnick the best, are backing the Chief.
Included with the release, the retiring 18 year veteran on the Jefferson bench, Judge John Ullsvik, made several very clear points as to why he was endorsing Abrahamson over Koschnick. His comments were originally sent to the local papers in Jefferson County and stated some of the following reasons for his endorsement:
- The Chief Justice is "recognized for her impartiality, intellect, knowledge of the law, leadership, courage and hard work."
- Koschnick's "primary concern has been how fast cases can be finished" but he has a "below-average affirmation rate (74%) when his decisions are appealed."
- In his 10 years as a judge, "he has rarely written a decision, which is an important skill for a Supreme Court Justice."
- He also suggests that Koschnick is lacking in "collegiality and humility" which are "also important for such a position."
It should really not be a huge surprise that a majority of Koschnick's fellow Jefferson County judges are not backing him. It was only a short time ago that the Capital Times reported on all of the internal strife that happened in the Jefferson County courthouse on Koschnick's watch. The real surprise is that these Jefferson County judges are joined with many other prominent lawyers, law enforcement officials and others.
In a desperate attempt to spin his way out of this troubling development, the Koschnick Campaign put out a late and wandering press release yesterday. While listing many of his absurd talking points, which are totally unrelated to this issue, Koschnick tries to explain away these local endorsements claiming that these people are Jefferson County Democrats. Upon even just a partial examination, this argument doesn't hold water. First and foremost, one of the most prominent people on the list is former Republican legislator. Furthermore, Jefferson County Judges Ullsvik and Erwin hold nonpartisan offices, don't appear to be affiliated with partisan politics and don't appear to have given any political contributions to anyone of any party (check WDC database). Even more interesting is the fact that at least one of the people on the list is a local lawyer that originally supported Koschnick when he first ran for Judge in 1999. Apparently this lawyer and the other Jefferson County folks know Randy Koschnick very well and they also know that he does not belong on the high court.