Empower Wisconsin | April 3, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — While it didn’t get a lot of play in the mainstream media, liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky’s answers to an American Civil Liberties Union questionnaire really show her judicial activist stripes.
And why not? The Dane County judge is right at home with the left-leaning ACLU.
In the lengthy Q&A, Karofsky shows her disdain for judges who say they apply the law as written — specifically, the man she faces in Tuesday’s election, incumbent conservative Justice Daniel Kelly.
Karofsky also attacks the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority for its ruling that dares to diminish the power of bureaucrats to promulgate rules and regulations. And she blasts President Donald Trump for his immigration policies.
Karofsky insists that the courts are “constantly being dragged into” the president’s “attempts to undermine our immigration policy, and local law enforcement is pressured to become deputized to support” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Left-leaning courts filled with bench activists like Karofsky have gladly dragged themselves into the “resistance” movement against the conservative Trump. Those courts and their liberal activist friends bringing the cases have been rebuked by appeals courts — specifically the Supreme Court — that understand the constitution gives the executive branch the ability to manage the government’s immigration affairs.
ICE and CBP have been the targets of liberal activist ire, particularly liberals on the bench. The agencies’ job is to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. That includes bringing into custody illegal immigrants with criminal records. Liberal lawmakers and judges have supported so-called sanctuary cities that limit local cooperation with the federal government immigration enforcement efforts.
In the ACLU piece, Karofsky makes clear that she can’t stand the judicial principles of originalism, the idea of interpreting laws the way they were written not as one dreams them to be. She calls it a “false talking point” put forward by the Federalist Society “and their partisan supporters.” The Federalist Society, of course, is the great bogeyman for liberal activist judges.
“When I hear a judge say ‘apply the law as it is, not as I wish it to be,’ I generally know they are likely to be the worst kind of activist judge, intending to implement a far-right-wing agenda,” Karofsky wrote in the questionnaire. “I am committed to the rule of law, to an independent judiciary, and to applying the Constitution fairly and equitably to today’s world.”
Applying the constitution to “today’s world,” for a lot of gun-rights activists is code for an “evolving” Second Amendment and other protected liberties.
“I think that there are ways that are constitutional that we are able to limit people’s possession of firearms so that we’re able to live in a country where we don’t have to send our kids to school for code-red drills,” Karofsky was quoted as saying earlier this year in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story.
The Dane County judge, who has been accused of going soft on crime and criminals who assault police officers, tells the ACLU that the United States should re-think its stance on the death penalty.
“I believe the (U.S. Supreme) Court must consider in the coming years whether or not capital punishment, when we can be reasonably convinced innocent people have been put to death, is constitutional at all,” Karofsky wrote. “We know the death penalty is applied in racially and economically inequitable ways, is seen by many as morally repugnant, and risks harming the innocent, and it’s time for the Court to address this challenge head on.”