Wisconsin Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn announced Thursday that he is a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He will be running for the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson in 2019.

“I pledge to you that I will apply the law fairly to everyone. I will interpret statutes and the constitution as they were written to be understood. And I will always remember that I am a servant of the law and the people,” Hagedorn said in a statement on Thursday. “As your justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I will stand up for the constitution.”

Hagedorn is a former law clerk for Justice Michael Gableman, a former Assistant Attorney General and former Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Scott Walker. He was appointed by Walker in 2015 to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II in Waukesha County. He was elected to a full six-year term in the April 2017 election.

Hagedorn is widely expected to be the conservative choice in this race. So far, the only other candidate in the race is Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer, who is considered to be a liberal.

Along with the announcement of his candidacy, Hagedorn announced he has been endorsed by Supreme Court Justices Rebecca Bradley and Dan Kelly, as well as former Justice Michael Gableman.

In his announcement, Hagedorn returned to the theme of “rule of law” that became so contentious in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race earlier this year.

“Defending the rule of law means that personal political values have no place on the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” Hagedorn said.  “A judge’s job is to say what the law is, not what the judge thinks the law should be.  And it doesn’t matter which political party writes the laws. ”

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet, in her campaign earlier this year, had mocked the notion of “rule of law” limiting a judge’s decision-making ability. Judge Michael Screnock attempted to make that an issue in the campaign without success.

Hagedorn committed himself to interpreting the state constitution as it is written rather than deciding what is the law based upon his own opinion of the issue.

“We do not get to fashion a constitution based on the personal values of judges,” Hagedorn said. “Rights like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms are written in our constitution.  They cannot be disregarded as unfashionable by justices who think them less valuable today.”

Hagedorn’s announcement was greeted warmly by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) on Thursday. Traditionally, WMC has sided with the conservative candidates running for the Supreme Court.

“Judge Hagedorn is an ardent supporter of the rule of law, which is critical for anyone who wants to serve on our state’s highest court,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “He has shown throughout his career that he will put our state’s constitution first, interpret law as it is written by the legislature and won’t serve as a political activist on the bench. Judge Hagedorn’s impartial rule-of-law philosophy is a welcome addition to this important race.”


Click here to listen to a RightWisconsin Conversations interview with Brian Hagedorn.
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