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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Wisconsin’s constitution says: “The chief justice of the Supreme Court shall be the administrative head of the judicial system and shall exercise this administrative authority,” but adds “pursuant to procedures adopted by the Supreme Court.”

The chief justice’s role as court administrator was challenged when the court’s liberal majority voted Aug. 4, 2023, to create an administrative committee comprising the chief justice and two members selected by the majority.

Liberals gained a 4-3 majority three days earlier with the swearing in of Janet Protasiewicz who was elected in April.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, a conservative, called the majority “rogue.” She said their vote was “illegitimate” and “gut(ted)” the chief justice’s authority over internal court procedures and rules.

Justice Rebecca Dallet said the majority properly scheduled the meeting where the vote was taken after Ziegler declined requests to schedule a meeting. Dallet said the change makes procedural decision-making more inclusive.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Milwaukee Press Club (21:20) Newsmaker Luncheon with former Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin State Legislature Wisconsin Constitution

AP News New liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court majority moves to weaken conservative chief justice

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Journal Sentinel: Rancor flares on the Wisconsin Supreme Court as its new liberal majority moves to blunt the chief justice’s power

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.