Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack released a statement Friday, Dec. 25, expressing concern over "recent comments aimed at members" of Wisconsin's high court after two became the target of online anti-Semitic attacks.
"I acknowledge that all members of the public have the constitutional right to speak in criticism of public servants, which certainly includes all justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court," said Roggensack, one of the court's four conservatives. "However, no justice should be threatened or intimidated based on his or her religious beliefs."
Court spokesman Tom Sheehan and other office representatives did not immediately respond to the Wisconsin State Journal's requests for comment on Friday, a public holiday for Christmas.
The statement comes days after President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday to criticize conservative state Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn for rejecting another one of Trump's efforts to overturn election results in Wisconsin. Hagedorn joined the three liberal members of the court saying challenges to the established election rules should have come before the polls closed.
It also comes on the heels of misogynistic and anti-Semitic comments made toward state Supreme Court Justices Jill Karofsky and Rebecca Dallet, two of the court's three liberal members, in the days after they also voted against Trump's attempts to toss out hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters' ballots, according to the Times of Israel.
The newspaper quoted online comments calling Karofsky "hooked-nosed" and a "terrorist" who should "have a massive fatal heart attack on live TV." Another online commenter called Dallet a "traitor" and said "the best case scenario for you is that you actually get a trial. When the people rise up that won't happen."
The Times of Israel also noted The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, referred to the justices as "an elite Jew sitting next to another Jew determining the course of our government."
Reached for comment Friday, Sachin Chheda, a campaign spokesman for both justices, referred to statements he made to the Times of Israel.
"The volume and intensity of the feedback they're getting has hit a new level," Chheda told the newspaper. "It is more vile, it is more racist, it is more gendered, it is more threatening than what we have seen in the past."
Chheda said he had no further comment on Roggensack's statement.
In her statement Roggensack noted "Wisconsin has a long history of protecting the right to freely worship, as well as the right to freely speak."
"As we are about to begin a new year, let us all refocus on coming together where possible and treating those with whom we disagree with the respect that each of us would like to receive," Roggensack said.
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