The left is wasting no time solidifying its control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in what the chief justice has condemned as a partisan "coup."
Control of the court changed hands this month with the appointment of Janet Protasiewicz, who won election in April as an unapologetic liberal.
The new majority moved swiftly to weaken the conservative chief justice, Annette Ziegler, and give her powers to a new committee of three justices. The court also fired the state court director, conservative Randy Koschnick.
But the court's conservatives aren't letting the power grab unfold without protest - with Ziegler blasting an "unprecedented coup" in fiery e-mails to her colleagues.
“Again, I will not condone such lawless destruction of the constitution, the judiciary, or the court,” Ziegler wrote.
“This is nothing short of an unprecedented coup. For 40 years, the role of the Chief Justice has been understood and respected. Your short term goals will cause long term, irreparable damage to the judiciary. What a historical disgrace.”
Liberal justice Rebecca Dallet fired back, telling Ziegler, "The attempt to obstruct the proper business of the court and the furtherance of justice comes from you.”
The coup gives Democrats a powerful new lever for pursuing their radical policy agenda in a pivotal swing state that has helped decide the last two presidential elections.
During her campaign, Protasiewicz left no doubts about how she would rule on controversial cases involving abortion and Wisconsin's electoral maps, which she called "rigged."
“‘Rigged’ is indeed an apt description — for this case,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, Ziegler blasted the liberals for "making a mess of the judiciary, the court and the institution for years to come" and ordered the new court director to stop signing orders in her name. She blasted the new committee of justices as a fake "invented committee."
"This must stop. ... I have no confidence in the recent hostile takeover and the chaotic effect it has had on the court, staff, and the overall stable functioning of the courts," she wrote.
Koschnick, the former state court director, has filed ethics complaints against the liberal justices - one of whom he described as "Marxist in a black robe." He suggested in a radio interview that their conduct merits impeachment.
"Impeachment, I think, fits squarely,” he said. “Here you have officers of the court who’ve taken an oath to uphold the constitution blatantly violate the constitution three times in three days, and in my view that’s grounds for impeachment.”