After a campaign where he railed against partisan influence on the courts, conservative-backed Supreme Court Justice-elect Brian Hagedorn is set to speak at the Wisconsin Republican Party's annual convention on Saturday.
While Hagedorn's affiliation with the Republican Party is well known, the appearance of a Supreme Court justice or justice-elect at a political party convention is relatively rare.
RPW spokesman Charles Nichols said Hagedorn, who is set to speak alongside prominent members of the Wisconsin GOP such as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, plans to thank volunteers for assisting his election bid but allegedly won't make overtly political remarks.
Hagedorn in April defeated the liberal-backed Appeals Court chief judge Lisa Neubauer by a slim margin for a 10-year term on the court.
Nichols said he doesn't recall a Supreme Court justice or justice-elect speaking at a Republican Party convention in recent years, but he pointed to then Supreme Court candidates Rebecca Dallet and Tim Burns, supported by liberals, speaking at the Democratic Party convention in 2017.
A spokesman for Hagedorn declined a request seeking comment, and a spokesman for Chief Justice Patience Roggensack said she "does not comment on the conduct of her colleagues."
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A spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin said the party has never had a sitting justice speak at one of their conventions, although candidates, including Burns and Dallet, have spoken.
Hagedorn has long been close to the Republican Party. His father, Sam, served as the chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party.
Hagedorn in past blog writings unearthed during the campaign made clear his affiliation with the GOP, although in previous interviews with the Wisconsin State Journal he said said he is opposed to politicization of the judicial system.
"I think there’s a right way to do law and a wrong way to do law, and I don’t want to see our court become politicized," Hagedorn told the State Journal in March.
Republicans at their Oshkosh convention this weekend are set for self-reflection after losing several high-profile statewide elections in 2018, including the governor's office.
Hagedorn will replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson August 1.