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Hagedorn joins Supreme Court, as local Wisconsin judges begin new terms

Brad Williams

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Brian Hagedorn is beginning a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Conservatives are gaining a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Thursday, taking a chair that had been held by liberal justice Shirley Abrahamson for more than 40 years.

And the arrival of Brian Hagedorn will change basically nothing as far as how the court leans in decisions, according to political scientist Joe Heim at UW-La Crosse.

Before Hagedorn’s election back in April, there was talk that liberals could gain control of the court as soon as next year, if Justice Dan Kelly were to be defeated.

But Heim says “That’s no longer the case with Hagedorn winning, so it’s not really gonna change anything. It’s gonna be a conservative majority for at least 4 to 5 more years.”

Kelly is now considered a strong favorite to keep his seat next April.

This is also the first day of new terms for four of La Crosse County’s five circuit judges.

Those four judges–Ramona Gonzalez, Scott Horne, Elliott Levine, and Todd Bjerke–were re-elected to 6-year terms this spring without opposition.

WIZM News is told that at least two of the judges were already sworn in for their new terms earlier this week.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.