One commenter said Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky was “hooked-nosed” and posted a corresponding anti- Semitic caricature of her. Another called her a “terrorist” and said she should “have a massive fatal heart attack on live TV.”
Her colleague Rebecca Dallet was called a “traitor” by a Facebook commenter, who also warned the justice that “the best case scenario for you is that you actually get a trial. When the people rise up that won’t happen.”
Those are examples of the torrent of misogynistic and anti-Semitic messages that Karofsky and Dallet have received online in the days after they denounced – and then voted to reject – an attempt by President Donald Trump’s lawyers to invalidate hundreds of thousands of votes in their state. The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, published an article about the two judges on Sunday, Dec. 13, calling them “an elite Jew sitting next to another Jew determining the course of our government.”
Karofsky was a target of Trump’s Twitter ire earlier this year as well, when he baselessly claimed her election to the court was fraudulent.
A campaign consultant for the justices who shared those posts and others with the JTA news service said they have received dozens of messages with obscene language in the days since the case was argued and decided in court. The court rejected the lawsuit in a 4-3 decision Dec. 14 – the same day that the Electoral College affirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
Karofsky and Dallet declined comment, but the campaign consultant, Sachin Chheda, said both are concerned for their safety and have been in touch with law enforcement.
“The volume and intensity of the feedback they’re getting has hit a new level,” Chheda said. “It is more vile, it is more racist, it is more gendered, it is more threatening than what we have seen in the past.”
Both justices, who are seen as part of the court’s liberal minority, had lambasted the arguments made in court by Trump’s lawyer, Jim Troupis. The suit had asked the court to throw out 221,000 early and absentee votes in Dane and Milwaukee counties, which are Democratic strongholds with large nonwhite populations.
Karofsky told Troupis that the lawsuit was “un-American” and “smacks of racism.”
“What you want is for us to overturn this election so that your king can stay in power,” Karofsky said, according to The Associated Press. “I do not know how you can come before this court and possibly ask for a remedy that is unheard of in U.S. history.”
Dallet asked why the suit focused on the “most non-white, urban” parts of the state, according to the publication Law and Crime.
Wisconsin has some 30,000 Jews in a state population of 6 million. The former chief justice of its state Supreme Court was Shirley Abrahamson, who is Jewish, and Dallet was elected to the court in 2018.
In April, when Karofsky soundly defeated a Republican incumbent in an election to the court, Trump tweeted in all caps that her victory was “RAMPANT WITH FRAUD.” Republicans also had sought to tighten voting requirements in that vote.
Karofsky’s win was seen as a possible harbinger of the state swinging Democratic in November – a prediction that was borne out. In August, Karofsky was sworn into office during an ultramarathon – a 100-mile run – by Dallet, who is also a runner. The court’s justices serve 10-year terms.