Does the Kenosha Unified School District have to get things right when they administer elections for the local school board? Not so long as they “do their best,” says Kenosha Judge Chad Kerkman (D).
The activist Judge held a 20 minute hearing last Thursday, September 21, 2023 in regards to a suit filed by conservative school board member Eric Meadows. Meadows filed suit against the Kenosha Unified school district in April, shortly after the district, lead by Superintendent Jeff Weiss (D) and Board President Yolanda Santos (D), stripped Meadows of one year of his term due to a “clerical error.” At the end of the short hearing, Kerkman provided no explanation for his decisions and glossed over the highly intricate matters of law. He simply ruled, dismissing Meadows’ suit. It is entirely possible that Kerkman didn’t read the long legal briefs in this case, and that is why he didn’t give a legal explanation. This isn’t uncommon for the activist liberal judge.
For example, on March 22, 2023, during a Child in Need of Protection and Services (CHIPS), Kerkman sided with DCFS, which he usually does. However, the attorney for the mother suspected that Kerkman didn’t read all of the legal briefs, so he did what most attorneys would not – he asked the Judge:
ATTORNEY: Your Honor … did you review
KERKMAN: I have made my decision.
ATTORNEY: So you didn’t review the request?
KERKMAN: I have made my decision.
ATTORNEY: Okay. I understand that you’ve
made your decision. I asked you a question. Are you
willing to answer it?
KERKMAN: And I’m not answering it. I said I have
made a decision.
KERKMAN: You don’t get to ask that question.
At the end of this hearing, Kerkman, who isn’t used to being questioned, fined the attorney $100 (which he does often) and found the lawyer in contempt. The lawyer appealed. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that while Judges can be disrespectful to lawyers, the opposite is not true, saying:
“[The lawyer] was exhibiting both ‘[m]isconduct in the presence of the court … which impair[ed] the respect due the court’ and ‘resistance … of the authority’ “
Kerkman doesn’t hide his partisan political views. He is constantly posting pro-LGBT materials on Facebook, topless beach photos and Opera photos with T. Clair Binger, a good “friend.”
Kerkman has been reversed several times by the court of appeals and federal courts. This is something that higher court rarely do.
Meadows will now find himself running for re-election (if he chooses) one year earlier than planned. Asked if he will appeal, Meadows says he won’t appeal because the likelihood of getting a ruling in time is low.
Meadows released the following statement in response to Kerkman’s ruling:
“The first amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to seek redress of grievances. The framers understood that a person’s natural, God-given right was to seek justice when they have been wronged. This includes times when the government itself is in the wrong.
I was wronged by Kenosha Unified School District. The thousands of voters who voted for me were wronged by Kenosha Unified School District. I ran for and won a three-year term in the spring of 2022. Nine months into my term, a clerical error was discovered in the election notice. One of the three seats should have been for a one year term, not a three-year term. After consulting their attorneys, the KUSD administration determined that I was the one that would have to be vacated from my seat after only one year. Instead of bringing this situation up in a public meeting and voting on it, as is required by KUSD board policy, it was decided in closed-session without a vote. ‘No discussions of any matter shall be held and no action taken of any kind, formal or informal, by the School Board while in executive session except as specifically authorized by law.‘ Ousting a fellow member of the board is not an item authorized by law.
Naturally, I sought my own legal counsel in this matter to find a resolution that didn’t simply try to sweep their mistake under the rug, and that didn’t ignore the will of the voters of Kenosha who voted for me for a three-year term.
KUSD is guilty and admitted to multiple mistakes, from errors on election notices, to unlawfully petitioning for a judge substitution when they didn’t like the judge assigned, to only holding an election for one seat this past spring. We have learned that attorneys hired by the district can make decisions and that the board, the actual governing body of the district, just follows along. What are the consequences for their mistakes in election law? What are their consequences for not following their own board policy? How does one hold a government entity accountable for their sloppy administration?
The answer we learned in my case is that there is nothing you can do. You can seek redress, but if you do, you’ll suffer all the consequences while the government entity doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist.
How is this justice?“