On Thursday, May 30, 2024, ABC News reported that Judge Jacob Frost, who is presiding over a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s ban on public sector unions, appears to have signed a recall petition against then-Governor Scott Walker in 2011.

According to property records, Judge Frost’s name and signature appeared on the recall petition, matching an address where he lived at the time in 2011. The conservative WISN radio host Dan O’Donnell first uncovered the signature late on Tuesday.

Judge Frost was appointed to Dane County Circuit Court in 2020 by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. At the time of the 2011 recall petition against Governor Walker, Frost had recently graduated from law school in 2010 and was working as a private practice attorney.

The lawsuit Judge Frost is presiding over challenges Act 10, the 2011 Wisconsin law passed by Republicans that effectively eliminated nearly all collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. Unions argue the law is unconstitutional as it exempts certain public safety unions like firefighters but applies to most other government workers.

Records show that in addition to Judge Frost, over two dozen other Wisconsin judges signed the 2011 recall petition against Governor Walker. However, judges maintain their actions were constitutionally protected and did not violate judicial conduct rules. The state code of conduct prohibits judicial participation in political activities but does not directly address recall petitions.

In a similar past case, then-Judge David Flanagan heard a challenge to a Walker-backed voter ID law despite signing the recall petition himself. The Wisconsin GOP had filed a complaint arguing Flanagan should have disclosed his support for the recall beforehand.

Judge Frost did not comment on the uncovered signature as of Thursday. Democratic Governor Evers, who also signed the 2011 petition, said Frost should not have to recuse himself, arguing mandatory recusal would undermine judicial independence. However, the case is expected to eventually reach the state Supreme Court, where three justices including the new majority-holder previously expressed political views on Act 10.



Source: ABC News