Brian Hagedorn

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Brian Hagedorn
Associate Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court
Assumed office
August 1, 2019
Preceded byShirley Abrahamson
Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II
In office
August 1, 2015 – August 1, 2019
Appointed byScott Walker
Preceded byRichard S. Brown
Succeeded byvacant
Personal details
EducationTrinity International University (B.A.)
Northwestern University (J.D.)

Brian Hagedorn is a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, beginning August 1, 2019. Formerly, he was a judge on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, serving in the court's Waukesha-based District II. In the April 2, 2019 supreme court election , Hagedorn led Lisa Neubauer by 5,962 votes out of 1.2 million cast, a margin of about 0.5%, based on unofficial results with all precincts reporting. After a canvas increased his lead to ~6,100 votes, Neubauer conceded, confirming him as the winner.

Early life and education[edit]

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, Hagedorn graduated from Trinity International University in 2000 and was employed by Hewitt Associates before receiving his law degree from Northwestern University in 2006.[1] At Northwestern, Hagedorn was president of the school's Federalist Society chapter.[2]


Hagedorn was an attorney at the Milwaukee firm Foley and Lardner until 2009, when he was appointed as a law clerk to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.[1]

In 2010, Hagedorn was employed as an assistant attorney general in the Wisconsin Department of Justice.[1][3]

In December 2010, Hagedorn was appointed by Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker as his chief legal counsel, an office he occupied through July 2015. As chief legal counsel, Hagedorn was a drafter of Walker's controversial Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill of 2011.[1]

In 2014, he served as appointing authority for defense counsel hired to represent state prosecutors sued by targets of a John Doe probe into Walker's staff.[4]

On July 30, 2015, Walker appointed Hagedorn to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to be chambered in the Waukesha-based District II. Hagedorn took office on August 1, 2015 and replaced Richard S. Brown, who served on the court from 1978 to 2015 and as chief judge from 2007.[2]

In 2016, Hagedorn founded Protestant K-6 school Augustine Academy in Merton, Wisconsin.[5]

Views on LGBT rights[edit]

In the mid-2000s, while Hagedorn was in law school, he argued that the Supreme Court ruling that found that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional could lead to legalized bestiality (citing the dissent of Justice Antonin Scalia). In an October 2005 blog post that criticized the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Lawrence v. Texas, he stated that "..render[ing] laws prohibiting bestiality unconstitutional [because] the idea of homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable".[6] He also argued that gay pride month created "a hostile work environment for Christians."[6]

Hagedorn was paid more than $3,000 to give speeches between 2015 and 2017 to a Christian legal advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, which has supported criminalizing sodomy and advocated for sterilizing transgender people.[7][8][9]

Augustine Academy, the school Hagedorn founded, has a code of conduct that bars teachers, parents and students from "participating in immoral sexual activity", which is defined as any form of touching or nudity for the purpose of evoking sexual arousal apart from the context of marriage between one man and one woman.[5] Teachers who violate the policy can be dismissed and students can be expelled for their or their parents' actions.[5] The school's "Statement of Faith" is also against transgender individuals, stating "Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women," and "..., men and women are not simply interchangeable, nor is gender subject to one's personal preferences."[5] Following newspaper reports about these policies in February 2019, the Wisconsin Realtors Association withdrew its support for Hagedorn and asked Hagedorn to return an $18,000 donation it had made to him in January 2019.[6]

Wisconsin Supreme Court[edit]

2019 election[edit]

Under state law, Neubauer could have requested a recount as long as the difference in votes in the final tally was less than 1%,[10] but Neubauer would have had to fund the recount herself because the difference was greater than 0.25%, which is the margin that triggers a taxpayer-funded recount.[11][12] Instead, on April 10th, Neubauer conceded to Hagedorn.[13]

Hagedorn was inaugurated on August 1, 2019, succeeding Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who had served on the court since 1976.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d "Brian Hagedorn BA '00" (PDF). Trinity Town. Trinity International University. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Stein, Jason (July 31, 2015). "Scott Walker appoints chief legal counsel to appeals court". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. ^ "UPDATE: Scott Walker Announces Senior-Level Staff". The Associated Press. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  4. ^ Murphy, Bruce (February 27, 2014). "Walker's Sweet Revenge Against John Doe Prosecutors". Urban Milwaukee. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Beck, Molly (2019-02-14). "Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate founded school that allows ban on teachers, students and parents in gay relationships". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  6. ^ a b c Marley, Patrick (2019-02-21). "Realtors revoke endorsement of Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn over school's policy on gay students". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  7. ^ "Court candidate Brian Hagedorn received $3,000 from anti-LGBT group for speeches". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  8. ^ "Requiring Operation to Correct Sex on Birth Certificate Violates Rights". International Justice Resource Center. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  9. ^ "Alliance Defending Freedom Through The Years". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  10. ^ "Preliminary Wisconsin State Supreme Court Election Results". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  11. ^ "UPDATED: Neubauer keeping options open in Supreme Court race". WSAU. 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  12. ^ Marley, Patrick; Beck, Molly (2019-04-03). "Brian Hagedorn declares victory in tight Wisconsin Supreme Court race that has both campaigns bracing for a recount". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  13. ^ Vetterkind, Riley (2019-04-11). "Lisa Neubauer concedes to Brian Hagedorn in Wisconsin Supreme Court race". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  14. ^ Mauk, Alyssa (2019-04-10). "Neubauer concedes to Hagedorn in Wisconsin Supreme Court race". The Journal Times. Retrieved 2019-04-10.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard S. Brown
Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II
Preceded by
Shirley Abrahamson
Associate Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court