Too many recent elections for Wisconsin Supreme Court have been harmful circuses, marked by misleading ads, huge spending by outside groups and utterly partisan approaches to supposedly nonpartisan races.
Wisconsin News and Press Releases
A State Bar of Wisconsin committee is suggesting that justices be limited to a single 16 year term, instead of their current 10 year terms with the possibility of reelection. Supporters believe judges would be more independent if they do not have to worry about raising campaign cash for future elections.
Wisconsin would seek to manage the influence of campaign cash on judges in a way no other state does, if political leaders and the public approve a constitutional amendment proposed by a special task force of attorneys.
The Supreme Court’s recent rulings on same-sex marriage have no effect on a right-wing Christian group’s lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry law, according to legal experts.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has reached a decision in the case of a Weston couple that is contesting their convictions in the 2008 faith-healing death of their 11-year-old daughter.
A special task force of attorneys recommends limiting Wisconsin Supreme Court justices to a single 16-year term, a move it says could help restore public confidence in a court beset by increasingly confrontational political campaigns.
Wisconsin attorneys would be able to nullify court rulings that block state laws under a Republican-backed bill approved Thursday by the state Assembly.
The state’s budget writing committee on Wednesday voted to boost state court funding by $5.2 million, but court officials say that leaves the court system still $11.8 million in the hole, which could, among other things, result in delayed cases, reduced online services and hamper efforts to reduce recidivism.
Marathon County Judge Mike Moran spoke at an independent jail safety panel on Tuesday, calling for more officers to help out in the courts.
A Republican-sponsored bill that would restrict the ability of Wisconsin circuit court judges to block state laws has the effect of “putting citizens at risk of irreparable harm from constitutional violations,” according to two critics of the measure.
Television spending in this year’s race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court topped $1.1 million, with nearly 70 percent of spending coming from conservative interest groups, according to estimates released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.
On Friday, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone jabbed back and forth at each other during a debate sponsored by the Wisconsin Bar Association and a coalition of media outlets. Read about it in Gavel Grab.
Special interest spending on TV advertising far outpaced TV spending by candidates in the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary, according to Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice. Check out Gavel Grab for more.
Special interest spending dominated this week’s primary for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, with the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth spending more than $300,000 on television advertisements in support of incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack will face Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone and lemon law attorney Vince Megna in the February 19 primary to keep her place on the bench. Roggensack has already raised more than three times as much money as her competitors. Learn more in Gavel Grab.
State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser helped appoint a critic of the ethics case against him to the state’s Judicial Commission – even though the panel could still have a hand in that case. On a 4-to-3 vote last month, the Supreme Court named retired attorney Frank Daily to the commission, which oversees the state’s entire judicial system. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Daily wrote a letter-to-the-editor of that paper in May, calling the ethics charges against Prosser unfair. Read more at WTAQ
State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and three other justices have appointed a retired attorney to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission who has said the ethics case against Prosser is unfair. The court voted 4-3 to appoint Frank J. Daily to the commission last month, at a time when the case against Prosser faces major hurdles. Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
When Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas ruled parts of Act 10 unconstitutional, Gov. Scott Walker pushed the easy and predictable rhetorical button. Colas, the governor charged, was a "liberal Dane County activist judge." When I was mayor we had several cases before Judge Colas. He was always regarded as thorough, fair and thoughtful even when he ruled against us. Read more at Isthmus Daily Page
Dane County Judge Juan B. Colas has gotten outraged letters and calls after ruling against parts of Act 10, Wisconsin’s law that restricted collective bargaining for many public employees. For more, see Gavel Grab.
Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining law was struck down late on the night of Friday, Sept. 14. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of the law, but already a firestorm of debate and controversy has taken place. The most recent action in the unending battle between Walker and the unions is the governor’s request that his supporters begin signing petitions. The purpose of these petitions is to raise support and finances for the collective bargaining law. Read more at UW Badger Herald
A Dane County judge who struck down parts of Act 10, the state’s law weakening collective bargaining for some public workers, has drawn a spate of letters and phone messages expressing outrage in colorful, at times vitriolic language. “You are no more than a cheap political hack for the Marxist Democratic Party,” declares one email sent to Circuit Court Judge Juan B. Colas by someone using a fake name. Read more at the Wisconsin Law Journal
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker launched a petition drive critical of a judge who ruled that many of Walker’s restrictions on collective bargaining rights for public workers were unconstitutional. For more, read Gavel Grab.
Gov. Scott Walker continued his attack Thursday on the judge who ruled against his limits on collective bargaining for public workers, launching a petition drive for those who support his changes. "An activist judge in Madison chose to put politics ahead of your votes by striking down Governor Walker's good government budget reforms," the petition from Walker's campaign says. Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked a state court judge to delay, pending appeal, a decision that laws curbing public employee collective bargaining rights are unconstitutional. Judge Juan B. Colas in Madison on Sept. 14 ruled the legislation known as Act 10, signed by Governor Scott Walker last year, violated public workers’ rights of free speech and free association. Read more at Businessweek
In a perfect world, no one would go to court, but in our imperfect one many people who need the help or protection of the legal system can't afford entry, and even advocates committed to helping them run into barriers. Those concerns are the focus of a public hearing Thursday at Marquette University Law School, hosted by the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission, created by the state Supreme Court and the State Bar of Wisconsin to study how to improve poor residents' navigation of the civil courts. Read more at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel