Supreme Court Justice
The Wisconsin Supreme Court heads the judicial branch of our state government. It is composed of 7 justices, each elected statewide to a 10-year term. The supreme court is primarily an appellate court and serves as Wisconsin’s “court of last resort.” It also exercises original jurisdiction in a small number of cases of statewide concern. A justice must have been a licensed attorney in Wisconsin for the five years preceding election to judicial office. [From the Wisconsin Blue Book]
Questions were provided by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
Reedsburg, WI 53959
1. What educational, professional, civic and community experiences have you had that qualify you for this elective office? With more than 23 years as judge & prosecutor, I have the deepest experience in Wisconsin courtrooms, presiding/arguing 1000s of cases & over 300 jury trials, in homicide, serious felony, domestic violence, drugs, civil & small claims courts. As lawyer & judge, I’ve been deeply involved in the community, serving on many committees and receiving multiple awards (see full bio at judgedallet.com) BA summa cum laude w/ honors, Ohio State University JD summa cum laude, Case Western Reserve Law School
2. Describe in lay terms the duties of a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. What types of cases are heard by the Court? A justice upholds the Constitution to ensure justice is done. We have to be fair, transparent, and look out for the little guy to ensure the powerful aren’t taking advantage of the system.
The court addresses cases that have large import/impact on civil & criminal justice systems. Are constitutional rights at stake? Is the law clear? Are different laws in conflict? My job as a Supreme Court justice would be to apply the U.S./state constitutions, & state/federal law, to protect our rights.
3. Would you be in favor of the adoption by the Supreme Court of standard rules requiring the recusal of Wisconsin judges and justices from cases involving a major campaign contributor or supporter? Why or why not? A strong recusal rule is absolutely necessary. It’s vital we remove special interest influence on our system. Corporate special interests are spending massive amounts to buy judges on the court to serve their own goals. Justices do not yet have a clear standard for when to recuse themselves. If one of their campaign donors or former clients brings a case, justices aren’t necessarily required to recuse themselves -- and that’s wrong. It’s a symptom of a system that’s broken.