MADISON—Wisconsin voters this spring will choose a new state Supreme Court justice to fill the first open seat on the high court in more than a decade. Voters will narrow the field from three candidates to two in the February 20 primary; the two finalists will face each other in the April 3 election. The winner will serve a 10-year term on the court.
To help voters make an informed choice, the Wisconsin Policy Forum (WPF) sent questionnaires to all three candidates: Madison attorney Tim Burns; Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet; and Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock. Their responses are printed verbatim in WPF’s latest report, “Wisconsin Supreme Court Race.”
The candidates responded to WPF’s questions about their experience, why they are running for the court, their judicial influences, and how their skills and backgrounds would complement the court’s current make-up.
The report also provides an overview of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s duties and its 2016-17 term, which concluded last August. The report notes that the number of cases of all types—attorney discipline, civil, and criminal cases—resolved by opinion was the lowest in five years. However, the number of authored opinions by the court, which typically involve interpretations of state law and the state constitution, remained relatively constant during the same period.
In addition to those decisions, the report notes that the Supreme Court is responsible for administering the state court system and the practice of law in Wisconsin through the adoption of administrative rules. In 2016-17, the court held three rules hearings and convened nine open administrative conferences. It issued 15 orders, of which nine were amendments or new rules governing legal practice or procedure.
The WPF report, “Wisconsin Supreme Court Race,” is available now by visiting www.wistax.org; emailing email@example.com; calling 608.241.9789; or writing WPF at 401 North Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033.