"Walker's judges" is our effort to present information about Gov. Walker's appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications.
Name: Clayton P. Kawski
Appointed to: Dane County Circuit Court
Appointment date: July 15, 2016
Law School – Northern Illinois University of Law
Undergrad – University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
High School – Stevens Point Area Senior High School
June 2010 - present - Wisconsin Department of Justice
September 2008 - June 2010 Michael Best & Friedrich
The State Bar of Wisconsin Young Lawyers Division Board (July 2013 - present)
Professionalism Committee (July 2009 - June 2013)
Challenges Facing New Lawyers Implementation Committee (2015)
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings: Extensive civil trial and appellate litigation experience. “My practice at DOJ has involved representing the State of Wisconsin, the Office of the Governor, the State agencies and numerous state actors in some of the most contentious and high-profile cases of the last five years.”
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Approximately 35 non-jury cases.
Number of cases litigated on appeal: More than 35
Professional or civic organizations, volunteer activities, service in a church or synagogue, or any other activities or hobbies that could be relevant or helpful to consideration of the application: None
Pro bono work in last five years: None
Why I Want to Be a Judge - The work of a circuit court judge is extremely important to citizens, businesses, and the State of Wisconsin. My experience handling high-profile, complex litigation like the voter photo identification cases, challenges to Wisconsin's campaign finance laws, and numerous trial-level and appellate matters involving administrative law makes me uniquely qualified for this appointment. ...
Judicial philosophy - The job of judging is not always simple and straightforward. It involves real people, real emotions, real dollars, and real liberty at stake. A judge cannot forget that. A judge must have basic humility, but that humility must be tempered and forged by the rule of law....Without an abiding respect for the law, as it is written, a judge becomes nothing more than a king in a black robe. The challenge of judging is to exercise sound judgment while applying the law itself, not personal preferences.
Best Wisconsin or US Supreme Court decision – District of Columbia v Heller (Second Amendment)
I will always remember reading the decision in chambers when it came down on June 26, 2008. It is an important landmark in constitutional law that should find a special place in the minds of gun-owning Wisconsinites.
"It is an important landmark in constitutional law that should find a special place in the minds of gun-owning Wisconsinites."
Worst Wisconsin or US Supreme Court decision -- King v Burwell (upholding Obamacare)
Statutory words should not be ignored, avoided, or glazed over by a judge or court. This decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, arguably ignored the plain meaning of the words of the law at issue and engaged in a tortured statutory analysis in the name of finding Congress’ “true” intentions....What Justice Diane Sykes accomplished for conservative, principled statutory interpretation in Kalal, Chief Justice Roberts seems to have taken a step in the exact opposite direction in King v. Burwell.
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
Sign up for the free WJI newsletter.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin