By Gretchen Schuldt
Danielle Shelton and Andrew Jones are competing for the Branch 40 judicial seat vacated by Rebecca Dallet when she was elected to the State Supreme Court in April 2018. Jones has held the seat since August, when he was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker.
This is the only contested Milwaukee County judicial race this spring. Shelton and Jones agreed to answer a series of questions from WJI to better inform voters about the race.
Question 2: Name one of the best U.S. or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinions in the last thirty years and explain why you feel that way.
By Gretchen Schuldt
Andrew Jones and Danielle Shelton are competing for the Branch 40 judicial seat vacated by Rebecca Dallet when she was elected to the State Supreme Court in April 2018. Jones has held the seat since August, when he was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker.
This is the only contested Milwaukee County judicial race this spring. Shelton and Jones agreed to answer a series of questions from WJI to better inform voters about the race.
Question 1: Why do you want to become a judge?
Below are the candidates' responses.
"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: J. Michael Bitney
Appointed to: Barron County Circuit Court
Appointment date: July 11, 2013 (elected to a 6-year term in 2014)
Law School – Hamline University
Undergraduate – Hamline University
High School – None listed on application
1993 - present – Washburn County district attorney
1985 - 1992 – Associate, Bitney Law Firm, Spooner, WI
Washburn, Sawyer & Rusk Tri-County Bar Association
Wisconsin District Attorneys Association
State of Wisconsin Bar
Federal Courts, Western District of Wisconsin
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings: Worked with father and brother at Bitney Law Firm in Spooner. Represented northwestern Wisconsin clients in family, criminal, traffic, probate, businees, property, personal injury, contract, and bankruptcy matters.
Thereafter in 1992, I ran for the office of District Attorney for Washburn County on the Republican ticket. I was elected and took office in Jan. 1993. For the past twenty (20) years, I have proudly represented & served the People and victims of crime in both juvenile court and adult court in literally thousands of cases ranging from county ordinance violations to first degree intentional homicide cases and everything in between.
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Jury, 100+; non-jury, 1000's; arbitration, 0; administrative bodies, 0.
Cases on appeal: 20+
Two most significant cases:
State of Wisconsin vs. Ernest E. Halford – The defendant and three co-defendants ... came to Washburn county looking to burglarize rural homes and steal cash, jewelry & firearms that they could then pawn to support their drug habits. A neighbor to one of the victims (Mr. Peter Barton) stumbled onto their burglary in progress and Halford and one other co-defendant, Edward Rollins, took Barton at gun point into a pine plantation behind the burglarized home where they tied him to a tree and shot him to death.
This was my first homicide jury trial. ... I successfully prosecuted all of the defendants who received lengthy prison sentences and the shooter, Haldord, (sic) received a sentence of life without parole plus 65 years.
State of Wisconsin vs. Michael Stoner – In a case that made headlines in 2007, the defendant and his girlfriend survived the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while en route to the hospital where her daughter was taken for emergency treatment.
Originally hailed as a hero, the public soon found out that Stoner was the only adult with the toddler when she was injured. ... Medical experts, however, concluded that her injuries were not accidental but were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. … Mr. Stoner ultimately entered a plea of no contest … and was given the maximum possible sentence of twelve (12) years six (6) months in prison.
State of Wisconsin vs. Eugene Huntington – Another case that I successfully prosecuted and which on appeal expanded the “excited utterance” and “residual hearsay exceptions” to the hearsay rule … The defendant, Eugene Huntington, was convicted of multiple counts of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child. … The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed and the Wisconsin Supreme Court … held that the trial court had properly admitted statements that the victim made to her mother and to her health care providers.
All previous runs for office: Washburn County District Attorney, first elected in 1992 and re-elected since.
(Information about an unsuccessful run for Washburn County Circuit Court judge provided in the next answer.)
Involvement in judicial, non-partisan, or partisan political campaign, committee, or organization: Yes, in addition to my own campaign(s) for Washburn Co. District Attorney, I ran for Washburn County Circuit Court Judge back in 1997. I lost in a close race to Eugene D. Harrington by just over three hundred votes.
I also campaigned for & supported Attorneys Thomas J. Duffy and Steven H. Gibbs in their previous campaigns for Circuit Court Judge in Sawyer and Chippewa counties respectively.
Finally, I endorsed and supported Steven Gibbs in his successful campaign for Chippewa County District Attorney.
All judicial or non-partisan candidates endorsed in the last six years:
Hon. Michael Gableman, Burnett County Circuit Court Judge and WI Supreme Court Justice.
Hon. James D. Babbitt, Barron County Circuit Court Judge, Branch III.
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:
Volunteer firefighter, Spooner Fire District
Boy Scout leader and Scoutmaster, Spooner Troop 104
Head coach and assistant coach in youth soccer, baseball, football & basketball
Kiwanis Men’s Club member
Lion’s Club member
Lector and volunteer, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church
Volunteer Faith in Action
Spooner Little League Board member
Spooner Hoops Club Board member
Spooner Baseball Foundation Board member
Describe any significant pro bono legal work in the last five years: No answer given.
Why I want to be a judge – My passion and my calling has been to serve others. As you can see from my application, I have done this throughout my adult life both professionally and personally in many different capacities, both in the private section and as an elected official. ...
A good judge treats others (lawyers, litigants and staff) with dignity and respect. S/he is patient and kind. An effective judge is a good listener. S/he has a sense of humor and doesn’t take him or herself too seriously. A good judge comes to court well prepared …
A good judge is driven by the search for the truth.
Most importantly, a good judge is fair.
I possess these qualities. I have the legal and life experience, knowledge, work ethic and the demeanor to be a good Judge.
It’s time for me to take the next step in my professional career to expanded that service to others, as a Circuit Court Judge.
Best United States or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion in the last thirty years – Davis v. United States (2011)
The police searched Davis’ vehicle after placing him under arrest for obstructing an officer. During the vehicle search police found a handgun. Davis was ultimately convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. While Davis’ appeal was pending the U.S. Supreme Court announced it’s decision in Arizona v. Grant …overruling nearly (30) years of prior precedence. … In denying Davis’ appeal, the Supreme Court held that when police conduct a search in reasonable “good faith” reliance on previous precedence, the exclusionary rule does not apply.
The decision is significant for several reasons.
First, it reminds us that the “exclusionary rule” is not a personal constitutional right. …
Second, this decision clearly admonishes judges that not all fourth amendment violations require the harsh sanction of excluding otherwise reliable and trustworthy evidence. …
Third, it instructs the courts to engage in a cost-benefit analysis, examining the aforementioned “societal cost” of suppressing valuable evidence versus the flagrancy of police misconduct involved …
I believe that this is one of the best U.S. Supreme Court decisions within the last thirty (30) years because it serves as a powerful reminder that our entire system of jurisprudence is premised upon the search for the truth and that society should swallow the bitter pill of excluding otherwise reliable, trustworthy and valuable evidence when necessary but only as a last resort to curb egregious police misconduct.
I believe that this is one of the best U.S. Supreme Court decisions within the last thirty (30) years because it serves as a powerful reminder that our entire system of jurisprudence is premised upon the search for the truth and that society should swallow the bitter pill of excluding otherwise reliable, trustworthy and valuable evidence when necessary but only as a last resort to curb egregious police misconduct. – Barron County Circuit Judge J. Michael Bitney
Worst United States or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion in the last thirty years – Arizona v. Gant (2009)
Arizona v. Gant … which effectively overruled a single familiar standard that had guided law enfocement officers in federal and state courts for nearly three decades … providing law enforcement officers with the authority to search an automobile incident to the arrest of one or more of it’s occupants; was one of the worst decisions in recent US Supreme Court history.
In place of the aforementioned bright line rule, the Court adopted a new two-part rule under which an officer who arrests a vehicle operator or occupant may search the passenger compartment of the vehicle only 1) if the arrestee is within reaching or lunge distance of the car at the time of the search or 2) the officer has “reason to believe” that the vehicle contains “evidence of the offense of arrest.” (Whatever those phrases mean.)
The folly of this decision is readily evident. The first prong of this rule a) encourages officers to leave a potentially dangerous suspect(s) within arms reach of his vehicle to avoid the necessity of a search warrant or b) is irrelevant because intelligent law enforcement officers always secure suspects away from their vehicles before searching them to ensure the officer safety.
The second prong of this rule creates a yet-to-be-defined or understood legal standard allowing officer to search the suspect’s vehicle only if s/he has reason to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of the arrest. What does this rule mean? Is probable cause required? Will reasonable suspicion that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime suffice? And what does “evidence of the offense of the arrest” mean? As Justice Alito said in his dissent, it is certain to confuse law enfocement officers, prosecutors and judges for years to come. …
Judicial philosophy – Judges should interpret and uphold the law, not create it.
Our founding fathers enacted a constitution that created a democracy made up of three different branches of government; executive, legislative and judicial to ensure that our nation would survive through a system of checks and balances. …
When judicial activists forget this and attempt to legislate from the bench, this system is turned on it’s head and the voice or will of the people is drowned out.
Judges aren’t elected or appointed to create law, legislators are.
I also believe in the legal principle of Stare Decisis. Judges ought to respect precedencts established by prior decisions.
Any other information you feel would be helpful to your application:
List of personal references given, including contact information for JB Van Hollen, Hon. Michael J. Gableman, Hon. James D. Babbitt, and Hon. Kenneth L. Kutz.
By Gretchen Schuldt
State Supreme Court Justice-elect Rebecca Dallet swept 313 wards in the City of Milwaukee in Tuesday's election for an open high court seat, while Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock won nine.
Screnock's total margin of victory in those wards, all on the far south side, was 51 votes; Dallet's, in the wards she won, was 29,455 votes. (They tied, 2-2, in ward 324.)
The ward-victory ratio was about 35 to 1 in Dallet's favor.
A map showing the extent of Screnock's victories is below. The red wards are those that he won.
Milwaukee Screnock victory map
Dallet, a Milwaukee County circuit judge, won a total of 75% of the city vote, outpolling her opponent 43,551 to 14,147.
She grabbed an even larger share of the vote – 85% – in Shorewood. crushing Screnock 3,888 to 662.
Though Dallet won the county by an almost 2-1 margin, Screnock beat her in Franklin, where he garnered 57% of the vote, Greenfield, (52%), Hales Corners (53%), and Oak Creek (52%).
Besides her victories in Milwaukee and Shorewood, Dallet won in Bayside (73% of the vote), Brown Deer (66%), Cudahy (58%), Fox Point (70%), Glendale (71%), Greendale (51%), River Hills (54%), St. Francis (61%), South Milwaukee (54%), Wauwatosa (62%), West Allis (53%), West Milwaukee (59%), and Whitefish Bay (67%).
The final county vote was 85,944 for Dallet to 44,745 for Screnock.
By Gretchen Schuldt
State Supreme Court Justice-elect Rebecca Dallet made deep inroads in Trump territory as she swept to victory Tuesday against Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock, who was crushed even in his own county.
In far western Wisconsin, Dallet won in Chippewa, Dunn, St. Croix, Pierce, and Pepin counties, all of which voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Dallet also swept through the southwestern part of the state, picking up Vernon, Crawford, Grant, Richland, Sauk, Iowa, Columbia, and Lafayette counties, flipping them from Trump.
She took Screnock's Sauk County, 56% to 44%.
In southeastern Wisconsin, only Kenosha County switched from Trump to Dallet. Milwaukee remained solidly blue.
In the east-central part of the state, Winnebago, Outagamie, Brown, Manitowoc, and Door counties went for Dallet after supporting Trump.
She also picked up Trempealeau, Jackson, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, and Oneida counties in west- and north-central Wisconsin, all of which went for Trump in 2016.
Trump judge nominee Giampietro: criminals came from public schools; the pill is an "assault on nature"
Criminals came from public schools, birth control pills are an assault on nature, and legal recognition of gay marriage could open the door to polygamy, according to Gordon Giampietro, President Trump's nominee to be a federal judge in Milwaukee.
Giampietro in 2014, commenting on a blog post, also wrote that “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards (moral and intellectual),” Buzzfeed reported Thursday.
The in-house lawyer for Northwestern Mutual Life, is not a member of the Wisconsin Bar and has litigated, he says, about 31 cases to conclusion in his entire career. WJI outlined some of his history in an earlier post.
Buzzfeed published additional information about Giampietro, including comments he made during two interviews with Lydia LoCoco and links to the audio of the shows.
His comments about public schools came during a 2002 interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal. Giampietro, a strong supporter the Milwaukee Parental Choice voucher program, said his views about the program were affected by what he saw growing up in Washington and by having a university professor for a father.
"I grew up next to lawyers, architects and crack dealers," he told the paper. "The common denominator I saw was that the children who succeeded in Washington were in private schools, and the children who turned out to be criminals were in public schools."
Giampietro, as a Choice advocate, appeared in opposition to a 1999 bill that would have prohibited discrimination against voucher school students based on "sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability."
"Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are gonna happen.” – Gordon Giampietro
In 2014 and 2015 interviews with LoCoco on Relevant Radio, Giampietro further explained some of his views related to sexual orientation.
Recognition of same-sex marriage, he said, would undermine the “very idea of marriage.”
LoCoco talked during the July 2014 interview about Thomas More, who was beheaded after refusing to recongize King Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England. More, she said, went to his death to follow his conscience and follow his God.
"Do you think those times are coming?" she asked.
“I think we always have to be prepared for them," Giampietro responded. "Is it going to happen this year or next year, its hard to say. But I think at the end of the day, we’ve reached a point of, we’ve moved beyond civil society. When the government doesn’t allow people to disagree with it, to live in peace, what options are you giving those people to carry on? … It sounds alarmist, it sounds crazy, but we’re entering a very dangerous time in our history.”
In the July 2015 interview, not long after the U.S. Supreme Court did recognize gay marriage, Giampietro opined: "Given this constitutional principle that the Court has laid down there really is no principled reason polygamy isn't the next thing to go. ... There's no limiting principle here. There's no reason why it couldn't be these other arrangements. ..."
"The seeds for this problem go back decades, right?" he said. "As soon as the contraceptive mentality set root, what is the articulation for why marriage should be with opposite-sex couples? There isn’t one, unless society agrees that it has to do with the raising of children. And so we really are reaping what we sowed a few years ago.”
LoCoco continued the theme. “So when my husband rants and raves about every problem in the world and his answer to everything is, ‘It was the pill! It was the pill! He’s absolutely right. I mean, in a sense.”
“Yes. Yes," Giampietro said. "Because that’s an assault on nature. And anytime you assault nature there’s gonna be a backlash. And that’s what we’re seeing today. In all kinds of ways, not just with respect to contraception and marriage. Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are gonna happen.”
By Gretchen Schuldt
Federal judge nominee Gordon Giampietro opposed guaranteeing Constitutional rights to students in the state's voucher program, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.
Giampietro, President Trump's nominee to succeed U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, also appeared in opposition to a 1999 bill in the Wisconsin Legislature that would have prohibited discrimination against voucher school students based on "sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability."
"Does Wisconsin really need a judge who does not oppose discriminating against children?" the Wisconsin Justice Initiative wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) opposing Giampietro's appointment.
Giampietro also told the conservative Heritage Foundation that an earlier Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction effort to ensure voucher students enjoyed Constitutional protections "would have been an extraordinary expansion of government control."
WJI urged Baldwin to investigate Giampietro's background.
"When you do, we are confident you will conclude that he is not qualified for the federal bench," WJI said.
The state's Republican senator, Ron Johnson, already returned his "blue slip," indicating support of the nomination; Baldwin has not.
Giampietro, a member of the right wing Federalist Society, is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He is not, however, a member of the Wisconsin Bar, which he quit in 2008.
"Does Wisconsin really need a judge who does not oppose discriminating against children?"
"His failure to join the state bar speaks volumes about his attitude toward the uniquely Wisconsin aspects of his chosen profession," WJI told the senator. "Federal judges often are asked to decide issues of state law when litigants are from different states. Is Mr. Giampietro familiar enough with Wisconsin laws to competently preside over those cases? Does he have any real interest in state law? His history and his refusal to associate himself with the Wisconsin Bar suggests he is not and does not."
His record at the U.S. attorney's office "is mediocre at best," WJI said. "His cases were largely routine, run-of -the-mill criminal cases."
Giampietro, in responding to questions from the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee, used the terms "to the best of my recollection" and "I estimate" when stating how many cases he tried or litigated to conclusion: a very modest 31. That number includes even cases in which he was not a primary lawyer, and those during his careers in private practice and in government..
"The number of cases he claims is indicative of inexperience," WJI said. "The type of cases they were, their outcomes, and his level of involvement in each will provide a more accurate picture of his abilities."
"Mr. Giampietro’s main qualification, like that of so many of President Trump’s nominees, appears to be his membership in the right-wing Federalist Society," WJI said. "His experience and demonstrated knowledge does not rise to the pre-Trump expectations the public and its elected representatives held for federal court nominees."
Please contact Sen. Baldwin and encourage her to oppose Gordon Giampietro's nomination as federal judge.
By Margo Kirchner
Even if he serves just one term, President Donald Trump may influence the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit more than any of his four immediate predecessors. Trump has a remarkable opportunity to fill from four to nine of the court’s 11 seats.
The Seventh Circuit sits in Chicago and decides appeals from federal trial courts in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. The court has 11 full-time, active judge positions plus several “senior judges” who may take a reduced caseload in semi-retirement. The judges generally sit in three-judge panels.
The President picks nominees for appointment to the court; they take the bench if confirmed by the Senate.
Federal judges may take senior status or retire under the Rule of 80---at age 65 if they have served at least 15 years on the bench, age 66 with 14 years, and so on. When a judge chooses senior status or full retirement (or, in unfortunate circumstances, dies), the President gets to name a successor.
With the surprise retirement of Circuit Judge Richard Posner a couple weeks ago, four spots on the Seventh Circuit are available for Trump to fill. Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams took senior status in June 2017. Circuit Judge John Daniel Tinder took senior status in early 2015. And the seat of Circuit Judge Terence T. Evans has famously been vacant since January 2010.
When Trump took office in January, he acquired over 100 judicial vacancies, exceeding the vacancies inherited by Presidents Barack Obama (54) and George W. Bush (81). The Republican Senate’s delay in moving nominees forward during the latter years of the Obama presidency accounts for many of the vacancies, and the situation gives Trump an opportunity for long-lasting impact.
Trump is moving quickly to fill the vacancies and recently picked up his pace. On Sept. 11, Trump proposed his tenth slate of nominees for federal courts around the country. In total, Trump has nominated 53 individuals for judgeships, and 34 of those nominations came since mid-July. The Senate already confirmed six of the nominees.
Trump’s nominations to date cover the Evans and Tinder spots. The two remaining Seventh Circuit spots, allocated to Illinois, may require negotiation with that state’s two Democratic senators, but Trump has three years left in his term to get nominees for those positions through the Senate. If he fills all four seats, some three-member panels of the Seventh Circuit may consist completely of Trump appointees.
And these four seats are not the end of Trump’s possible reach. Five of the seven active Seventh Circuit judges are eligible for senior status or full retirement. Only Circuit Judges David Hamilton and Diane Sykes are younger than 65, and all of the judges over age 65 meet the service requirement and can retire.
Will the Seventh Circuit become "Trump's Tribunal"?
Chief Judge Diane Wood and Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook are still under 70. But Circuit Judge Michael Kanne is 78, Circuit Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner is 79, and Circuit Judge Joel Flaum is 80. The average age of the Seventh Circuit active judges is 70 years old (though Senior Judge William Bauer makes that seem young---he continues hearing appeals at age 91). In contrast, the average age of the judges of the Eighth Circuit, which covers appeals in Minnesota and six other states to Wisconsin’s west, is 64.
If even two of the five eligible judges take senior status, retire, or die in the next two years and Trump has time to get a nominee through the Senate by the end of 2020, Trump appointees could constitute a majority of the court even if Trump serves only one term. The likelihood of a Trump-packed court greatly increases if Trump wins a second term---will Judge Flaum still want to serve as an active judge at age 85?
In comparison, during their eight years in office President Obama filled one Seventh Circuit seat (Judge Hamilton), President George W. Bush filled two seats (Judges Tinder and Sykes), and President William Clinton filled three (Judges Wood, Williams, and Evans). President George H.W. Bush appointed one Seventh Circuit judge (Judge Rovner) during his four-year term. The last president with an opportunity like Trump’s was Ronald Reagan; he appointed eight judges to the court during his eight years in office.
By Margo Kirchner
Let’s call U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s approval of attorney Michael Brennan’s nomination to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals what it is: hypocrisy. Action that Johnson two years ago condemned as repugnant to the best interest of the people of Wisconsin he now considers acceptable because it helps his own party.
Johnson, using his own words, broke his contract with Baldwin, blew up bipartisanship, and chose his party over us.
Together, Johnson, a Republican, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin established the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to advise the senators about (among other positions) a judicial appointment for our state’s open seat on the federal appeals court. The Commission seeks out qualified candidates, interviews them, and recommends four to six finalists. The Commission consists of six members; each senator appoints three. The rules of the Commission prohibit recommending any judicial candidate who does not receive five affirmative votes.
In a May 22, 2015 press release still on his website, Johnson said the makeup of the Commission and the five-vote requirement help “ensure that the senators would nominate qualified judges rather than candidates who were on either extreme.” In another statement, Johnson described the requirements as creating a “fair process.”
This spring, the Commission accepted applications for the Seventh Circuit position, but didn’t recommend anyone because no candidate garnered five votes. Nevertheless, President Trump, presumably in consultation with Johnson, nominated Brennan for the seat, ignoring the results of the Commission. Brennan received four, not five, votes.
Johnson said soon after Brennan’s nomination that the White House “made a great decision” as Brennan “is eminently qualified and was the only candidate who received bipartisan support from the judicial nominating commission.
Two years ago two candidates, attorney Donald Schott and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Richard Sankovitz, received the required five Commission votes for the same seat, but the Commission could not recommend them because it could not recommend the required minimum of four candidates. Baldwin notified the White House of all eight individuals the Commission interviewed. (President Obama eventually nominated Schott, though Schott was not confirmed.)
Here’s the hypocrisy. Johnson publicly decried Baldwin’s move, tweeting on May 22, 2015, that the “[p]rocess to find judges worked until @SenatorBaldwin blew up our bipartisanship” and stating in his press release that it was “unfortunate that Senator Baldwin chose partisanship and politics over what is in the best interest of the people of Wisconsin.”
Johnson told a reporter that Baldwin broke her contract with other senators when she forwarded all eight names to Obama.
Is a tit-for-tat justified---because Baldwin bypassed the Commission’s results two years ago Johnson can do the same? The Senate is not elementary school and consideration of lifetime judicial appointments should not involve retaliation against a fellow senator. Moreover, Johnson and Trump went significantly beyond what Baldwin and Obama did two years ago. Then, two candidates earned the required five votes, and Obama nominated one of those two. Brennan did not get the required five votes.
Johnson’s reneging on the rules of the Commission came just six months after he signed its amended charter, which maintained the five-vote requirement.
Amid talk of the Republican Senate eliminating the “blue slip” practice that allows a senator from a federal court nominee’s home state to block confirmation, Johnson appears the hypocrite again. Johnson used his blue-slip power back in 2011 to stop consideration of Obama’s first nominee for the Seventh Circuit seat.
Johnson’s endorsement of Brennan’s nomination suggests that Johnson will do whatever is politically expedient, notwithstanding his prior agreement to a “fair process.” Whether Brennan should be confirmed by the Senate is a separate matter. Wisconsinites of all political stances should be concerned with the process by which Brennan’s nomination came about---when those in the party in power without hesitation change the rules to get what they want.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca F. Dallet is widely rumored to be readying a run for the State Supreme Court seat now held by Michael J. Gableman.
Dallet, however, isn't quite ready to commit. "I've been approached by several people asking me to run and I'm giving it serious consideration," she said Wednesday.
If Dallet runs and the very conservative Gableman seeks re-election, there will be a primary in the Supreme Court race next year because Madison attorney Tim Burns already has announced that he will also seek the seat.
The primary election will be Feb. 20; the general election will be April 3.
Dallet was elected to the Branch 40 bench in 2008, beating attorney and police officer Jeffrey Norman. She was re-elected without opposition in 2014.
She also has served as a Milwaukee County court commissioner, adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School, assistant district attorney, and special assistant U.S. attorney.
As judge, she presided over felony courtrooms for several years and is now assigned to civil court.
Dallet received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University Law School in 1994.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin