"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: Charles V. Feltes
Appointed to: Trempealeau County Circuit Court
Appointment date: July 11, 2016
Law School – University of Illinois College of Law, class of 1973
Undergrad – Wisconsin State University – River Falls
High School – West Chicago Community High School
1995 - present - Charles V. Feltes, sole practicioner law firm
2009 – present – Trempeauleau County court commissioner
College (River Falls) – Student Senate, Student Foundation Committee, Legal Action Committee, Young Republicans, Theta Chi Fraternity
Law School – None
Best US Supreme Court Decision: Citizens United v. FEC
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings:
Court-appointed criminal work for the indigent - "The Judge at the time liked to refer the sexual offenders to me. (I have no explanation for this)" - personal injury, real estate litigation, workers comp litigation representing employees, traffic and ordinance litigation for municipalities.
20+ jury trials verdict, prosecuted hundreds of traffic and municipal violations in bench trials.
I have probably handled 300-400 civil cases to verdict. This does not include small claims cases.
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.
1. Osseo Area Economic Development Corporation (Director since its inception in 1988 and Secretary since 1995).
2. Osseo Community Foundation, Inc. (Director and Secretary since its inception since 2004).
3. Osseo Commercial Club (Member from 1976 to 1995, President in about 1990).
4. Knights of Columbus (Member since 1996).
5. St. Raymond’s Parish Building Committee (2001-2003).
6. St. Raymond’s Parish Council (2012 to 2015).
7. The Federalist Society (2015 to date).
8. Trempealeau County Interdisciplinary Team (2016).
9. St. Raymond’s Parish Cemetery Committee (2016).
Other businesses or professions - In 1990’s my wife, children and I operated the roasted sweet corn concession at Sonny Acres’ “Fall Festival”. The business was called “We’re All Ears”.
Why he wants to be a judge - For the most part, the people who appear in Court are good people who have found themselves in a bad situation or who have made bad decisions.
A judge often needs to do more than just apply the law to the facts as he or she may find them. There is often a human element which needs to be addressed.
In order to make our society and economy work, people need to respect the law, law enforcement, the court system and its judges. Judges need to respect those who appear before them. Not everyone will win in court, but everyone is entitled to leave court feeling that they have been treated fairly.
I want to be a judge because I believe I could be very good at it. It’s that simple.
Best Wisconsin or US Supreme Court decision – Citizens United v FEC
Should individuals who possess the right to free speech be deprived of this right when they form a group, an association or even a corporation?
The U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v FEC…answered the foregoing question “No!”. The Court further ruled that to the extent it may have in prior decisions allowed the First Amendment rights of corporations to be regulated, it was wrong and those contrary decisions were overruled. In Citizens United, the Court rejected the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not “natural persons”. Political speech is protected speech under the First Amendment, regardless of its source or content….
The trend in our society is to suppress and control free speech. Certain terms cannot be used by our government officials. Certain non profits cannot get IRS certification. Universities and colleges have speech codes. Language which some people may find offensive or disturbing becomes hate speech or marginalized as “controversial”.
The criminalization and regulation of free speech is something to be avoided and condemned. The Supreme Court in Citizens United got it right.
Worst Wisconsin or US Supreme Court decision – Kelo v. City of New London
The case demonstrates that, on occasion, judges can’t read….
In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice John Paul Stevens, the majority in that case rewrote the Fifth Amendment to read “ . . nor shall private property be taken for a public purpose without just compensation”. In Kelo the State of Connecticut organized a private non-profit development corporation to assist the City of New London in its economic development. This corporation’s development project was to be anchored by a research facility of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. (Maker of Viagra and other wonderful drugs). The development would include water front development, hotel, restaurants and shops.
The Supreme Court eventually upheld the use of eminent domain to take property for the development.
This case was one of the worst U.S. Supreme Court cases decided. Not only was the language of the
Constitution ignored, the majority opinion rewrote the Fifth Amendment substituting the term “public purpose” for “public use”. It justified the use of eminent domain take property from one private party so it can be used by another private party for private gain. The “public purpose” of increased tax base and jobs should never be the sole justification for a taking under the Fifth Amendment. This logic would justify any governmental taking of private property for any reason so long as the tax base was benefitted.
The tragic end to this case is what happened after this “landmark” decision. Pfizer, Inc. pulled out of the project and left New London altogether. The development never occurred, the condemned land lies unused….
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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