"Walker's judges" is our effort to present information about former Gov. Walker's appointees to the bench who are still serving as judges. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications. We also are posting "Evers' judges."
Racine County Circuit Judge Jon Fredrickson was in the news recently when he overturned Racine's coronavirus rules. During the litigation over the matter, Fredrickson said Racine’s public health administrator, Dottie-Kay Bowersox, was indulging in "despotic power."
The State Court of Appeals, however, granted the city an emergency stay that keeps the city's coronavirus rules in place pending a full appeal of the case, which could take months.
Name: Jon E. Fredrickson
Appointed to: Racine County Circuit Court
Appointment date: Sept. 28, 2018, elected in April 2019.
Law School – Marquette University Law School
Undergraduate – University of Southern California
High School – Homestead High School, Mequon
2001-present – Kravit Hovel & Krawczyk
1997-2001 – Crivello Carlson
State Bar of Wisconsin
Eastern District of Wisconsin
Western District of Wisconsin
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals None
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings:
My practice focuses on representing Wisconsin businesses, individuals, and Fortune 500 companies in high-exposure business, insurance coverage, and professional liability cases. Over the years, I have litigated cases touching upon many aspects of Wisconsin law. As an attorney's attorney, I have defended over twenty-five legal malpractice claims....
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: 2; non-jury, NA; arbitration, NA; administrative bodies, NA.
Cases on appeal: 7
Three most significant cases:
Land O'Lakes, Inc. v. Ratajczak – I was lead counsel. Researched, drafted, litigated, and argued the case. This case was significant because of the stakes involved for my clients, the Ratajczaks. Land O'Lakes sued them individually, as the former owners of a feed business, under fraud and federal and state racketeering theories. Land O'Lakes sought roughly $10 million dollars in compensatory damages, trebled under the racketeering statutes to $30 million. My clients had everything they owned at stake in this litigation. It was either win, or complete financial ruin, which is exactly how Land O'Lakes positioned it. I analyzed the racketeering laws, and determined that if I could get Land O'Lakes to admit it hadn't lost any profits, or passed on any damage to a third-party, that we could win the case on summary judgment. One of my partners and an associate stridently objected to my legal analysis and passionately argued that my legal analysis was incorrect, and that I was wrong. I wasn't. I filed the summary judgment motion, and won the argument at both the federal district court, and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals level. The win was a completely life-altering event for my clients.
Marks v. Houston Cas. Co. – I was lead counsel. Researched, drafted, litigated, and argued the case. This case was significant because it sought to expand insurance protections for Wisconsin businesses and individuals to coincide with the protections available in many other states. It was tactically positioned to force the Supreme Court of Wisconsin to finally deal with three Court of Appeals decisions that were binding precedent on the Court of Appeals and the circuit courts, but that were being sporadically ignored by both, depending on the district panel or circuit court judge involved. While it wasn't a victory for my clients, it did serve to clean up Wisconsin's duty to defend law, and has become a widely cited insurance precedent.
Murray v. Travelers Ins. Co. – I completed this work while I was a law clerk, before graduation. My appellate briefing in this case was signed by the partner in charge of the case without any edits or changes. The case was significant on two fronts. As an aspiring young lawyer, it gave me the self-affirmation that I was ready for the big fights. But more importantly, it was a significant decision for Wisconsin workers, as it expanded the scope their employment protections.
All previous runs for office: None
Involvement in judicial, non-partisan, or partisan political campaign, committee, or organization: None
All judicial or non-partisan candidates endorsed in the last six years:
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Rifelj
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:
State Bar of Wisconsin
Milwaukee Bar Association
American Bar Association
Wisconsin Defense Counsel.
Describe any significant pro bono legal work in the last five years:
Why I want to be a judge – The bench needs judges with the litigation street smarts to cut through the fog and get to the truth. It needs judges that have a rock-ribbed sense of justice. Judges that are tough, but that are also fair, patient, open-minded, and intellectually curious. I want to become· a judge because I have these qualities, hold these principles dear, and want to use them to serve my community.
Best United States or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion in the last thirty years – Tetra Tech EC, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, 2018
This decision ended Wisconsin's adherence to the doctrine of administrative deference, more popularly known as Chevron deference. Under this doctrine, the judiciary had been forced to defer to an administrative agency's interpretation of any vagueries (sic) in statutory language. The result of this decision will be a dramatic scaling back of the power of unelected state bureaucrats to act as quasi-legislative bodies.
Textualism and Originalism. Judges should apply the laws as written, not as they wish the laws had been written. And they should stay ever mindful of individual liberties. – Racine County Circuit Judge Jon E. Fredrickson
Worst United States or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion in the last thirty years – National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012)
This decision expanded, and distorted, Congress' taxing power far beyond its already overly expansive commerce clause power set forth in the equally offensive Wickard v. Filburn...decision. After NFIB v. Sebelius, Congress now has the power to force individuals to purchase products, or be "taxed" for their non-purchase -an absolute affront to individual liberty.
Judicial philosophy – Textualism and Originalism. Judges should apply the laws as written, not as they wish the laws had been written. And they should stay ever mindful of individual liberties.
Any other information you feel would be helpful to your application:
Michael Fischer, senior counsel for the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, wrote to Walker in support of Fredrickson's appointment. Fischer and Fredrickson were law partners for more than eight years at the Kravit law firm, Fischer wrote. WILL filed a brief in a State Supreme Court challenging Gov. Tony Evers' statewide "Safer at Home" orders. The brief, which supported the challenge, was filed in April on behalf of business owners.
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