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Wisconsin Supreme Court faces no election challenge

The plaintiffs' bar's favorite four justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court that issued a series of questionable 4-3 rulings expanding liability in 2005 (Jan. 4; Nov. 23; Aug. 11; Jul. 14) will stay put for another couple of years at least; though one of the four, Justice Patrick Crooks, was up for re-election this year, no one filed to challenge him on the ballot, essentially guaranteeing Crooks another ten-year term. The AP story fails to mention the fact that Crooks had incurred any controversy for his participation in the Court's power grab over the last year. (JR Ross, AP, Jan. 3).

A problem with electing judges is that an election campaign requires an attorney to interrupt her career. Clients needing work during the campaign may need to go elsewhere; clients anticipating long-term projects that will extend beyond election day may not want the risk of having to switch attorneys should their attorney be elected. And if one loses the election, it's difficult to rebuild the practice. All for a job that will pay far less than what an experienced attorney can make in private practice. (A similar problem plagued Miguel Estrada when the Senate filibustered his nomination for over two years; his withdrawal reflected the difficulty of trying to ride two career horses simultaneously.) An election process thus leads to candidates who tend to be prosecutors or other government attorneys—or those well-connected within the plaintiffs' bar.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.