Judge Lisa Neubauer retains seat on appeals court; turns back Republican challenger, Judge Paul Bugenhagen

Judge Lisa Neubauer (center)

In another one of the pretend nonpartisan judicial elections, Lisa Neubauer, the chief judge of the District II Appeals Court, which is headquartered in Waukesha, defeated Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul Bughagen

Judge Neubauer attracted  228,670 votes (54%) to Bugenhgen’s 194,959 (46%)

In Green Lake, Neubauser, who was upset in an extremely close race last year by Brian Hagedorn when the two sought a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, surprisingly topped Bugenhagen, 2,453 (54%) to 2068 (46%). By most accounts, Green Lake is a strong Republican county.

Green Lake County is one of the counties included in District II.

As with other so-called nonpartisan judicial elections in Wisconsin, this one also had strong political affiliations with Bughagen receiving support from Republicans and conservatives, while Neubauer was the favorite of progressives and Democrats.

Read article on the election from the Journal Sentinel.

Jill Karofsky upsets incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly for seat on the state’s top court

Newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Jill Karofsky spoke at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.

 

Judge Jill Karofsky’s win in a fight for a seat on the state’s top court was a bit of a pleasant surprise

The Dane County Circuit Court Judge not only defeated incumbent Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly for his seat on the state’s top court, she won by almost 10 percent, a strong showing in a race that had most pre-election day observers uncertain of its outcome.

Karofsky received 812,520 votes to Kelly’s 679,820. Together, they pulled in just over 1.5 million votes. Karofsky’s total reflects 54.5 percent of the vote; Kelly had 45.6 percent.

In 2019, the last time a spot on the top court was open, Brian Hagedorn, heavily backed by conservatives and Republicans, upset Lia Neubauer in a close race. Neubauer, who had the support of most Democrats and Progressives, had been favored. Hagedorn outpolled Neubauer by just over 6,000 votes, 606,414 to 600,433.

Officially, the contest on Tuesday was nonpartisan, but as with the Neubauer-Hagedorn battle, it was clearly a fight between the state’s two major political parties. 

President Donad Trump had publicly endorsed both Hagedorn and Kelly. Kelly had been appointed to the court in 2016 by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Complicating the Karofsky/Kelly race was a number of unexpected issues. First, the CORVID-19 pandemic kept most people from voting in person on Tuesday. And in some locations, such as Milwaukee, only five polling places were open on Tuesday which resulted in long lines of people waiting for hours to vote.

Because of the pandemic, many voters voted via absentee ballots and there were reports of people requesting but not receiving their ballots in time to vote. Finally, according to other reports, some bags of absentee ballots were found sitting in some post offices after the polls closed on Tuesday, too late to be counted. 

A key to the Karofsky win appears to be the strong voter turnout. Last year, Neubauer and Hagedorn together earned 1,207,564 votes.  This year, Karofsky and Kelly collected a total of just under 1.5 million votes, for an gain of 300,000. Neubauer, in 2019, gained 606,433 votes. Karofsky, who ran a more aggressive campaign, topped her this April by about 212,000 votes. Kelly also did slightly better than Hagedorn,  his conservative benchmate, pulling in about 73,000 more votes than Hagedorn.

View article on the Karofsky/Kelley race from the Wisconsin Examiner.

 

 

MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THIS OUT: A critical look at the Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Daniel Kelly and Jill Karofsky

If you are looking for an excellent analysis of the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court battle being waged right now by incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Governor Scott Walker, and challenger Jill Karofsky, who is a Dane County Circuit Court judge, this article from the Wisconsin Examiner, is an excellent read.

The thrust of the article is that the election will decide the direction of the court for years to come. Accordingly, if you are concerned about the fairness of our court system, you need to understand where both candidates sit on key issues.

Thanks to Ken Knight for alerting us to the article, which you can view and read here.

When you’re done with the article, please share it with everyone you know who has not yet voted, and urge them to share with their friends, neighbors, family, and acquaintances.

Conservatives and the Republican State Leadership Committee running misleading ads in effort to defeat Jill Karofsky

Judge Jill Karofsky is a candidate for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court seat now held by conservative Daniel Kelly, a Scott Walker appointee.

They have started, as expected. Conservative groups opposed to Judge Jill Karofsky have started running ads against her as she fights to take a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat away from seating Justice Daniel Kelley, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Karofsky and Kelley face off in the April 7 spring general election.

According to PolitiFacts, the ads contain wrong information. Why are we not surprised? In 2018, conservatives backing Brian Hagedorn, who was battling favored Lisa Nuebauer for a seat on the state’s top court, also launched a series of last-minute ads, mostly on television, that distorted her record. Neubauer was apparently caught off her guard and many observers feel the negative ad campaign helped Hagedorn, another favorite of the Walker administration, upset Neubauer.

Could the same thing happen to Karofsky, who is campaigning hard for the post? Guess we will have to wait and see. The irony, of course, is the election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is supposed to be nonpartisan.  Clearly, it is not, with Kelly receiving considerable support for the state’s Republican Party and Karofsky earning support from many Democrats. 

Read more from the PolitiFacts article.

Marsy’s Law question is on your ballot. If you are not sure what this is, we offer several explanations

One of the items on your ballot this April (or now if you are voting early) deals with a somewhat controversial amendment to the state’s constitution that supporters of the referendum claim will enhance and protect victim’s rights. On the surface, this sounds great, but there are also opponents of the measure. In the media, it is called Marsy’s Law.

If you want to understand both sides of the argument, check out this 2018 article from the Pew Charitable Trusts website. 

If you want to know more about this, you can Google it and you will find a wealth of information that presents both sides.

Here is an article that describes how in Pennsylavia the ACLU and the League of Women Voters sued to prevent it being placed on the ballot.

View a PBS segment on the law.

As expected, Wisconsin’s Dems and Republicans differ on criminal justice reform

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers

This, unfortunately, was expected. A week after Democrats introduced legislation designed as a “first step” toward criminal justice reform in the state, Republican lawmakers unveiled legislation to counter what the Dems proposed, and as expected, the two sets of legislation define criminal justice reform quite differently.

In his successful campaign for Governor, in 2018, Tony Evers, a Democrat, said if elected one of his goals would be to halve the state’s growing prison population. He acknowledged last when talking about the “first step” legislation that its chances for being enacted depending on bipartisan support and that without it, the reforms introduced by his party would have little chance for passage.

Evers, did, however, say that he hoped his reform package would help create bipartisan debates on the issues surrounding criminal justice reform. Well, according to the Wisconsin State Journal article dated Jan. Jan. 15, it worked, although perhaps not the way Evers and his Democratic colleagues hoped.

In a nutshell the Evers plan would decrease the number of adults in Wisconsin prisons, while the Republican plan would not. It, in fact, it would, if passed, see more adults spending time in prison.

Read this article from the Wisconsin State Journal written after Evers introduced his plan earlier this month. Then read another Wisconsin State Journal article on the Republican plan introduced a week later.

U.S. District Court judge decries Trump’s attack on the judicial system

In an unusually critical speech that lamented the public’s flagging confidence in the independence of the judicial branch, a federal judge slammed President Trump for “feeding right into this destructive narrative” with repeated attacks and personal insults toward judges he dislikes.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman of the District of Columbia said Trump’s rhetoric “violates all recognized democratic norms” during a speech at the annual Judge Thomas A. Flannery Lecture in Washington on Wednesday.

“We are in unchartered territory,” said Friedman, 75, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “We are witnessing a chief executive who criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him, sometimes in very personal terms. He seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.”

Thanks to Ken Knight for alerting us to this article.

Read entire article.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet endorses Judge Karofsky for seat on the state’s top court

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet is encouraging the state’s voters to elect Judge Jill Karofsky for a seat on the high court in the April 2020 election.

In a prepared statement, Dallet, who was first elected to the court in 2018, said:

“We need Judge Jill Karofsky on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Good judges stand up for the rule of law, independent courts, and our constitutional rights. In Jill’s career, she has stood up for our rights every day.

“As a judge, as a prosecutor, as the director of the state office for victim services, and as a community leader, Jill Karofsky has what it takes to make our system better. She’s a tremendous athlete, and she’s tough as nails. And most importantly, Jill shares our values and will stand up for a better Wisconsin.

“I hope you’ll join me in endorsing Judge Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin Supreme Court and help make Wisconsin stronger.”

In case you missed it: here is a condensed version of Judge Karofsky’s bio

 

In case you missed this information when we provided it earlier, here is a condensed bio for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Judge Jill Karofsky:

Judge Jill Karofsky is a former state and local prosecutor, served as executive director for the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services, and worked as general counsel for the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Born and raised in south-central Wisconsin, she attended public schools where she was a state tennis champion. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Duke University, where she was a Division I athlete, she earned two degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Karofsky received the WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s “Voices of Courage Award,” was named the WI Victim/Witness Professional Association’s “Professional of the Year,” and earned a “Significant Impact” Award from a local organization dedicated to ending domestic violence.

She currently serves on the Wisconsin Judicial Education Committee and chairs the Violence Against Women STOP Grant committee. She previously co-chaired the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team, and served on the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, the WI Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council, and the Dane County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors  

Karofsky has two children, a daughter in college and a son in high school. 

Her campaign can be found at JillForJustice.com, on Facebook at /jillforjustice, and on Twitter at @judgekarofsky.

Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone seeks Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat now held by Judge Dan Kelly

Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone is making his second bid for a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. In late March of this year, Fallone announced his intention to run for the seat now held by conservative judge Dan Kelly, a Scott Walker appointee. Kelly was named to the bench in 2016. Kelly has announced that he will seek the post again in the 2020 election.

An article in the Journal-Sentinel earlier this year stated, “In 2013, Fallone’s campaign was dogged by the criticism that he had never been a judge. As he [Fallone] notes, Kelly was never a judge before former Gov. Scott Walker appointed him to the high court in 2016.

“Fallone said nothing in Kelly’s experience or education made him a likely appointee, and that his work on the redistricting case for the Republican party won him the seat. And since he’s been on the court, he’s demonstrated those leanings in his rulings,”

Fallone and Jill Karofsky will face off in a primary election on Feb. 18. The winner will then enter the general election is April 7, 2020.

Fallone’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/falloneforjustice/  

His website is https://www.falloneforjustice.com/

 

 

Judge Jill Karofsky enters Wisconsin State Supreme Court race

Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky has announced that she is running for a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court now held by conservative state Supreme Court Judge Dan Kelly, who has announced that he will seek reelection in 2020.

As referenced in a Wisconsin State Journal article on May 2, “Karofsky’s announcement comes just weeks after conservative-backed Judge Brian Hagedorn beat liberal-backed Judge Lisa Neubauer for a seat on the court, ensuring it will retain a conservative majority at least through 2023.”

The article goes on to state that “The Supreme Court race next year is already taking shape. Liberal-backed Marquette Law School professor Ed Fallone, who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the high court in 2013, announced his 2020 run in March.”

Kelly was appointed to the court in 2016 by former Gov. Scott Walker.

In a email to possible supporters of her mom, Karofsky’s daughter, included the following information on Judge Karofsky: “A former state and local prosecutor, served as executive director for the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services, and worked as general counsel for the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Born and raised in south-central Wisconsin, she attended public schools where she was a state tennis champion. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Duke University, where she was a Division I athlete, she earned two degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Karofsky received the WI Coalition for Sexual Assault’s “Voices of Courage Award,” was named the WI Victim/Witness Professional Association’s “Professional of the Year,” and earned a “Significant Impact” Award from a local organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. She currently serves on the Wisconsin Judicial Education Committee and chairs the Violence Against Women STOP Grant committee. She previously co-chaired the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team, and served on the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, the WI Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council, and the Dane County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors.

Karofsky has two children, a daughter in college and a son in high school.

Her campaign can be found at JillForJustice.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jillforjustice/, and on Twitter at @judgekarofsky.

Brian Hagedorn. Lisa Neubauer’s opponent in April 2 election for State Supreme Court, appearing at Ripon College on Monday, March 11.

The following is a slightly edited version of an announcement posted by Jaye Alderson, March 6, 2019, in Political PublicationsSpecial Event on the Ripon College website.

Brian Hagedorn, who is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, will speak at Ripon College, on Monday, March 11.

His talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Ripon College Republicans is [sic] hosting Hagedorn’s talk.

Hagedorn is running for the State Supreme Court in the election on April 2. His opponent is Judge Lisa Neubauer.

Hagedorn is a judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, serving in the court’s Waukesha-based District II since Aug. 1, 2015.

Hagedorn served as chief legal counsel to Gov. Scott Walker for almost five years, where he managed litigation in partnership with the attorney general, served as the top ethics officer for the administration, advised on legal policy issues, oversaw judicial and district attorney appointments, and provided legal analysis on proposed legislation.Walker appointed him to the bench in 2015 and won election to a new six-year term in April 2017. He was appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to serve on the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which oversees enforcement of the judicial code of ethics.
He also has served as an assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, a law clerk for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, and as an attorney in private practice for a Milwaukee law firm.

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