Wisconsin Supreme Court Decisions

The Wisconsin Supreme Court focuses on reviewing appeals from the lower appellate court, but it also oversees the practice of law throughout Wisconsin, including the conduct of attorneys and judges. It holds original jurisdiction only in a narrow range of situations. The Supreme Court has issued a Code of Judicial Conduct, divided into five sections. It emphasizes the importance of independence, integrity, and impartiality in the operations of the judiciary, and it warns judges against conflicts of interest and inappropriate political activities. Seven justices serve on the Court, and each of their terms lasts for 10 years.

Article VII, Section 24 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides the eligibility requirements to serve as a justice. A candidate must be under 70 years old and must have been licensed to practice law in the state for at least five years before they are elected or appointed. Wisconsin uses non-partisan elections to choose its justices. These elections may be held in each year in which the term of an active justice ends. No more than one seat may be decided in any year. If a vacancy arises during the middle of a term, the Governor of Wisconsin holds the authority to appoint an interim justice. To stay on the Court, the interim justice must run in an election in the next year in which no other justice’s term ends.

Wisconsin recently changed the process of determining which justice serves as the Chief Justice. This required an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution, which was passed in April 2015. Before the amendment, seniority on the Supreme Court determined the selection of the Chief Justice. Under the new system, the justices vote to elect the Chief Justice, who serves a two-year term in that role. After the amendment was passed, the Chief Justice at the time filed a lawsuit in a federal court to try to block it, but the court dismissed the case.

Browse Opinions From the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Wisconsin Supreme Court
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Michael M. Rajek
Date: October 20, 2020
Docket Number: 2018AP001418-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Leroi John Andrews
Date: October 6, 2020
Docket Number: 2020AP000152-D
Democratic National Committee v. Bostelmann  
Date: October 6, 2020
Docket Number: 2020AP001634-CQ

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by holding that Wis. Stat. 803.09(2m) grants the Wisconsin Legislature the authority to represent the State's interest in the...

Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Guy Norman Maras
Date: September 30, 2020
Docket Number: 2020AP000762-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Jean M. Robinson
Date: September 29, 2020
Docket Number: 2019AP001696-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Coral Dawn Pleas
Date: September 29, 2020
Docket Number: 2020AP000724-D
Hawkins v. Wisconsin Elections Commission  
Date: September 14, 2020
Docket Number: 2020AP001488-OA

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court denied Petitioners' petition for leave to commence an original action and motion for temporary injunctive relief in this election matter, holding that it was too late to grant Petitioners any form of re...

Office of Lawyer Regulation v. James T. Runyon
Date: September 9, 2020
Docket Number: 2019AP001154-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Theodore F. Mazza
Date: September 1, 2020
Docket Number: 2019AP000600-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Christopher S. Petros
Date: July 22, 2020
Docket Number: 2019AP000565-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Wendy Alison Nora
Date: July 14, 2020
Docket Number: 2015AP002442-D
Bartlett v. Evers  
Date: July 10, 2020
Docket Number: 2019AP001376-OA

Justia Opinion Summary: In this original action requesting a declaration that the governor exceeded his constitutional authority in partially vetoing appropriation bills the Supreme Court declared that the vetoes to the school bus modernization...

Wisconsin Small Businesses United, Inc. v. Brennan  
Date: July 10, 2020
Docket Number: 2019AP002054-OA

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court dismissed this original action challenging whether two partial vetoes in the 2017-19 biennial budget exceeded the governor's constitutional authority, holding that this action was barred by the equitabl...

Papa v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services  
Date: July 9, 2020
Docket Numbers: 2017AP000634, 2016AP002082

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case requiring the Supreme Court to determine the scope of the authority of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to recoup payments made to Medicaid service providers the Supreme Court held that DHS...

Service Employees International Union, Local 1 v. Vos  
Date: July 9, 2020
Docket Numbers: 2019AP000622, 2019AP000614-LV

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case arising from the enactment of 2017 Wis. Act 369 and 2017 Wis. Act 370 the Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs did not meet their high burden to demonstrate that the challenged provisions were unconstitutional...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.