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. Jean M. Robinson
Date: October 22, 2021
Docket Number: 2019AP001696-D
Jama I. Jama v. Jason C. Gonzalez
Date: October 20, 2021
Docket Number: 2019AP000629
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Sandra J. Zenor
Date: September 28, 2021
Docket Number: 2021AP000518-D
State v. Manuel Garcia
Date: September 24, 2021
Docket Number: 2018AP002319-CR
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Robert B. Moodie
Date: August 31, 2021
Docket Number: 2018AP001781-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Daniel Parks
Date: August 20, 2021
Docket Number: 2016AP000085-D
Wisconsin Judicial Commission v. Honorable Scott C. Woldt  
Date: July 13, 2021
Docket Number: 2020AP001028-J

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court concluded that the Honorable Scott C. Woldt, a judge for the Winnebago County circuit court, willfully violated several rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which constituted judicial misconduct under...

Clean Wisconsin, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  
Date: July 8, 2021
Docket Number: 2016AP001688

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court deciding that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had the explicit authority to impose and animal unit maximum condition and an off-site groundwat...

Clean Wisconsin, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  
Date: July 8, 2021
Docket Number: 2018AP000059

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning eight applications to operate high capacity groundwater wells the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court with a modification that the circuit court remand all eight well application...

St. Augustine School v. Taylor  
Date: July 2, 2021
Docket Number: 2021AP000265-CQ

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court answered a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding whether a private school was entitled to receive public funding to transport children to its schoo...

State v. Burch  
Date: June 29, 2021
Docket Number: 2019AP001404-CR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for first-degree intentional homicide, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims that the trial court erred in denying two pre-trial evidentiary ord...

Abby D. Padlock v. Board of Bar Examiners
Date: June 29, 2021
Docket Number: 2020AP001945-BA
Schwab v. Schwab  
Date: June 22, 2021
Docket Number: 2019AP001200

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the order of the circuit court concluding that it had the authority to order Paul Schwab to comply with a marital settlement agreement entered int...

Monroe v. Chase  
Date: June 22, 2021
Docket Number: 2019AP001918

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court dismissing, for failure to state a claim, Plaintiff's complaint alleging malicious prosecution, holding that a withdrawal of a prior proceeding may satisfy the fa...

State v. Prado  
Date: June 18, 2021
Docket Number: 2016AP000308-CR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals determining that Wisconsin's incapacitated driver provision contained within the implied consent statute, Wis. Stat. 343.305, was unconstitutional, holding...

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.