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. Christopher A. Mutschler
Date: September 25, 2019
Docket Number: 2010AP001939-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Tracy R. Eichhorn-Hicks
Date: September 24, 2019
Docket Number: 2018AP002347-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Elizabeth Farrell
Date: September 10, 2019
Docket Number: 2019AP001207-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Cole J. White
Date: August 23, 2019
Docket Number: 2017AP001882-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Gordon C. Ring
Date: August 23, 2019
Docket Number: 2019AP001148-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Thomas D. Vaitys
Date: August 22, 2019
Docket Number: 2017AP001247-D
Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Robert Zapf
Date: July 10, 2019
Docket Number: 2016AP002514-D
Wisconsin Judicial Commission v. Kachinsky  
Date: July 9, 2019
Docket Number: 2018AP000628-J

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the judicial misconduct of the Honorable Leonard D. Kachinsky, a former municipal judge for the Village of Fox Crossing Municipal Court, warranted a three-year suspension of eligibility for th...

Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Kathleen Anna Wagner
Date: July 3, 2019
Docket Number: 2014AP002528-D
State v. Randall  
Date: July 2, 2019
Docket Number: 2017AP001518-CR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's judgment granting Defendant's motion to suppress a test of Defendant's blood sample, holding that the State lawfully obtained...

L. G. v. Aurora Residential Alternatives, Inc.  
Date: June 28, 2019
Docket Number: 2018AP000656

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the order of the court of appeals dismissing the appeal of an order of the circuit court denying a request to compel arbitration and stay a pending lawsuit pending arbitration, holding that a c...

Enbridge Energy Co. v. Dane County  
Date: June 27, 2019
Docket Numbers: 2017AP000013, 2016AP002503

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court striking two insurance conditions from a conditional use permit (CUP) Dane County issued to Enbridge Energy Comp...

Koschkee v. Taylor  
Date: June 25, 2019
Docket Number: 2017AP002278-OA

Justia Opinion Summary: In this original action brought by Plaintiffs, two licensed teachers and two school board members, against the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) arguing that, prior...

League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Evers  
Date: June 21, 2019
Docket Number: 2019AP000559

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court declaring the Wisconsin Legislature's December 2018 extraordinary session unconstitutional, enjoining enforcement of all legislation passed during the session, and...

State v. Cooper  
Date: June 20, 2019
Docket Number: 2016AP000375-CR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court denying Defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea, holding that the disciplining of Defendant's attorney for professional misconduct that included his han...

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.