League of Women Voters Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Survey:
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley
1. What educational, professional, civic and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office?
For the past two decades, I have served Wisconsin as a Justice on our Supreme Court Prior to coming to the Court, I taught high school in La Crosse, practiced law in Wausau, and served as a Marathon County Circuit Court judge. My experience and independence distinguish me in this campaign. I am dedicated to maintaining fair, impartial and non-partisan courts. As a result, I have a long list of bipartisan supporters including Sue Ann Thompson (R), Congressman Ron Kind (D), and Senators Dale Schulz (R) and Tim Cullen (D), together with hundreds of law enforcement professionals and judges.
2. Describe in lay terms the duties of a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. What types of cases are heard by the court?
The fundamental duty of a Supreme Court Justice is to carefully consider each case on its merits and apply the law in order to reach a fair and impartial decision, free from ideological or political considerations or bias. Unlike any other Wisconsin court, Supreme Court Justices choose the cases we hear. The Supreme Court’s written decisions should help clarify for attorneys and for people involved in the cases, important questions of constitutional law. We hear cases in all areas of the law including criminal cases (homicide, assault, child abuse) and civil cases (personal injury, business law, municipal law).
3. What procedural or legislative changes might improve the operations of the court?
Adopting meaningful recusal rules would improve Wisconsin courts. Additionally I address a proposed change that would be harmful. Wisconsin voters are being asked to approve a constitutional amendment that would change the way the Chief Justice is selected. I agree with former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, when opposing the amendment she stated: “The reason for the proposed constitutional amendment … is because there is a dislike by some for our current chief justice, Shirley S. Abrahamson….For us to amend that document because some are unhappy with the style of a particular justice is a terrible mistake.”
4. How will you as a Supreme Court Justice advocate for the independence of the courts?
I have championed keeping partisan politics out of courts from my first campaign through the present. As Wisconsin co-chair of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s initiative to improve understanding of our courts, I travel statewide speaking to students, teachers and civic groups about the importance of an independent judiciary. I serve in leadership positions in organizations promoting the rule of law at home and abroad. Finally, I am holding to a higher standard than is required by our current ethics rules by not accepting contributions from any party or attorney with a case before the Court.
JAMES P. DALEY