Wisconsin Supreme Court Fact Sheet
What is the Wisconsin State Supreme Court?
- The state’s highest court
- The final court of appeals on cases that began in the state court system (cases involving federal laws can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court)
- Responsible for determining if laws violate the Wisconsin Constitution
- Establishes and enforces procedural rules and codes of conduct for Wisconsin attorneys, judges, and justices
- Located in Madison, Wisconsin
What do I need to know about the Justices?
- The Supreme Court consists of seven justices.
- Justices are chosen in nonpartisan statewide elections to serve for ten-year terms. There are no term limits for justices.
- Justices are elected in April and take office the following August 1.
- The justices elect one of themselves to be the chief justice (administrative head of the court system) every two years.
- The justices decide which cases to review. They do not agree to hear every case brought to them.
The state Supreme Court takes on cases with issues that impact many people in Wisconsin. Their rulings decide:
- Judicial recusal
- Education policy
- Women’s rights
- Economic development
- Voting rights
- Labor rights
Further reading on the impact of the state supreme court: https://www.wicourts.gov/courts/supreme/famouscases.htm
How do you evaluate judicial candidates?
1. Decide what you are looking for in a candidate.
- What issues are important to you?
- What qualities do you want in a leader?
- Which candidate’s judicial philosophies align with your values?
2. Learn about the candidates.
- Visit their websites, watch candidate forums and interviews, go to VOTE411.org, seek other nonpartisan sources for information.
- What are their qualifications?
- What are their judicial philosophies?
- What are their judicial records?
3. Sort it out.
- Which candidate’s judicial philosophies and views on the role of a Supreme Court Justice best match your own views?
- Who seems most prepared for the job?
- Who has the leadership qualities you are looking for?