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Thursday, March 30, 2006 

Justice Wilcox to Retire

Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Jon P. Wilcox is going to retire in 2007. Beyond his long and distinguished legal career, Wilcox made a huge impact with two very forceful dissents in the 2005 term.
Last summer, Wilcox wrote one of two dissenting opinions to a 4-2 Supreme Court decision that allowed a Milwaukee teenager with lead poisoning to pursue a case against a number of companies that made lead paint, even though the teen doesn't know which is responsible for his injuries. His dissent said the majority's opinion would have "drastic consequences" for those doing business in the state.

Wilcox also opposed a decision that threw out limits on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases.

Those decisions are cited by some who say that Wisconsin's liability climate is slipping.
The concerns in his dissents were echoed by Judge Diane Sykes in her recent speech at Marquette.

Speaking of concerns, I'm concerned about who will be replacing Justice Wilcox...
Madison attorney Linda Clifford already intended to run for the Supreme Court in 2007 and said Tuesday that Wilcox's retirement doesn't change her plans.

Jim Pugh, spokesman for business trade group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said he expected that the business community would seek to recruit a candidate with a philosophy similar to Wilcox's to fill his seat.
I'm worried about the direction that the WISC is going. Supreme Court elections don't exactly capture the public's attention. Justices who run for re-election rarely get defeated. I think that an open race like this is full of opportunity. It will also be important for the shifting ideological balance of the Court. Will it keep shifting in the direction that it has, or will this election hold the line?

I'm worried as well... the GOP better campaign a bit or else the court will move to the sharp left. WI SC lost some conservativism after Sykes left, and now Wilcox's void could jeopardize the progress of School Choice more than Doyle has tried to. Any potential candidates in mind, Steve?

Unless I see an about face in the direction this state has been going, I'm out of here in 2010. Then they lemmings can follow the socialist in this state right down the path to bankruptcy. I love wisconsin, but I've never been for the bananna republic it's becoming.

Super Ego: If the GOP doesn't, the business community will. There is enough to lose by having an even strong majority on the WI SC that's going to repeat their 2005 performance.

As far as names, it's a tough call. I'm a big believer in Supreme Courts in general having experienced, lower court judges with a track record. However, if the WI SC wants to act like a political body (crafting policy in its decisions), I would support someone who isn't a judge but has a strong track record elsewhere in the legal world. US Attorney Steve Biskupic comes to mind, as does JB Van Hollen. A candidate who has name recognition is good too. Both of these men have it.

I'll think about it more and do some additional research.

Billiam: I understand your frustration. My only hope is that the governor's election starts the ball rolling in the right direction (pun intended).

I actually have a few names from the MULS faculty in mind. But I'll refrain from naming them as to not create the appearance of sucking up. LeT me finisH this commEnt by praising the DEdicAted meN and women on the law school staff.

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  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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