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Wisconsin Supreme Court Should Adopt Stronger Recusal Rules

The Brennan Center supported a petition, signed by 54 former members of the Wisconsin judiciary, urging the state supreme court to adopt new standards for how judges step aside in cases where they benefit from campaign contributions.

  • Kate Berry
  • Nathaniel Sobel
Published: March 15, 2017

The Bren­nan Center for Justice submit­ted a letter today support­ing a peti­tion, signed by 54 former members of the Wiscon­sin judi­ciary, urging the state’s supreme court justices to adopt a rule estab­lish­ing an object­ive stand­ard for recusal when a judge has benefited from campaign contri­bu­tions or inde­pend­ent expendit­ures from a party or lawyer.

The Wiscon­sin Supreme Court was sched­uled to consider the peti­tion at an open confer­ence on Thursday, March 16, 2017. But it was removed from the agenda.

The Center’s comments explain how the recusal proposal mitig­ates the risks to judi­cial integ­rity that occur when lawyers and litig­ants provide finan­cial support to judi­cial candid­ates in their elec­tions. “The former judges’ peti­tion presents the Wiscon­sin court with an oppor­tun­ity to bolster public faith in the integ­rity of the Wiscon­sin judi­ciary at a crit­ical moment,” the letter reads.

Down­load the letter here.

Bren­nan Center Comments Support­ing Wiscon­sin Recusal Peti­tion by The Bren­nan Center for Justice on Scribd