Wisconsin State Supreme Court
Then-Gov. Tommy Thompson appointed Wilcox to the court in 1992 after the retirement of Justice William Callow. He won election to a 10-year term in 1997 by handily defeating Milwaukee attorney Walt Kelly in a race that later led to fines against his campaign for alleged evasion of election laws.
Wilcox, 69, said he announced his decision one year before next April's election to give potential candidates time to enter the race. He could have retired this year, but that would have allowed Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle to appoint his replacement.
Now, when I first saw this article I was thinking, "Come on, guys! We gotta get Green into office! The last thing we want is Doyle appointing someone to the Wisconsin Supreme Court!"
But, wait! Elected? Justice Wilcox was elected? Yep. I confirmed it.
The court is comprised of seven justices who are elected in state-wide, non-partisan elections. Each justice is elected for a ten-year term, and only one justice may be elected in any year. In the event of a vacancy on the court, the governor has the power to appoint an individual to the vacancy, but that justice must then stand for election in the first year where no other justice's term expires.
Now, in my own defense, I didn't grow up in Wisconsin. I never went to school in Wisconsin. So, as far as Wisconsin politics go, sometimes I'm very much a foreigner. (Gosh, the things you can learn from reading the newspaper...)
But, my point is that this seems like an very intriguing way to do it! I mean, does this work? Obviously it works well enough for us to get things done, but it's hard to tell if Wisconsinites are actually satisfied with the results. So...
Hmm. The Supreme Court being filled by elected Justices? The SCOTUS actually being representative of the will of the people? It would certainly be an interesting solution to all the partisanship that's been going on. But, naw, it could never happen!
Then again, would we want it to?