Boots & Sabers

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1732, 22 Jul 16

Attorney Dan Kelly Tapped for Wisconsin Supreme Court

I thought Walker would go with Gundrum, but this is a good pick.

Attorney Dan Kelly promised Friday his personal and political beliefs will play no role in his rulings as a state Supreme Court justice.

But Gov. Scott Walker cut off any deeper questions about Kelly’s past writings that compared affirmative action to slavery or his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Asked about the writings, which were included in Kelly’s application to replace Justice David Prosser, the attorney said there is a bright line between a judge’s personal beliefs and the role of the courts.

“As soon as we step into the courtroom all of our personal, political and philosophical beliefs take a backseat,” Kelly said. “The primary and only job of a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is to apply the law as written.”

When a reporter asked a follow-up question about the writings, Walker said the “answer is pretty clear,” adding he doesn’t want an activist on the court from the right or the left. Another reporter attempted to ask Kelly what the writings say about his judicial philosophy. But Walker said the question had already been answered, again stressing his belief about the court’s role.

“I answered it for you,” Walker said. “If you don’t like the answer, that’s fine.”

Kelly, who will join the court after Prosser’s resignation at the end of July, would have to run in 2020 for a full 10-year term on the bench. Walker also stepped in when a reporter tried to ask Kelly if he plans to run in four years.

The guv said he did not ask Kelly about his intentions for 2020, but that his expectation generally is that his judicial appointments will seek to retain the seat.

The notion that justices aren’t supposed to have had opinions on things is fairly silly. Of course he has some opinions about issues. Everybody does. I hope he is a fair judge who rules according to what the law says and not what he thinks it should be. We will all have plenty of time to evaluate his performance before he stands for election (assuming he does).


1732, 22 July 2016


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