Vol. 76, No. 8, August
Bablitch retires from supreme court
After 20 years as a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice,
William A. Bablitch retires this month.
"I have had an extraordinarily fulfilling and satisfying career,"
said Bablitch. "My public service, encompassing all three branches of
government, spans seven governors. I have enormous respect for all of my
colleagues, who without exception are completely dedicated to the law
and justice. Wisconsin can be proud of its supreme court, and I am proud
to have been a member. I am grateful to the citizens of Wisconsin for
allowing me to serve them, and deeply humbled and honored by their
Bablitch was elected Portage County district attorney in 1968. In
1972, he was elected state senator, relying on a grassroots campaign
comprising mostly student volunteers.
Bablitch's proudest accomplishment in the Senate was passing revised
sexual assault laws. He authored the bill and led the fight in the
Legislature to modernize Wisconsin's antiquated rape law. The new law
became a model for legislation nationwide. Bablitch also authored the
first campaign reform law, which restricted campaign spending and
established public financing of political campaigns. Other leadership
accomplishments in the Legislature include creating the Citizens'
Utility Board, expanding mandatory reporting of child abuse, and passing
the marital property law.
In 1983 Bablitch ran successfully for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. As
a justice, Bablitch has authored many opinions supporting Wisconsin's
environment, open government, consumer protection, and victim's rights.
He authored a dissenting opinion in support of Wisconsin's hate crimes
law, a position that the U.S. Supreme Court later adopted.
In 1995 Bablitch originated and planned the Judicial Glass Ceiling
conference, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, which drew 250
attendees and inspired many women to seek judicial careers.
Bablitch intends to remain active in the public arena, do some
writing, and explore teaching, mediation, consulting, and public