The Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a new rule, effective Jan. 1, 2005, to guide the campaign activity of judges and candidates for judicial offices. Key parts of the new rule follow.
Wisconsin's New Code Governing Judicial Elections
The Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a new rule, effective Jan. 1,
2005, to guide the campaign activity of judges and candidates for
Key parts of the new rule follow.
1) Judges, judges-elect, and nonincumbent candidates for judicial
office are prohibited from personally soliciting or accepting campaign
2) Campaign committees may solicit and accept lawful contributions to
judicial campaigns from lawyers and other contributors. Contributions
may not knowingly be solicited or accepted from litigants with matters
before the court to which election is sought.
3) No restrictions are placed on membership on campaign committees or
the choice of campaign consultants or managers.
4) No special rule is imposed on disqualification or recusal.
5) No new rule sets the timing of judicial campaign fundraising.
6) No special rule governs the use of judicial campaign funds.
1) The rules prohibit campaign rhetoric that commits or appears to
commit a candidate for judicial office to a decision with respect to
particular cases, controversies, or issues likely to come before the
court. Campaign rhetoric concerning court rules or administrative
practices and policies is not restricted.
2) The rules governing judicial elections explicitly prohibit
misrepresentations by candidates, as well as rhetoric that is knowingly
misleading or knowingly likely to confuse the electorate with respect to
the proper role of judges and lawyers in the American adversary
3) No special rule controls campaign speech about decisions of a
sitting judge or decisions of an appellate court.
Other Political Activities
Judges, candidates for judicial office (including those seeking
appointment to the bench), and judges-elect are prohibited from
membership in a political party during the term of office or while a
candidate or judge-elect; office-holding or leadership in a political
party during the term of office or while a candidate or judge-elect; and
active participation in the affairs of a political party during the term
of office or while a candidate. These prohibitions do not apply to an
individual who is a candidate for appointment or election to the bench
while holding a public office that requires him or her to have a
partisan political affiliation.