Wisconsin Lawyer: Former Supreme Court Justice Roland B. Day remembered for humor and foresight:

State Bar of Wisconsin

Sign In

Top Link Bar

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer

News & Pubs Search

Advanced

    Former Supreme Court Justice Roland B. Day remembered for humor and foresight

    Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Roland B. Day died on July 26. He was 89. He is remembered by supreme court colleagues for fostering collegiality and working toward more prompt release of opinions. "He used his sense of humor, foresight, and administrative skills to move the court forward," said Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson.
    Share This:

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 81, No. 9, September 2008

    Legal News & Trends

    Former Supreme Court Justice Roland B. Day remembered for humor and foresight

    Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Roland B. Day died on July 26. He was 89. He is remembered by supreme court colleagues for fostering collegiality and working toward more prompt release of opinions. "He used his sense of humor, foresight, and administrative skills to move the court forward," said Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson.

    Day was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Gov. Patrick Lucey in 1974 and was elected in 1976 and reelected in 1986. He became the chief justice in August 1995 and retired a year later.

    "Day chose to serve just one year as chief justice, but he used that time wisely to help improve the administration of justice and to encourage better public understanding of the court," said Abrahamson, who became chief justice when Day retired. Retired Justice Jon P. Wilcox recalls, "When dates and times were in question, the court turned to Justice Day. He had a photographic memory and was a living encyclopedia of knowledge not only of the law, but of a vast array of subjects." 

    Former State Bar president and long-time friend John Skilton said, "Justice Day was a well-respected jurist who left his mark on Wisconsin law in seminal cases such as Chart v. General Motors - the hotly-contested Corvair case that set the stage for the `modern' products liability case in Wisconsin. Justice Day was known for his sharp wit - which was occasionally biting. He gave proud service to the state of Wisconsin, and we the lawyers, in turn, are proud of him."

    Born in 1919 in Oshkosh and raised in Eau Claire, Day received his J.D. from the U.W. in 1947 after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.

    Day was a law trainee in the Attorney General's office in 1947 and was the first assistant district attorney for Dane County from 1949 to 1952. From 1957 to 1958, he served as legal counsel to Sen. William Proxmire in Washington, D.C. After returning to Madison, Day resumed law practice until 1974.

    While on the supreme court, Day was a member of the Judicial Council and the Council of Criminal Justice. He was a member of the inaugural Class of Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation. He served as chair of the Madison Public Housing Authority, which during his tenure built the first public housing units in Madison. He was special counsel to Gov. John W. Reynolds in the reapportionment case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which became the first state court in the nation to reapportion legislative districts on the basis of one person, one vote. He also represented the Madison mayor in a civil action challenging his right to go forward with the building of the Monona Terrace Civic Center and served on the U.W. System's Board of Regents from 1972 to 1974. In 2002, at the request of Bishop William Bullock, Day chaired the Madison Catholic Diocese Review Board on Sexual Abuse.




To view or add comment, Login