Briefs: Judge seeks election to county executive+.

Byline: David Ziemer

Judge Wagner to go forward with action on eligibility for county executive spot

Although the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted not to accept original action in #02-0375, Jeffrey A. Wagner v. Milwaukee County Election Commission, Judge Wagner will continue to pursue the action.

On Feb. 7, 2002, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner filed a Petition for Leave to Commence an Original Action Seeking Declaratory Judgment regarding the interpretation of Art. VII, § 10(1) of the Wisconsin Constitution. Wagner is considering running for county executive in the wake of F. Thomas Ament's resignation in the wake of a pension scandal.

Specifically, the petitioner requested "expeditious resolution" of the following question:

Whether Article VII, § 10(1) of the Wisconsin Constitution deprives petitioner, a circuit judge of Milwaukee County, of the liberty to run for and hold a nonjudicial office of public trust within six years of being elected, even if petitioner resigns as a circuit judge.

On Feb. 26, 2002, the Milwaukee County Election Commission filed its response, indicating that it neither supports nor opposes the petition, and indicating further that it has "no institutional interest in the question of whether [the petitioner] should be allowed to run for and hold the office of county executive."

In light of the lack of opposition, the court concluded that it should not take the case. In its Feb. 28 order, the court reasoned, "A primary difficulty here is that, in light of the response of the Milwaukee County Elections Board, there is no respondent who is taking a position adverse to the petitioner. The Office of the Attorney General might wish to act as the respondent in this matter. Any new respondent would need time to become familiar with the issues and prepare a brief on the merits of this case for our consideration. Under these conditions, the March 5 deadline will have passed."

March 5 is the deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers.

The court found, "because of the time required to identify an adverse respondent who can file a brief on the issues presented, we cannot reach a decision on this matter within the expeditious time frame requested by the petitioner."

Nevertheless, the court acknowledged that the petition presents an important issue and is an appropriate subject for the exercise of this court's original jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court gave Judge Wagner the option of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT