The court will invalidate legislation only for constitutional violations. State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983).
A statute that required the withholding of a judge's salary for failure to decide cases within a specified time was an unconstitutional intrusion by the legislature into an area of exclusive judicial authority. In Matter of Complaint Against Grady, 118 Wis. 2d 762, 348 N.W.2d 559 (1984).
When confronted with a direct conflict between a decision of the state supreme court and a later decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on a matter of federal law, the court of appeals may certify the case to the state supreme court under s. 809.61. If it does not, or certification is not accepted, the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution compels adherence to U.S. Supreme Court precedent on matters of federal law, although it means deviating from a conflicting decision of the state supreme court. State v. Jennings, 2002 WI 44, 252 Wis. 2d 228, 647 N.W.2d 142, 00-1680.
The Virginia supreme court was not immune from suit under s. 1983. Supreme Court of Virginia v. Consumers Union, 446 U.S. 719 (1980).
Inherent power and administrative court reform. 58 MLR 133.
VII,4 Supreme court: election, chief justice, court system administration. Section 4. [As amended Nov. 1877, April 1889, April 1903 and April 1977]
VII,4(1) (1) The supreme court shall have 7 members who shall be known as justices of the supreme court. Justices shall be elected for 10-year terms of office commencing with the August 1 next succeeding the election. Only one justice may be elected in any year. Any 4 justices shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of the court's business.
VII,4(2) (2) The justice having been longest a continuous member of said court, or in case 2 or more such justices shall have served for the same length of time, the justice whose term first expires, shall be the chief justice. The justice so designated as chief justice may, irrevocably, decline to serve as chief justice or resign as chief justice but continue to serve as a justice of the supreme court.
VII,4(3) (3) The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of the judicial system and shall exercise this administrative authority pursuant to procedures adopted by the supreme court. The chief justice may assign any judge of a court of record to aid in the proper disposition of judicial business in any court of record except the supreme court. [1876 J.R. 10, 1877 J.R. 1, 1877 c. 48, vote Nov. 1877; 1887 J.R. 5, 1889 J.R. 3, 1889 c. 22, vote April 1889; 1901 J.R. 8, 1903 J.R. 7, 1903 c. 10, vote April 1903; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
Voting and Electoral Politics in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Czarnezki. 87 MLR 323.
VII,5 Judicial circuits. Section 5. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,5 Court of appeals. Section 5. [As created April 1977]
VII,5(1) (1) The legislature shall by law combine the judicial circuits of the state into one or more districts for the court of appeals and shall designate in each district the locations where the appeals court shall sit for the convenience of litigants.
VII,5(2) (2) For each district of the appeals court there shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the district one or more appeals judges as prescribed by law, who shall sit as prescribed by law. Appeals judges shall be elected for 6-year terms and shall reside in the district from which elected. No alteration of district or circuit boundaries shall have the effect of removing an appeals judge from office during the judge's term. In case of an increase in the number of appeals judges, the first judge or judges shall be elected for full terms unless the legislature prescribes a shorter initial term for staggering of terms.
VII,5(3) (3) The appeals court shall have such appellate jurisdiction in the district, including jurisdiction to review administrative proceedings, as the legislature may provide by law, but shall have no original jurisdiction other than by prerogative writ. The appeals court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction and shall have supervisory authority over all actions and proceedings in the courts in the district. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
The court of appeals does not have jurisdiction to entertain an original action unrelated to its supervisory or appellate authority over circuit courts. State ex rel. Swan v. Elections Board, 133 Wis. 2d 87, 394 N.W.2d 732 (1986).
The court of appeals is authorized to exercise its supervisory authority over a chief judge who is ruling on a substitution request. James L.J. v. Walworth County Circuit Court, 200 Wis. 2d 496, 546 N.W.2d 460 (1996), 94-2043.
Only the supreme court has the power to overrule, modify, or withdraw language from a published opinion of the court of appeals. Cook v. Cook, 208 Wis. 2d 166, 560 N.W.2d 246 (1997), 95-1963.
A Shift in the Bottleneck: The Appellate Caseload Problem Twenty Years After the Creation of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Garlys. 1998 WLR 1547.
VII,6 Circuit court: boundaries. Section 6. [As amended April 1977] The legislature shall prescribe by law the number of judicial circuits, making them as compact and convenient as practicable, and bounding them by county lines. No alteration of circuit boundaries shall have the effect of removing a circuit judge from office during the judge's term. In case of an increase of circuits, the first judge or judges shall be elected. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
VII,7 Circuit court: election. Section 7. [As amended April 1897, Nov. 1924 and April 1977] For each circuit there shall be chosen by the qualified electors thereof one or more circuit judges as prescribed by law. Circuit judges shall be elected for 6-year terms and shall reside in the circuit from which elected. [1895 J.R. 8, 1897 J.R. 9, 1897 c. 69, vote April 1897; 1921 J.R. 24S, 1923 J.R. 64, 1923 c. 408, vote Nov. 1924; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
VII,8 Circuit court: jurisdiction. Section 8. [As amended April 1977] Except as otherwise provided by law, the circuit court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal within this state and such appellate jurisdiction in the circuit as the legislature may prescribe by law. The circuit court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
Although prohibition is not the appropriate remedy to suppress prosecution on an illegal search warrant, the supreme court treated the case as a petition for habeas corpus. State ex rel. Furlong v. Waukesha County Court, 47 Wis. 2d 515, 177 N.W.2d 333.
Certiorari cannot be used to upset the legislative discretion of a city council but the court should review the council's action to determine whether there was a rational factual basis for it. The review is limited to the record consisting of the petition and the return to the writ, plus matters of which the court could take judicial notice. State ex rel. Hippler v. Baraboo, 47 Wis. 2d 603, 178 N.W.2d 1.
A writ of prohibition may not be used to test the admissibility of evidence at an impending trial. State ex rel. Cortez v. Bd. of F. & P. Comm. 49 Wis. 2d 130, 181 N.W.2d 378.
Jurisdiction depends not on whether the relief asked for is available, but on whether the court has the power to hear the kind of action brought. It is not defeated by the possibility that averments in a complaint might fail to state a cause of action, for any such failure calls for a judgment on the merits not for a dismissal for want of jurisdiction. Murphy v. Miller Brewing Co. 50 Wis. 2d 323, 184 N.W.2d 141.
Mandamus is a discretionary writ and the order of a trial court refusing to quash it will not be reversed except for an abuse of discretion. A court can treat it as a motion for declaratory relief. Milwaukee County v. Schmidt, 52 Wis. 2d 58, 187 N.W.2d 777.
Differences between common law and statutory certiorari are discussed. Browndale International v. Board of Adjustment, 60 Wis. 2d 182, 208 N.W.2d 121.
The statutory designation of circuit court branches as criminal court branches does not deprive other branches of criminal jurisdiction. Dumer v. State, 64 Wis. 2d 590, 219 N.W.2d 592.
Circuit court review of a decision of the city of Milwaukee Board of Fire and Police Commissioners was proper via writ of certiorari. Edmonds v. Board of Fire & Police Commrs. 66 Wis. 2d 337, 224 N.W.2d 575.
A judge having jurisdiction of the person and subject matter involved and acting within that jurisdiction and in his or her judicial capacity, is exempt from civil liability. Abdella v. Catlin, 79 Wis. 2d 270, 255 N.W.2d 516.
The circuit courts are constitutional courts with plenary jurisdiction. They do not depend solely upon statute for their powers. However in certain cases with vast social ramifications not addressed by statute, prudence requires the courts to refuse to exercise their jurisdiction. As such, circuit courts are prohibited from exercising jurisdiction regarding sterilization of incompetents. In Matter of Guardianship of Eberhardy, 102 Wis. 2d 539, 307 N.W.2d 881 (1981).
Because courts have exclusive criminal jurisdiction, criminal charges against the defendant were not collaterally estopped even though a parole revocation hearing examiner concluded that defendant's acts did not merit parole revocation. State v. Spanbauer, 108 Wis. 2d 548, 322 N.W.2d 511 (Ct. App. 1982).
While circuit courts possess plenary jurisdiction not dependent upon legislative authorization, under some circumstances they may lack competency to act. Interest of L.M.C. 146 Wis. 2d 377, 430 N.W.2d 352 (Ct. App. 1988).
Challenges to a circuit court's competency are waived if not raised in the circuit court, subject to the reviewing court's inherent authority to overlook a waiver in appropriate cases or engage in discretionary review of a waived competency challenge pursuant to ss. 751.06 or 752.35. Lack of competency is not jurisdictional and does not result in a void judgment. Accordingly, it is not true that a motion for relief from judgment on grounds of lack of circuit court competency may be made at any time. Village of Trempealeau v. Mikrut, 2004 WI 79, 273 Wis. 2d 76, 681 N.W.2d 190, 03-0534.
VII,9 Judicial elections, vacancies. Section 9. [As amended April 1953 and April 1977] When a vacancy occurs in the office of justice of the supreme court or judge of any court of record, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor, which shall continue until a successor is elected and qualified. There shall be no election for a justice or judge at the partisan general election for state or county officers, nor within 30 days either before or after such election. [1951 J.R. 41, 1953 J.R. 12, vote April 1953; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
VII,10 Judges: eligibility to office. Section 10. [As amended Nov. 1912 and April 1977]
VII,10(1) (1) No justice of the supreme court or judge of any court of record shall hold any other office of public trust, except a judicial office, during the term for which elected. No person shall be eligible to the office of judge who shall not, at the time of election or appointment, be a qualified elector within the jurisdiction for which chosen.
VII,10(2) (2) Justices of the supreme court and judges of the courts of record shall receive such compensation as the legislature may authorize by law, but may not receive fees of office. [1909 J.R. 34, 1911 J.R. 24, 1911 c. 665, vote Nov. 1912; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
Sub. (1) prohibits a circuit judge from holding a nonjudicial office of public trust during the full period of time for which he or she is elected to serve in a judicial position, even if the judge chooses to resign before that term would otherwise expire. The period of time constituting the "term for which elected" is set when a judge or justice is elected, and is thereafter unalterable by means of resignation. Wagner v. Milwaukee County Election Commission, 2003 WI 103, 263 Wis. 2d 709, 666 N.W.2d 816, 02-0375.
An "office of public trust" does not refer only to an elective office. "Judicial office," as used in Article VII, should be construed as referring to an office that is located within the judicial branch of government created by that article. Membership on the government accountability board is an office of public trust but is not a judicial office within the meaning of Art. VII, s. 10, and therefore an individual who has resigned from the office of judge may not serve as a member of the board for the duration of the term to which the individual was elected to serve as a judge. OAG 4-08.
VII,11 Terms of courts; change of judges. Section 11. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,11 Disciplinary proceedings. Section 11. [As created April 1977] Each justice or judge shall be subject to reprimand, censure, suspension, removal for cause or for disability, by the supreme court pursuant to procedures established by the legislature by law. No justice or judge removed for cause shall be eligible for reappointment or temporary service. This section is alternative to, and cumulative with, the methods of removal provided in sections 1 and 13 of this article and section 12 of article XIII. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
VII,12 Clerks of circuit and supreme courts. Section 12. [As amended Nov. 1882, April 2005]
VII,12(1) (1) There shall be a clerk of circuit court chosen in each county organized for judicial purposes by the qualified electors thereof, who, except as provided in sub. (2), shall hold office for two years, subject to removal as provided by law.
VII,12(2) (2) Beginning with the first general election at which the governor is elected which occurs after the ratification of this subsection, a clerk of circuit court shall be chosen by the electors of each county, for the term of 4 years, subject to removal as provided by law.
VII,12(3) (3) In case of a vacancy, the judge of the circuit court may appoint a clerk until the vacancy is filled by an election.
VII,12(4) (4) The clerk of circuit court shall give such security as the legislature requires by law.
VII,12(5) (5) The supreme court shall appoint its own clerk, and may appoint a clerk of circuit court to be the clerk of the supreme court. [1881 J.R. 16A, 1882 J.R. 3, 1882 c. 290, vote Nov. 1882; 2003 J.R. 12, 2005 J.R. 2, vote April 2005]
VII,13 Justices and judges: removal by address. Section 13. [As amended April 1974 and April 1977] Any justice or judge may be removed from office by address of both houses of the legislature, if two-thirds of all the members elected to each house concur therein, but no removal shall be made by virtue of this section unless the justice or judge complained of is served with a copy of the charges, as the ground of address, and has had an opportunity of being heard. On the question of removal, the ayes and noes shall be entered on the journals. [1971 J.R. 30, 1973 J.R. 25, vote April 1974; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
VII,14 Municipal court. Section 14. [As amended April 1977] The legislature by law may authorize each city, village and town to establish a municipal court. All municipal courts shall have uniform jurisdiction limited to actions and proceedings arising under ordinances of the municipality in which established. Judges of municipal courts may receive such compensation as provided by the municipality in which established, but may not receive fees of office. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]
A municipal court has authority to determine the constitutionality of a municipal ordinance. City of Milwaukee v. Wroten, 160 Wis. 2d 207, 466 N.W.2d 861 (1991).
VII,15 Justices of the peace. Section 15. [Amended April 1945; repealed April 1966; see 1943 J.R. 27, 1945 J.R. 2, vote April 1945; 1963 J.R. 48, 1965 J.R. 50, vote April 1966.]
VII,16 Tribunals of conciliation. Section 16. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,17 Style of writs; indictments. Section 17. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,18 Suit tax. Section 18. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,19 Testimony in equity suits; master in chancery. Section 19. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,20 Rights of suitors. Section 20. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.] See Art. I, sec. 21.
VII,21 Publication of laws and decisions. Section 21. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.] See Art. IV, sec. 17.
VII,22 Commissioners to revise code of practice. Section 22. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,23 Court commissioners. Section 23. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
VII,24 Justices and judges: eligibility for office; retirement. Section 24. [As created April 1955 and amended April 1968 and April 1977]
VII,24(1) (1) To be eligible for the office of supreme court justice or judge of any court of record, a person must be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state and have been so licensed for 5 years immediately prior to election or appointment.
VII,24(2) (2) Unless assigned temporary service under subsection (3), no person may serve as a supreme court justice or judge of a court of record beyond the July 31 following the date on which such person attains that age, of not less than 70 years, which the legislature shall prescribe by law.
VII,24(3) (3) A person who has served as a supreme court justice or judge of a court of record may, as provided by law, serve as a judge of any court of record except the supreme court on a temporary basis if assigned by the chief justice of the supreme court. [1953 J.R. 46, 1955 J.R. 14, vote April 1955; 1965 J.R. 101, 1967 J.R. 22 and 56, vote April 1968; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]