Walker considers candidate for interim appointment to court

Two of three judges running for the Wisconsin state Supreme Court signaled Tuesday that they will not seek an interim appointment from Gov. Scott Walker to finish out Justice N. Patrick Crooks’ term following his sudden passing earlier this month.

The two judges said they worry an appointment to the court prior to April’s election could grant an incumbent’s edge to one of the candidates.

“The Governor should not appoint any of the three declared candidates, nor anyone else who is considering a run,” said candidate Judge Joe Donald in a Tuesday statement. “Wisconsin doesn’t need a coronation, it needs a Supreme Court justice who earns the support of Wisconsin voters.”

Judge Rebecca Bradley has not yet said whether she will accept an appointment, although she has a history of being promoted by the governor. The conservative judge was appointed by Walker to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in 2012 and the Wisconsin court of appeals in May 2015.

Walker justified his position with a series of tweets Tuesday, pointing to Gov. Tommy Thompson’s appointments of Justices Janine Geske and Diane Sykes to the court in 1993 and 1999, respectively. Both were appointed prior to elections.

“There is precedent for appointing WI Supreme Court Justices who may later run for the seat,” tweeted Walker.

Liberal advocacy groups in the state sent a letter to the governor Monday asking him to appoint a justice who pledges not to run in the spring election.

“The selection of a currently declared candidate to the Supreme Court at this time would certainly exacerbate the shrill partisan and mean-spirited tone for the upcoming election that has characterized so many State Supreme Court elections over the past decade,” said leaders of the groups in a letter to the governor.

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