Thursday's article "Court race in dead heat" presents a misleading perspective about the Supreme Court race happening this spring. The article states that only one candidate is currently a judge, implying that judicial experience is a prerequisite for becoming a Supreme Court Justice.
Wisconsin history shows that judicial experience is neither essential nor always beneficial for the Court. In fact, 36 of the past 73 Justices came from outside the court system. These Justices brought valuable experiences from private practice, the law school or the legislature. Two of these Justices are former Chief Justices Roland Day and Nate Heffernan, both of whom support Linda Clifford's candidacy. They understand that her three decades of working with real people on real problems is the perspective the Court needs in 2007.
Currently 5 of the 7 Justices came from the lower courts. You wouldn't want a jury of people all from the same profession, just like you wouldn't want a Supreme Court all from the same profession. The Court needs a seasoned practitioner who knows how the decisions it makes directly impact the people of Wisconsin more than it needs another trial judge. The Wisconsin Supreme Court needs Linda Clifford, who can bring that body of experience, because the Court works best when its members reflect a variety of professional experience.
University of Wisconsin Law School