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Lawmakers Reject Walker Plan To Move Judicial Watchdog

Move Preserves Wisconsin Judicial Commission As Independent Agency

Wisconsin state Capitol
Phil Roeder (CC-BY)

The Legislature’s budget committee has rejected Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to move Wisconsin’s judicial watchdog under the power of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Wisconsin’s Judicial Commission is an independent agency with the power to investigate and prosecute misconduct by judges, including Supreme Court justices. Walker wanted to move the commission under the state Supreme Court’s budget, a change his office said was aimed at making government more efficient.

It was the second budget in a row that Walker proposed the move, and for the second time, it was met with opposition. Members of the commission argued it would degrade the agency’s independence. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack said it created the potential for conflict of interest and saved no money.

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Members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously to reject the proposal. They also rejected Walker’s plan to eliminate the state’s Judicial Council, which conducts and reviews research on court procedures.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:06 p.m. Monday, May 1 to include the results of the vote.