Judge Joe Donald's Statement
1. What in your background leads you to be better qualified for a Supreme Court Justice than your opponents?
I am the most experienced and qualified candidate running in this election. My twenty years of experience as a judge is more judicial experience than both of my opponents – combined. My experience will not only make me a great Supreme Court Justice, but gives my candidacy more appeal to the moderate and independent voters who will decide this election.
I have presided over 350 jury trials and was deeply involved in the creation of the Milwaukee County drug treatment court and served as that court’s first presiding judge. The court breaks the cycle of poverty, crime, and drugs by using a non-adversarial approach to address addictive disease, incorporating inpatient and outpatient treatment. By addressing the abuse of alcohol and other substances, the court reduces recidivism, lowers taxpayer costs, and improves the health and life of abusers, their victims, and their families.
I have earned the support of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in this campaign – because that is what it will take to win this election and restore the independence and civility that has been lacking on the Supreme Court. I was appointed by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and have earned the support of Democrats such as United States Senator Herb Kohl, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. I have a proven track record of being able to work with individuals of all political stripes to ensure the law is applied fairly.
2. What is your philosophy on the separation of powers between the Court and the executive and legislative branches of Wisconsin?
The courts are the third branch of government, and my role is to follow the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions in fairly applying the law. We need a Justice who is committed to restoring checks and balances so that every Wisconsin family, worker, and citizen has access to justice. I fear the court has become too aligned with the executive and legislative branches, and in doing so is abdicating its duty to check the other branches of government. For the court to protect individual liberty and the rights of Wisconsin citizens, it must be independent and above the influence of partisan politics and special interest groups.
3. How do you think the level of contributions to candidates for elections affects the integrity of the Court?
We need a Justice who is not beholden to any special interest group or political party. Special interest money has had a profoundly negative impact on our court. Over the past few elections, more than $13 million has been spent by outside groups to try to influence our elections – and our Supreme Court Justices.
Rebecca Bradley, Scott Walker’s handpicked candidate, has received three appointments from our Governor in three years. The same groups who have spent all of these millions of dollars are now gearing up to support Rebecca Bradley in this election as well. I need your support to overcome the spending of these third party interest groups.
The only way we can remove the partisanship on the court is by electing a truly independent justice. I believe I am the only candidate running this election who can help restore independence on the court and ensure that all Wisconsin citizens have access to a fair and impartial court.