We support attorney Jean Kies campaign to replace Judge Michelle Ackerman Havas on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. She’s experienced, respected and not involved in partisan politics.
Gov. Scott Walker appointed Havas to the judicial position at stake — the same one he used to jumpstart the career of now Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley.
Bradley and Havas are friends who represent the same political and ideological interests — and have the same benefactors.
But Havas doesn’t appear as savvy as Bradley. While Bradley disavows that the GOP and its Koch-backed PACs will hold any sway over her judicial decisions, Havas seemed to acknowledge the role she could play on the court for the state’s executive branch.
At a Republican fundraiser for Bradley, Havas spoke after high-ranking Wisconsin party officials finished patting themselves on the back over the successes of Walker and his Legislature during the last session.
“I want to thank all the leadership here who has helped me and is helping me to get my name out,” Havas said, according to a transcript of the speech. “You all do such wonderful work, and obviously everything that is happening in the executive branch is all very important.”
Those words were reminiscent of Judge David Prosser’s vow in 2012 that he could be counted on to support Walker. It was inappropriate then, and it is now.
Kies, on the other hand, says she’s maintained political independence in anticipation of someday rising to the bench. She’s beholden to no one, as demonstrated by her bipartisan endorsements.
We strongly support Kies in this race, not only for her understanding that the judiciary is by necessity apolitical, but also for the scope of her legal experience.
She’s practiced law under her “own shingle,” as she puts it, rather than at a large law firm. As a result, she’s worked on a broad range of cases and with clients from all backgrounds and walks of life, she says.
Kies estimates that since graduating from Marquette University Law School about 25 years ago, she’s taken on more than 1,000 civil and 1,000 criminal cases. She says the diversity of her legal background makes her an exceptional judicial candidate.
Kies’ legal partner is her husband Lewis Wasserman. He says that she brings more to her cases than knowledge, skill and fairness. He contends that she has the right temperament — a gift for making defendants and plaintiffs alike feel satisfied with the way their cases have been handled.
Kies deserves the opportunity to prove what she can do on the bench. We urge readers to vote for her on April 5.