Do you have a plan to vote in the April 2 election?

On Tuesday, April 2, voters will choose our next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. The two candidates are Judge Lisa Neubauer and Judge Brian Hagedorn, and the winner will serve for 10 years—the longest term of any elected official in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices make decisions that affect the civil rights and liberties of everyone who lives in Wisconsin, on issues like voting rights, privacy rights, criminal justice, reproductive rights, and many more. The stakes are especially high for protecting our democracy: In 2014, the court upheld Scott Walker’s voter suppression law by a narrow 4-3 vote.

Because the Justices come with different perspectives, they often have different ideas about what the constitution and laws mean. That's why your vote for which judge should be on the Supreme Court can make a difference. ACLU members have a great record of voting in primaries. On April 2nd, remember to be an ACLU Voter for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Register to vote at your municipal office before March 29 or at your polling place on Election Day, April 2, from 7:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. Find your polling place here .

Step 1: Commit to vote

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Step 2: Share the scorecard

Key Information on the Civil Liberties Record and Issue Positions of Candidates Lisa Neubauer and Brian Hagedorn

The ACLU sent a multi-issue questionnaire about a broad range of civil liberties issues to both candidates. Judge Hagedorn did not respond. Judge Neubauer responded to most of our questions as follows: “As a sitting judge and candidate, I cannot take a position on issues or legislation that may come before the court.” That said, as reflected below, Judge Neubauer did provide thoughts on issues relating to criminal justice reform.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates Scorecard

IssuesLisa NeubauerChief Judge of Wisconsin Court of Appeals District 2Brian HagedornWisconsin Court of Appeals Judge District 2
Reproductive Freedom
  • No known public record or issue positions on reproductive rights.
  • In a public blog entry, stated that Roe v. Wade , the court case that established a woman’s right to choose, should be overturned 1 and is “the worst and most unjustifiable decision in history.”2
LGBT Rights
  • No known public record or issue positions on LGBT rights.
  • In a public blog entry, stated that he opposed equal rights for same-sex couples. 3
  • In his role as legal counsel for former Governor Scott Walker, withdrew the state’s defense of Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry, which recognized same-sex relationships, in court. 4
  • In a public blog entry, explicitly cautioned that the protection of LGBT rights would lead to legalized bestiality. 5
  • In his private capacity, he serves on the board/co-founded a school that prohibits the hiring of LGBT people, and reserves the right to expel students who are LGBT. 6
Criminal Justice Reform
  • A third-party assessment found that, overall, she has “generally ruled against criminal defendants, rejecting arguments that evidence was improperly obtained or defendants received ineffective assistance of counsel.” 7
  • In her role as a judge, ruled in favor of a criminal defendant who wanted to access publicly funded DNA testing to help prove his innocence. 8
  • In her role as a judge, ruled that an individual would be required to pay a $1,900 fine for an operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (OWI) offense. 9
  • In response to an ACLU questionnaire, stated that she believes that the use of alternatives to incarceration, such as drug and alcohol courts and diversionary programs, should be promoted, and can help address mass incarceration. 10
  • A third-party assessment found that, overall, he has “generally ruled against criminal defendants, rejecting arguments that evidence was improperly obtained or defendants received ineffective assistance of counsel.” 11
  • In his role as a judge, in a dissent, would have required a criminal defendant to pay for the DNA testing to help prove his innocence. 12
  • In his role as a judge, in a dissent, stated that an individual should not be required to pay a $1,900 fine, because the trial judge failed to develop an adequate record to support the fine. 13
Responses to ACLU Questionnaire

1 “If Roe is overturned...,” Wisconsin Badger Blog Alliance, July 17, 2015

2 “Bice: Supreme Court candidate once wrote that gay rights ruling could lead to legalized bestiality,” Journal Sentinel, Feb. 1, 2019, https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/daniel-bice/2019/01/31/wisconsin-supreme-court-candidate-once-tied-gay-rights-bestiality/2699726002/

3 “Bice: Supreme Court candidate once wrote that gay rights ruling could lead to legalized bestiality,” Journal Sentinel, Feb. 1, 20 http://badgerblogalliance.blogspot.com/2005/07/if-roe-is-overturned.html19, https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/daniel-bice/2019/01/31/wisconsin-supreme-court-candidate-once-tied-gay-rights-bestiality/2699726002/

4 Notice of Withdrawal for Summary Judgment Motion, Appling v. Doyle, 5/13/2011

5 “Bice: Supreme Court candidate once wrote that gay rights ruling could lead to legalized bestiality,” Journal Sentinel, Feb. 1, 2019, https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/daniel-bice/2019/01/31/wisconsin-supreme-court-candidate-once-tied-gay-rights-bestiality/2699726002/

6 “Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate helped found academy that bans LGBT teachers, students,” Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 15, 2019, https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/wisconsin-supreme-court-candidate-helped-found-academy-that-bans-lgbt/article_99a6c71e-104c-5d28-a98d-afe5342843ad.htm

7 “Huge stakes, little difference on crime,” Isthmus, Jan. 30, 2019, https://isthmus.com/news/news/supreme-court-contenders-both-routinely-rule-against-the-convicted/

8 “Huge stakes, little difference on crime,” Isthmus, Jan. 30, 2019, https://isthmus.com/news/news/supreme-court-contenders-both-routinely-rule-against-the-convicted/

9 State v Vesper, 2018 WI App 31

10 ACLU-WI Questionnaire Responses

11 “Huge stakes, little difference on crime,” Isthmus, Jan. 30, 2019, https://isthmus.com/news/news/supreme-court-contenders-both-routinely-rule-against-the-convicted/

12 “Huge stakes, little difference on crime,” Isthmus, Jan. 30, 2019, https://isthmus.com/news/news/supreme-court-contenders-both-routinely-rule-against-the-convicted/

13 State v Vesper, 2018 WI App 31