Walker Appoints Collective Bargaining, Redistricting Lawyers to Judgeships

June 2, 2015

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has appointed two attorneys to circuit court judgeships who helped the Walker administration and legislative Republicans consolidate power. They defended laws that slashed public employee collective bargaining rights, redrew legislative districts that enabled Republicans to increase their control of the legislature, and require citizens to present a photo ID to vote.

Walker’s appointees are Middleton attorney James Troupis, who will replace a retiring judge on the Dane County bench, and Michael Screnock, a former Michael Best and Friedrich attorney, who will replace a retiring judge on the Sauk County bench.

Screnock has not made campaign contributions to any legislative or statewide candidates, including Walker. Troupis contributed about $27,000 between January 2000 and Oct. 20, 2014, to numerous Republican legislative and statewide candidates and officeholders, but not to Walker.

Both Troupis and Screnock were on a team of lawyers that successfully defended the governor’s effort to sharply cut public employee union bargaining rights before a state appeals court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. They were also among the lawyers hired in 2011 by majority Republican lawmakers to successfully defend a plan that redrew legislative district boundaries to generally favor Republicans in elections through at least 2020. Troupis also helped successfully defend the state’s voter identification law sought by Walker and legislative Republicans.

Circuit judges are elected to six-year terms, but a governor may appoint a replacement for a judge who does not serve the full term. Screnock will serve the remainder of a term ending in August 2018, and Troupis will serve the remainder of a term ending in August 2016. Both appointees may run for election to keep their posts after they have served out the current terms. Troupis said he does not intend to run for election next year to keep the job.