JoAnne Kloppenburg

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
JoAnne Kloppenburg
Placeholder image.png
Do you have a photo that could go here? Submit it for this profile by emailing us!
Court Information:
Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV
Title:   Judge
Position:   District IV
Salary:  $138,000
Active:   2012-2018
Preceded by:   Margaret Vergeront
Past position:   Wisconsin Department of Justice
Past term:   1989-2012
Personal History
Born:   September 5, 1953
Hometown:   Connecticut
Undergraduate:   Yale University
Law School:   University of Wisconsin-Madison
Candidate 2011:
Candidate for:  Wisconsin Supreme Court
State:  Wisconsin
Election information 2011:
Incumbent:  No
Primary date:  February 15, 2011
Primary vote:  25.2%ApprovedA
Election date:  April 5, 2011
Election vote:  49.70%DefeatedD
Candidate 2012:
Candidate for:  Court of Appeals District IV
State:  Wisconsin
Election information 2012:
Incumbent:  No
Election date:  April 3, 2012
Election vote:  100%ApprovedA

JoAnne F. Kloppenburg is a judge for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV. She was elected April 3, 2012, succeeding Margaret Vergeront. Her current term expires in 2018.[1]


Kloppenburg earned her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.[2]


Kloppenburg served with the Wisconsin Department of Justice since 1989. She interned for Justice Shirley Abrahamson as a law student and clerked for federal judge Barbara Crabb after graduating.[3]



Kloppenburg ran unopposed, winning the election for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV.[4]

See also: Wisconsin judicial elections, 2012


See also: Wisconsin judicial elections, 2011

Kloppenburg ran for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the Spring 2011 election, held on April 5, 2011. Her opponent was incumbent David Prosser. In the primary election, Kloppenburg won 25.2% of the vote, coming in second out of four candidates.[5]

She said she was "running because people asked me to and there's a sense among a lot of folks in the state that the court has been losing people's confidence and its independence and impartiality, and that I would run a campaign and be the kind of justice that would restore that confidence."[3]

Results timeline

  • April 6, 2011: Kloppenburg declared victory. Her campaign issued the following statement:
We owe Justice Prosser our gratitude for his more than 30 years of public service. Wisconsin voters have spoken and I am grateful for, and humbled by, their confidence and trust. I will be independent and impartial and I will decide cases based on the facts and the law. As I have traveled the State, people tell me they believe partisan politics do not belong in our Courts. I look forward to bringing new blood to the Supreme Court and focusing my energy on the important work Wisconsin residents elect Supreme Court justices to do.[6][7]

—JoAnne Kloppenburg campaign, 2011

  • April 7, 2011: Early in the day, Kloppenburg was ahead by 311 votes, with five precincts still outstanding. Her lead was only .02% of the total vote.[8] As votes continued to be collected, her lead lessened to 204 votes.[9]

Later, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus revealed that, due to human error, she had failed to include 14,315 votes from the City of Brookfield in her unofficial vote tally. With those and some other smaller errors in unofficial vote reports, Prosser gained a 7,582 lead.[10]

  • April 11, 2011: The Democratic canvasser who had worked the Waukesha County ballot canvas and was quoted as saying, "We went over everything and made sure all the numbers jibed up and they did. Those numbers jibed up, and we're satisfied they're correct."[10][11] These revelations seem to cast doubt on the notion that it was "human error" that led to the recovery of 14,315 votes from the City of Brookfield. [12][13]
To learn more about the recount process in Wisconsin, read: The Morning After: If the results are close, what happens next in Wisconsin?
  • April 15, 2011: The statewide vote canvass was completed. It showed Prosser as the race's victor, with 7,316 votes over Kloppenburg.[14]

The Prosser campaign declared victory with the following statement:

Today, the will of the electorate is clear with the last canvas now completed and Justice David Prosser re-elected to another 10 year term to the Supreme Court. Justice Prosser extends his appreciation and respect to Joanne Kloppenburg and her spirited campaign. With certified results in‐hand, Justice Prosser hopes that a shared respect for the judiciary allows the campaign to move to a positive conclusion. Justice Prosser looks forward to thanking the voters of Wisconsin and is expected make a public address in the near‐future.[15][7]

—Justice Prosser campaign, 2011

  • April 20, 2011: Kloppenburg requested a recount of the votes, citing "widespread anomalies".[16] The state was required to pay for the costs associated with the recount, since the margin between the two candidates was less than half of a percent.[17]
  • May 20, 2011: A recount concluded that Prosser defeated Kloppenburg by 7,006 votes.[18]

Campaign statement

Public financing

Kloppenburg, along with primary candidate Joel Winnig and incumbent David T. Prosser, received public financing for their 2011 election campaigns under a recently enacted Wisconsin law. The forth primary candidate, Marla J. Stephens, declined to seek public financing.[19]

Allegations of partisanship

See also: Nonpartisan election of judges

Although judicial elections in Wisconsin are nonpartisan, both Prosser and opponent Kloppenburg accused the other of political leanings. Prosser suggested, "There are some people who support my opponent who want the court involved in legislative reapportionment."[20] Kloppenburg stated, "Justice Prosser has sent a clear message that he will favor the agenda of Gov. Walker and the Republican Legislature. I will apply the law to the facts of the cases before me and decide them without prejudice."[20] Prosser contended that he was "not a rubber stamp for the governor."[21]


  • The Wausau Daily Herald endorsed both Prosser and Kloppenburg for the primary.[22]
  • Former Democratic Governor Patrick J. Lucey has withdrawn support for Prosser and is backing Kloppenburg as of March 31, 2011.[23]
  • The Capitol Times endorsed Kloppenburg for the general election.[24]
  • Progressive lobbying organization the Greater Wisconsin Committee ran ads criticizing Prosser. [25]

Debate schedule

Kloppenburg and Prosser had several debates scheduled before the election.

  • Tuesday, March 22 at noon, at the Concourse Hotel, 1 West Dayton St., Madison. Sponsored by the Dane County Bar Association Forum.
  • Wednesday, March 23 at noon, at the Inn on the Park, 22 S. Carroll St., Madison. Sponsored by the Madison Downtown Rotary Forum.
  • Friday, March 25 at 7pm, on Wisconsin Public Television & Wisconsin Public Radio. Sponsored by We the People.[26]
  • Monday, March 28 at 7pm, at the State Bar Center, 5302 East Park Blvd., Madison. Sponsored by the Wisconsin State Bar Association Forum. Tickets are required to attend this debate which will also be broadcast live online by the State Bar.[27]

Notable cases

See also

External links


  1. La Crosse Tribune, "Kloppenburg running for appeals court opening," September 9, 2011
  2., "JoAnne Kloppenburg - Lawyer Profile"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Post Crescent "Four vie for seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court," February 6, 2011
  4. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board: 2012 Spring Election Candidates
  5. The Washington Examiner, "Unofficial results for Wis. Supreme Court Primary," February 15, 2011
  6. Kloppenburg Press Release "JoAnne Kloppenburg Elected to Wisconsin Supreme Court," April 6, 2011 (timed out)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. Bloomberg Business Week, "Split over union law reaches Wis. supreme court race," April 7, 2011
  9. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:All Politics Blog, "Kloppenburg declares victory," April 6, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Corrected Brookfield tally puts Prosser ahead after 7,500-vote gain," April 7, 2011
  11. Waukesha County Democratic Party "Statement & Account of Ramona Kitzinger, Waukesha Board of Canvassers member since 2004," April 11, 2011
  12. Wall Street Journal "More Controversy Clouds Wisconsin Supreme Court Race," April 11, 2011
  13. Bloomberg Business Week "Voting Fiasco Shows Value of Hitting ‘Save’: Margaret Carlson," April 12, 2011
  14. Wall Street Journal, "Incumbent Wins Wisconsin Supreme Court Race," April 15, 2011
  15. Prosser Campaign, Statement Regarding his Election Victory," April 15, 2011
  16. Associated Press "Wis. court challenger will seek statewide recount," April 20, 2011 (dead link)
  17. Associated Press "Canvass shows conservative wins Wis. court race," April 15, 2011
  18. The New York Times, "Wisconsin: Recount Favors Conservative Justice," May 20, 2011
  19. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Three Supreme Court candidates will get public funding," January 13, 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1 Waukesha Patch, "Supreme Court Candidates Get Political in Waukesha Forum," March 10, 2011
  21. Beloit Daily News, "David Prosser aims for re-election," March 18, 2011
  22. Wausau Daily Herald, "IN THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS We endorse ...," February 7, 2011
  23. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lucey resigns as honorary co-chair of Prosser campaign," March 31, 2011
  24. The Capitol Times, "Put independent Kloppenburg on court," March 16, 2011
  25. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All Politics Blog. "Prosser earns endorsements from former justices," March 22, 2011
  26. Wisconsin State Journal, "Law puts once-quiet race in election spotlight," March 20, 2011
  27. State Bar of Wisconsin, "Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates to debate at State Bar Center on March 28," March 8, 2011
WisconsinWisconsin Supreme CourtWisconsin Court of AppealsWisconsin Circuit CourtsWisconsin Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States District Court for the Western District of WisconsinUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of WisconsinUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitWisconsin countiesWisconsin judicial newsWisconsin judicial electionsJudicial selection in WisconsinWisconsinTemplate.jpg