Wyoming Supreme Court

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Wyoming Supreme Court
Court information
Justices:   5
Chief:  $165,000
Associates:  $165,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Assisted appointment
Term:   8 years
Active justices

William U. Hill (Wyoming)  •  Marilyn Kite  •  James Burke  •  Michael K. Davis (Wyoming)  •  Kate M. Fox  •  

Seal of Wyoming.png

The Wyoming Supreme Court is the appellate court of last resort in Wyoming. Five justices sit on the court; they are chosen via a nominating commission system, and they face a retention election every eight years.


The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Justice William U. Hill (Wyoming)1998 - 2017Jim Geringer
Chief Justice Marilyn Kite2000-8/2015Gov. Jim Geringer
Justice James Burke2005-2023Dave Freudenthal
Justice Michael K. Davis (Wyoming)2012-2023Gov. Matt Mead
Justice Kate M. Fox2013-2016Gov. Matt Mead

Chief justice

The Chief Justice of the court serves for a four-year term. Marilyn Kite is the current Chief Justice of the court, a position to which she was elevated on July 1, 2010.


The Wyoming Supreme Court has general appellate jurisdiction, hearing appeals from lower Wyoming courts in civil and criminal cases. The court also has "general superintending control over all inferior courts, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law."[1]

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in cases involving quo warranto and mandamus as to all state officers and in habeas corpus. The Court also has power to issue writs of mandamus, review, prohibition, habeas corpus, certiorari, and other writs necessary to the exercise of its appellate duties.

Judicial selection

Main article: Judicial selection in Wyoming

From 1890-1972, justices of the court were elected by the people of the state. Starting in 1972, justices gained a seat on the court through a commission selection process. They face a retention election every eight years. There are seven members of the nominating commission, which is called the Wyoming Judicial Nominating Commission. The chairman of the commission is the chief justice of the Supreme Court, or another justice of the Court designated to act on behalf of the chief justice. Three members of the commission are elected from the active membership of the Wyoming State Bar. Three Wyoming electors who are not admitted to the bar are appointed to the commission by the governor.[2]

Wyoming Supreme Court building


Requirements for service as a justice on the court are laid out in Article 5 of the Wyoming Constitution and include:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Wyoming resident for at least 3 years.
  • Nine years of legal experience
  • Minimum age of 30.
  • The mandatory retirement age is 70.

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Wyoming was given a campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Wyoming received a score of 0.37. Based on the justices selected, Wyoming was the 12th most conservative court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.[3]


Wyoming does not provide caseload statistics for its supreme court.


Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Wyoming earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.[4]

History of the court

Courthouse renovations

Between 2006 and 2008, the building which houses the state high court, the law library, and the state library, underwent extensive renovation. During renovations, court was held in the former offices of the Wyoming Department of Health located in the Hathaway Building, and a miniature courtroom was erected in the Hathaway's lobby. At the time of the renovations, the building was 70 years old.[5]

Former judges

See also

External links



JudgeElection Vote
DavisMichael K. Davis (Wyoming) 77.5% ApprovedA
BurkeJames Burke 77.3% ApprovedA


See also: 2010 State Supreme Court elections

Incumbent Barton Voigt faced retention and was retained.

Wyoming Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Barton Voigt n/a 76.45%

Incumbent Marilyn Kite faced retention and was retained.

Wyoming Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Marilyn Kite n/a 75.35%


See also: State Supreme Court elections, 2008

Incumbent William U. Hill faced retention and was retained.

Wyoming Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
William U. Hill n/a n/a