Walker appoints Schimel to Waukesha County judgeship
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker handed Attorney General Brad Schimel a job as a judge in his home county on Tuesday, a day after Schimel conceded defeat in this month’s election to Democrat Josh Kaul.
Walker picked Schimel to replace Waukesha County Judge Patrick Haughney, who said earlier this fall he would step down and officially resigned on Election Day. Walker asked for applicants in September but his office hasn’t released any names.
Kaul won’t be sworn in until Jan. 7. It’s unclear whether Schimel will leave office before then; his start date on the bench isn’t set. State Department of Justice spokeswoman Rebecca Ballweg didn’t immediately reply to an email.
Schimel spent 25 years as a prosecutor in Waukesha County, rising to district attorney before he won election as attorney general in 2014. Kaul defeated him by 17,190 votes this month, denying him a second term. Schimel had mulled requesting a recount but finally conceded defeat Monday, saying the margin between him and Kaul was too great.
Walker, who lost his own re-election bid to Democrat Tony Evers, announced Schimel’s appointment in a four-sentence statement, saying Schimel has served the state well.
“Schimel has shown a commitment to the rule of law and the State of Wisconsin,” Walker said in the statement. “He will continue to faithfully serve our state as Waukesha County Circuit Court judge.”
State Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning ripped the appointment, saying Schimel is far too partisan to serve as a judge.
“Even though Wisconsin voters rejected divisive and partisan politicians like Brad Schimel just two weeks ago, Republicans have chosen to ignore the will of voters and put politics before people,” Laning said in a statement.
During his tenure as attorney general, Schimel joined multistate lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration’s carbon emission standards. He issued a legal opinion that effectively relaxed regulations on high-capacity water wells and drew criticism for reaching settlements with polluters rather than fining them.
He also portrayed himself as an advocate for sexual assault victims, saying he begins such cases by believing victims and gives them the benefit of the doubt during investigations.
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