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2 judges, lawyer apply for state’s Supreme Court vacancy

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two judges who have been previously appointed by Gov. Scott Walker and a longtime Madison attorney have all applied for a vacancy on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Walker’s office released the names of those who applied by Friday’s deadline for the appointment. They are Appeals Court Judge Rebecca Bradley, Dane County Circuit Judge Jim Troupis and Madison attorney Claude Covelli.

Bradley, who has the backing of conservatives, has twice been appointed to judicial vacancies by Walker. He named her to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in 2012 and the appeals court in May. Also in May, Walker named Troupis, who has previously worked for Republicans, to the Dane County Circuit Court for a term that runs until August.

Walker plans to conduct interviews this week, said his spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick. Whoever is appointed will fill out the final 10 months of Justice Patrick Crooks’ term. Crooks died in office last month.

Bradley is the only one of the three applicants running for a full 10-year term on the court in next year’s spring election. Two other announced candidates for a full term on the court, Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald, did not apply for the temporary appointment.

Democrats have said they feared Walker would appoint Bradley, who has the backing of conservatives in her run for the 10-year term, giving her an advantage over anyone else seeking the seat. Liberals generally back Kloppenburg while Donald is trying to position himself as the most independent.

Covelli, who is also considering running for a full 10-year term, said in a news release announcing he was seeking the appointment that he was “truly nonpartisan.”

“I neither have, nor ever will have, a political agenda,” said the 68-year-old Covelli. He has been an attorney for 43 years, with a focus on insurance litigation.

In a statement Monday, Bradley campaign spokeswoman Madison Wiberg said Bradley “felt it was part of her civic duty as a declared candidate to apply for the position she hopes the voters of the state of Wisconsin will elect her to next year.”

“The unfortunate passing of Justice Crooks created a need for public servants to step up so that this vacancy on the court can be filled, and Judge Bradley feels that applying for this post is part of that public service,” Wiberg said.

Troupis did not immediately return a message.

Walker’s deputy legal counsel, the chair of the Judicial Selection Advisory Committee and a former member of the committee will do an initial round of interviews and make recommendations to the governor about who he should talk to for the appointment, Patrick said.

She did not know when Walker would announce his selection.

There is an urgency to Walker filling the seat. The Supreme Court, down to just six members since Crooks died, is currently hearing cases and at a higher risk of tying until the appointment is made.

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