The Third Branch
Waukesha marks 25th Justice on Wheels visit
The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the first time in Waukesha County on Oct. 7, marking the 25th county visited as part of the Justice on Wheels outreach program since 1993.
The Court held an opening ceremony, during which Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson welcomed special guests, including judges, legislators, county board members and other local government leaders.
Abrahamson also presented certificates to the top three contestants in the Supreme Court essay contest, including first place winner Anne Chen of Dixon Elementary School in Brookfield. Chen read aloud her entry to the Court and audience of about 125 people who gathered for the ceremony, which was widely covered by the Milwaukee area media.
Attorneys selected by the Waukesha County Bar Association helped improve understanding of the Court's role and decision making process as they introduced each case to the audience. Chen and several high school students were interviewed by news reporters, discussing what they had learned during oral argument and the Court's visit.
Justice on Wheels gives people in other parts of the state an opportunity to see the Supreme Court at work outside the state Capitol in Madison, where oral arguments are usually heard each month from September through May. This year's visit was made possible by the Waukesha County Circuit Court and Waukesha County government, including the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.
In addition to having visited Waukesha, the justices have conducted proceedings in the following counties: Brown, Eau Claire, Marathon, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Douglas, Rock, Kenosha, Sauk, Dodge, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Fond du Lac, Walworth, Waushara, St. Croix, Winnebago, Iowa, Washington, Columbia, Green and Sheboygan.
Anne Chen, a fifth grader at Dixon Elementary School in Brookfield, reads her contest-winning essay during opening ceremonies at the Supreme Court's Justice on Wheels program held Oct. 7 at the Waukesha County Courthouse.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Linda M. Van De Water helped extend the outreach boundaries of the Supreme Court's Justice on Wheels program by bringing with her to opening ceremonies a judge and attorney visiting from Belgium. She introduced to the Court Frans De Roy, of Antwerp, who was visiting Waukesha while attending an American Bar Association conference in Chicago.