|Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General|
|Appointed by||Don Hanaway|
|Born||September 5, 1953 (Age 57)|
|Alma mater||Yale University
University of Wisconsin, J.D.
JoAnne Kloppenburg is a former Assistant Attorney General of the State of Wisconsin, serving from 1989-2012 under Republican and Democratic Governors and a judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. She ran for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April 2011 against incumbent Justice David Prosser.
On April 6, the day after the election, Kloppenburg held an unofficial 204-vote lead over Prosser, and prematurely declared victory. On April 7, the Waukesha County clerk announced she had erroneously failed to include more than 14,000 votes in her reported totals, which gave Prosser a lead of more than 7,000 votes out of 1,500,000 cast statewide. Kloppenburg requested the recount she was entitled to by statute, which would be paid for by the state (at the cost of as much as $500,000) since the margin of the vote was less than one half of one percent. After the recount certified Prosser as the winner by 7,004 votes, Kloppenburg conceded the election.
Kloppenburg was born JoAnne Fishman in Avon, Connecticut to Dr. Elihu Fishman and his wife. She attended high school in Connecticut, and attended Yale University with a scholarship, a year after it began accepting women for study in 1969. She received her B.A. in Russian studies from there, and went to the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University afterwards, originally intending to eventually become an ambassador. Instead, she shifted her focus to third world development, and received her Master of Public Affairs degree in 1976.
Public service and career
After graduation, Kloppenburg joined the Peace Corps and became a rural development planner in Botswana from 1976-1979. She intended to be there for two years, but the government of Botswana asked her to stay for another year afterwards to direct rural development for the entire country.
After returning to the United States, Kloppenburg worked on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in upstate New York, and was also an assistant dean at Wells College in Aurora, New York at the same time.
Next, she attended law school at the University of Wisconsin, while interning for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and clerking for U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Cobb. In 1989, Kloppenburg joined the Wisconsin Department of Justice, eventually serving under four different Wisconsin Attorneys General, two of each party. Since 1991, she has been in the environmental protection unit, enforcing the state's environmental laws. She has also taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School since 1990 and is currently is a mentor with the Dane County Bar Association, an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor, and a member of her neighborhood association board.
Wisconsin Supreme Court election
Kloppenburg faced incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, Jr. in an election on April 5, 2011. The election received considerable attention due to the 2011 Wisconsin protests regarding the budget repair bill, which was considered likely to come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as well as several controversies regarding the incumbent. Both candidates stated their unhappiness regarding the increased partisan aspect of the race. The race was also seen more generally as a referendum on the administration of Governor Scott Walker.
Kloppenburg was endorsed by Marla Stephens, one of her opponents in the February primary election.
She described the central themes of her campaign as her independence and impartiality, citing as an example her refusal of special-interest money. She stated, "I have not wavered in my beliefs and will not start if I am elected as a justice. My focus will be on the court without any political bias." This theme was praised by local newspapers, such as the Green Bay Press-Gazette, which agreed that independence is a quality "critical for justices to rule fairly."
Prosser described her as an 'unbending ideologue' with 'extreme political and social views' which he did not specify, pointing to her past internship with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, whom he called an 'activist' and 'total bitch.' In response, Kloppenburg replied, "It's ludicrous to say someone will be the clone of someone they interned for many years ago." Prosser later specified his comments by calling Kloppenburg "way out on the fringe", "a very liberal Democrat who has wandered into supporting Green Party candidates." Kloppenburg's husband had previously supported Ben Manski, a former student of his who was a Green Party candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly. Manski placed second in the election with 31% of the vote, 11% more than the Republican candidate.
Prosser also attacked Kloppenburg's qualifications, stating that she has only prosecuted "DNR regulations of docks … the length of docks. The width of docks. Whether people can have docks." PolitiFact.com, an independent fact-checker, rated this claim as "Pants on Fire" for being 'ridiculous' as well as completely incorrect.
At a candidate forum, Prosser asked Kloppenburg to take down a controversial third-party ad attacking Prosser on his decision not to prosecute a sexual abuse case involving a priest and young boys. Kloppenburg responded by stating that the ad wasn't hers, and "Like it or not, third parties have a First Amendment right to run ads of their own choosing."
On March 31, Prosser's campaign co-chairman, former Governor Patrick Lucey resigned from Prosser's campaign and endorsed Kloppenburg, attributing his decision to Prosser's "disturbing distemper and lack of civility", while praising Kloppenburg for showing "promising judicial temperament and good grace, even in the heat of a fierce campaign."
Kloppenburg's opponents ran an advertisement claiming she, "is so extreme she even put an 80-year-old farmer in jail for refusing to plant native vegetation on his farm." This claim has been rated by PolitiFact.com as "Pants on Fire" for being "ridiculously false." Specifically, the farmer was found in contempt of court three times by two different judges, including Randy Koschnick, a conservative. The farmer was ultimately jailed for five days; the specific reasons for the jailing were that he had repeatedly over 11 years ignored orders by county, state, and court officials to take action to rectify an erosion problem. Kloppenburg herself played a minor part at most in the affair.
Politifact also weighed in on a number of Kloppenburg's statements involving Prosser. Kloppenburg had previously said that Prosser was likely to prejudge matters before the court. This was ruled "Barely True", meaning that it was factually correct but had important omissions, as according to Politifact, Kloppenberg's examples were not specific enough. Kloppenburg was given a "Pants On Fire" for claiming her previous statement about Prosser prejudging was considered true by Politifact.
National groups spent heavily on the race, with about $1.4 million spent by pro-union/Democratic groups and $2.1 million spent by conservative groups.
In the primary, JoAnne Kloppenburg was endorsed by the Wausau Daily Herald (which endorsed both Kloppenburg and Prosser). She has been endorsed in the general election by the Appleton Post-Crescent, the Wausau Daily Herald, The Badger Herald, the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Marshfield News Herald, the Stevens Point Journal, the Shepherd Express, the Oshkosh Northwestern, the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, the Sheboygan Press, and The Capital Times.
On April 6, after a preliminary count was released stating Kloppenburg held a 204-vote lead over Justice David Prosser, she issued a statement declaring victory and thanking Justice Prosser for his decades of public service. A recount of the votes was described by the Los Angeles Times as "inevitable."
On April 7, re-canvassing began to verify to election results, and errors were found in counties favoring both candidates; Prosser gained votes from Winnebago and Waukesha, while Kloppenburg regained ground from a scattering of other counties including Grant, Portage, Door, Iowa, Rusk, Vernon, and Shawano.
An April 7 news conference by the Waukesha County Clerk announced that an estimated 14,000 votes were not counted in Brookfield, Wisconsin because she had made an error while saving data on her personal computer. The addition of the missing votes gave Prosser a commanding lead of more than 7,000 votes.
On April 15, the canvass was completed, showing that Prosser had a lead of 7,316 votes, a margin of 0.488%. Because the margin of victory was less than 0.5%, Kloppenburg was legally entitled to a recount, which would be paid for by state taxpayers. Following the recount, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, certified Prosser as the winner by a margin of 7,004. On May 31, 2011 Kloppenburg conceded the election.
Wisconsin Court of Appeals
|2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary|
|David Prosser (incumbent)||231,017||55%|
|2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court General
|David Prosser (incumbent)||750,745||50.24%|
JoAnne Kloppenburg is married to Jack Kloppenburg, a fellow graduate of Yale and Princeton, as well as Northwestern University. They joined the Peace Corps together after their marriage. Jack is now a professor at the University of Wisconsin.
- Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, Wisconsin Court of Appeals
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- "Ad says JoAnne Kloppenburg jailed an 80-year-old farmer for refusing to plant native vegetation on his farm". Politifact Wisconsin. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
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- PolitiFact Wisconsin | Kloppenburg says Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Prosser “has prejudged matters that are likely to come before the court"
- Judicial Public Financing in Wisconsin — 2011 | Brennan Center for Justice
- "IN THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS We endorse ... | Wausau Daily Herald". wausaudailyherald.com. February 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-04.[dead link]
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- Herald, Badger (March 27, 2011). "Kloppenburg best choice, since choose we must". The Badger Herald. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
- Editorial: JoAnne Kloppenburg has the best qualifications for Wisconsin Supreme Court | The Marshfield News-Herald | marshfieldnewsherald.com
- Editorial: JoAnne Kloppenburg has the best qualifications for Wisconsin Supreme Court | Stevens Point Journal | stevenspointjournal.com
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- News from The Associated Press
- Kloppenburg declares victory - JSOnline
- http://elections.wispolitics.com/ - vote updates being posted.
- Condon, Stephanie (April 8, 2011). "Wisconsin Supreme Court contenders David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg prep for possible recount". CBS News.
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