The Latest: Appointee says beliefs take back seat to law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Scott Walker’s appointment to the Wisconsin Supreme Court (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

New Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly says he’ll put his personal beliefs aside when he takes the oath of office.

Gov. Scott Walker appointed Kelly to replace retiring Justice David Prosser on Friday. Kelly is an attorney with no judicial experience. He wrote in application materials to Walker that he believes same-sex marriage robs the institution of meaning and affirmative action is akin to slavery.

Walker introduced Kelly during a news conference Friday afternoon. Asked by reporters to explain his writings, Kelly declined to comment, saying justices shouldn’t comment on their personal philosophy. He stressed, however, that as soon as he steps into a courtroom his personal beliefs take a back seat to the law.

Walker wouldn’t let Kelly answer any follow-up questions about his writings, saying he believed Kelly explained himself.


3:11 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker has appointed attorney Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson told The Associated Press on Friday that the governor had decided to name Kelly to the seven-member court.

Kelly will replace retiring Justice David Prosser. His appointment won’t change the court’s 5-2 conservative majority, however. Kelly defended Republicans’ 2011 legislative redistricting plan against a federal lawsuit that alleged the maps denied voters their rights.

The 52-year-old Kelly serves on the litigation advisory board for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative group that has filed lawsuits defending several of Walker’s most contentious proposals. He wrote in application materials he submitted to Walker that same-sex marriage robs the institution of meaning and affirmative action is akin to slavery.

10:31 a.m.

A person with direct knowledge of Mark Gundrum’s candidacy for the Wisconsin Supreme Court said he’s out of the running.

Gov. Scott Walker is set to announce his latest appointment to the high court on Friday afternoon. Gundrum was among three finalists. The others are conservative attorney Dan Kelly and 3rd District Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Hruz.

The person with knowledge of Gundrum’s candidacy said Gundrum did not get the appointment. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment. Contacted by The Associated Press, Gundrum said only that he had heard the governor would make his announcement Friday afternoon and the choice would be the governor’s call.

The person said he did not know who the governor planned to choose. Kelly and Hruz didn’t immediately return messages from AP. Walker’s spokesman, Tom Evenson, also didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Conservatives have been making a push for Kelly over recent days. Rick Esenberg, founder and president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, posted a column online Wednesday calling Kelly more than competent.


This second item has been updated to correct the spelling of the governor’s spokesman. It’s Evenson, not Eversman.