A family court commissioner has announced that she will run for circuit judge in Milwaukee, for the seat currently held by Stephanie Rothstein, who will not be running for her third full term this spring.
Nidhi Kashyap, 40, has served as a commissioner since 2018, overseeing litigation in family court and, if elected, will continue the court’s slow transformation, away from a court historically dominated by former prosecutors.
She has also worked as a lawyer for the Milwaukee County Child Support Agency, helping parents get payments, as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, and in a non-profit organization that provides legal services to low-income clients.
“I am running for a judge because I am dedicated to a fair and accessible justice system, where everyone is treated with respect and dignity,” Kashyap said in a press release announcing his candidacy.
“As a judge, I will make sure that each individual case receives the time and attention it deserves, and that I strive to clearly explain my decisions to those who appear before me. I will also play a leadership role in resolving systemic issues to improve the justice system for all.
Kashyap’s announcement includes the first approvals from I District Court of Appeal Judge Joe Donald, former Deputy Chief Justice of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, and Circuit Judge Jean Kies.
In Milwaukee County, the Chief Justice appoints commissioners from shortlists of candidates selected by a committee consisting of other judges, a commissioner, an administrator and one other person.
Rothstein, 63, has served since his appointment in 2009 by the then governor. Jim Doyle, and was elected twice, in 2010 and 2016. She said she made no secret that she was planning to retire at the end of the year. She said she looked forward to spending more time with her three grandchildren.
Open seats in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, which has 47 branches, often attract more than one candidate, but so far no one else has said he’s running for Rothstein.
Prospective judges can also apply to be appointed by Gov. Tony Evers to fill the branch 5 vacancy created by the resignation of Brett Blomme, who is due to plead guilty next week to federal child pornography charges.
An appointee is expected to show up in the spring to keep their post, but could campaign as a sitting judge, usually, but not always, a major advantage in low attendance races.
Evers is also selecting candidates to fill a position at the District II Court of Appeals in Waukesha, following Justice Paul Reilly’s announcement that he will step down at the end of the year.
The person appointed to fill Reilly’s position is also expected to run for office this spring. Reilly was elected to the Court of Appeal in 2010 and 2016. His current term would end in July.
District II reviews cases from 12 counties in southeastern Wisconsin, from Walworth to Fond du Lac, not including Milwaukee County, which has its own appeal district.
Circuit and appellate court judges serve six-year terms and earn approximately $ 147,535 and $ 156,388, respectively.
The judicial elections, scheduled for April 5, are non-partisan. If more than two candidates are vying for a position, a primary election will be held on February 15.