April 14, 2021 – Washington Co., WI – Members of the Washington County Bar Association are cheering the news that Annette Ziegler has been selected the new chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“This is wonderful for Washington County to have one of our as the chief justice of Wisconsin Supreme Court. It is just a spectacular achievement on her part and it is so good for us to have this in a comparatively small county,” said Washington County Circuit Court Judge James Pouros.
Ziegler, who lives in the Town of West Bend, was appointed to Washington County Circuit Court in 1997. She was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2007.
“I think it’s tremendous,” said former Washington County Judge Andrew Gonring. “She’s well qualified for the job and she will handle her duties as chief justice excellently and it is also quite a feather in the cap for Washington County and the County Bar Association.”
Ziegler is part of the Washington County Bar Association.
“We’ve had a local work her way up through the ranks and will now be chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court; that’s quite something,” said Gonring.
Ziegler has consistently received high praise from her peers in law, law enforcement and the community. Judge Porous said he anticipated this day would eventually happen in Ziegler’s career.
“I expected Annette to be the chief justice, it was just a matter of when,” said Porous.
On Wednesday evening, Ziegler took a break from celebrating her son’s 22nd birthday to respond to the selection.
“I have no idea if I am the youngest chief justice but my guess is it has to be pretty close,” wrote Ziegler.
“I’m excited for Washington County. I’ll continue to do my best to make the people of the state proud.”
Naming Ziegler as chief justice comes with more duties than meet the eye.
“It is more important than overseeing the court or moderating hearings, she is the chief of one branch of government,” said Porous. “We have three branches of government with the governor, the legislature and the courts so she becomes the chief of one branch of government.
“Her immediate assistant is a person called the Director of State Courts and that’s Randy Koschnick. It is not simply that she gets to sit at the head of the table when they’re debating a decision.”
Questioned whether Porous has Ziegler achieving an even higher position, he said that depends on her desire. “She certainly is young enough if she had the desire to be on the Federal Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “I believe this really is the capstone of a life’s achievement in the legal profession. It is something she aspired to and now has accomplished.”
Ziegler will take over for Chief Justice Patience Roggensack on May 1.
Below is the announcement by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler was first elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2007. She is the 80th justice and the sixth woman to serve on the state’s highest court since Wisconsin became a state in 1848.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Justice Ziegler received her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Business Administration from Hope College in Holland, Michigan in 1986. She earned her law degree from Marquette University in 1989. Justice Ziegler received the Marquette Law School Alumna of the Year award in April, 2019, and also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Hope College in April, 2014.
Upon graduation from law school, Justice Ziegler was in private practice where she engaged in civil litigation. She also served as a pro bono special assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County in 1992 and 1996. Immediately prior to serving as a circuit court judge, she was an assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Before joining the Supreme Court, Justice Ziegler served as a Washington County Circuit Court judge. She was appointed to the bench in 1997, elected in 1998, and reelected in 2004. She was the first female jurist in Washington County. As a circuit court judge, she was the deputy chief judge for the Third Judicial District and served six years as the presiding judge of Washington County. In 1999, Justice Ziegler sat as a Court of Appeals judge in the District II Court of Appeals Judicial Exchange Program.
Justice Ziegler is Court Liaison to the Board of Bar Examiners and a member of the Supreme Court Finance Committee. Justice Ziegler also currently serves on the Marquette University Law School Advisory Board. She is a member of the American Bar Association, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and an elected member of the American Law Institute. Justice Ziegler is also a member of the International Women’s Forum.
Justice Ziegler previously served as a commissioner on the Wisconsin Commission on Uniform State Laws from 2016 to 2019 and a member of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission from 2011 to 2016. She also served on the Wisconsin Judicial Council from 2014 to 2018 and the State Bar of Wisconsin Bench and Bar Committee from 2013 to 2018. She has been a member of a number of law-related organizations including Legal Association of Women and James E. Doyle Chapter of the American Inns of Court. Justice Ziegler has been a faculty member at the Wisconsin Judicial College, has served as faculty at a number of seminars, and previously was appointed to the Personnel Appeals Board.
Justice Ziegler is also active in her community, volunteering for numerous charitable and social welfare organizations as a board member and committee chair. Justice Ziegler is currently president of the Trustee Board for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.
Justice Ziegler is married and has three children. Her current term expires July 31, 2027.