A running start for new justice

The Brillion News

MADISON – Competitive runners often receive a T-shirt and goodie bag just for competing in a race – maybe even a medal if they’re lucky enough to place. But on Saturday, Aug. 1, Judge Jill Karofsky took home a new title: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

Karofsky, who was elected in April, was sworn in to office by fellow Justice Rebecca Frank Dallet in Basco, Wisconsin, at what would have been the 35-mile mark in a 100-mile competitive race along the Badger State Trail.

The “Badger 100” was scheduled to run from Orangeville, Illinois, to Belleville, Wisconsin, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Karofsky, who had signed up for the race, decided to run the route anyway to celebrate both her love of running and her new role as a justice.

She has completed a number of marathons, ultra-marathons and Ironman competitions over the years. A more traditional, formal investiture will also have to wait for a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karofsky was elected to the Supreme Court on April 7. She defeated outgoing Justice Daniel Kelly, who had served on the Court since 2016. Kelly was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice David T. Prosser.

Karofsky has served as a Dane County Circuit Court judge since her election to that office in 2017.


Prior to becoming a judge, Karofsky was the executive director of the Office of Crime Victim Services for the state Department of Justice.

She previously served as an assistant state attorney general and Wisconsin’s first Violence against Women Resource Prosecutor, an adjunct professor at the UW Law School, the general counsel and director of education and human resources for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and an assistant district attorney and deputy district attorney for Dane County. Justice Karofsky has served on a number of boards and committees, including the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council, and the Dane County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors.

She previously co-chaired the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team. She also has served on the Wisconsin Judicial Education Committee and chairs the Violence Against Women STOP Grant committee.

Karofsky earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University, her master’s degree from UW- Madison, and her law degree from UW Law School. While at Duke, Karofsky competed on the school’s NCAA Division I cross-country and track teams.

~ Source: Supreme Court of Wisconsin press release.

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