In a rare unanimous decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has granted Attorney Tamara Packard's client the privilege to practice law in the State of Wisconsin. The Court reversed the ruling of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, which denied the law student admission to the Wisconsin Bar because in a final law school paper he quoted the work of others without attribution. The Court found that evidence of the student's positive character offset the concerning conduct, and that with an appropriate mentoring relationship at the start of his legal career, he could be admitted.
CWPB partners Lester Pines and Susan Crawford, along with the lawyers from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, successfully challenged Wisconsin's hastily enacted and restrictive law requiring physicians who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an identical Texas law in its momentous decision in Whole Women's Health et al. v. Hellerstedt et al. The Supreme Court expressly relied on and cited the Wisconsin case and trial record in determining that the State of Texas had failed to demonstrate that the law had the purpose of protecting women's health, but rather had the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman's choice to terminate a pregnancy. On June 28, 2016, the Supreme Court denied the State of Wisconsin's pending petition for certiorari, which asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision striking down the Wisconsin law. As a result, the Seventh Circuit's decision in Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin v. Schimel stands as a final decision. The case was a hard-won victory to safeguard women's rights to reproductive freedom.
Susan Crawford and Lester Pines won a significant victory for public education in the Wisconsin Supreme Court on May 18, 2016. The Court struck down, on constitutional grounds, a 2011 law that gave the Governor broad control over the Superintendent's rule-making in public education. The case, Coyne v. Walker, upholds the Superintendent's constitutional role as an independent, nonpartisan officer charged with supervising the state's public education system.