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Rudolph Randa

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Rudolph Randa
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   8/12/1992-Present
Chief:   2002-2009
Preceded by:   Robert Warren
Personal History
Born:   1940
Hometown:   Milwaukee, WI
Undergraduate:   University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1963
Law School:   University of Wisconsin Law School, 1966
Military service:   U.S. Army 1967-1969

Rudolph T. Randa is an Article III federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He joined the court in 1992 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Judge Randa is also a former chief judge. His term as chief judge started in 2002 and ended on August 31, 2009.[1][2]

Early life and education

Judge Randa was born in 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was a graduate of Milwaukee Riverside High School, with honors. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1963, where he received academic honors and graduated as a distinguished military graduate.[1] Judge Randa received his J.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1966. Randa was in the same graduating class as Tommy G. Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin.[1]

Military service

From 1967 to 1969, Randa served as a U.S. Army Company Commander in Vietnam. Judge Randa served with distinction, earning the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with five battle stars, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.[1]

Professional career

After Vietnam, Randa was appointed to the U.S. Attorney General's Office in Washington, D.C. In 1970, Randa returned to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From 1970 to 1973, Randa served as an assistant city attorney for the City of Milwaukee. In 1973, he became the principal city attorney for Milwaukee. Randa represented the City of Milwaukee in two major civil rights cases filed by individual plaintiffs, the United States Department of Justice and the NAACP, alleging a pattern and practice of discrimination based on race and national origin in the Milwaukee Fire and Police Departments. These suits resulted in consent decrees.[1]

In 1975, Randa was elected to the position of municipal judge in Milwaukee. He defeated an incumbent in the election who had been appointed by former Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier.[3] In 1979, Randa was elected to the position of circuit judge for Milwaukee County. He was appointed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 1981. Randa was re-appointed and re-elected as circuit judge in 1983, where he served until 1992. He also served tempus semestre on the 4th District Court of Appeals from 1983 to 1985.[1]

Judicial career

In 1992, Judge Randa was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to become a federal district judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Randa's nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 11, 1992, on unanimous consent. Randa succeeded Judge Robert Warren.[1]

Awards and associations

In 2002, Randa was appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Renquist to serve on the Codes of Conduct Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference. He served on the Codes of Conduct Committee until 2008.[1]

Notable cases

John Doe investigation in Wisconsin (2014)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Eric O'Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. v. Francis Schmitz, John Chisholm, Bruce Landgraf, David Robles, Dean Nickel, and Gregory Peterson, 14-C-139)

A five-county investigation was launched by the defendants in 2012 into alleged illegal coordination surrounding the 2011 State Senate and 2012 gubernatorial Wisconsin recall campaigns. Prosecutors alleged that the plaintiffs violated campaign finance regulations. On May 6, 2014, Judge Randa ruled in favor of plaintiffs Eric O'Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth, granting their motion to enjoin the defendants' John Doe investigation.[4]

Judge Randa ordered the prosecutors to destroy all materials obtained in the inquiry and to return any seized property. Plaintiffs were told they need not comply with the investigation. On May 7, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stayed Judge Randa's injunction. A three-judge panel ruled that Randa had overstepped his authority by staying the order to destroy evidence. The Seventh Circuit held that Judge Randa would need to first resolve a prior appeal by the defendants. The three-judge panel consisted of Diane Wood, William Bauer, and Frank Easterbrook. On May 8, 2014, Randa once again halted the investigation. He issued a seven-page response to the Seventh Circuit, in which he reissued the injunction and called the prosecutors' prior appeal "frivolous."[5][6][7][8][9]

The federal court panel again overturned Randa's decision to halt the investigation on September 24, 2014, pointing to the issue of federalism and chastising Randa for not allowing the issue to be decided by state law.[10][11]

Rights of foster children (2013)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Jeanine B. v. McCallum, et al., 93-c-0547)

In 2001, Judge Randa ruled that children in foster care have enforceable federal rights to a speedy adoption and can sue a state for failing to make them legally available for adoption as required under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA). The ruling was the first to fully examine the rights of children to sue under ASFA and whether those federal rights imposed binding obligations on a state.[12]

Wells Fargo sues Indian tribe for gaming bonds default (2011)

     United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Trustee, v. Lake of the Torches Economic Development Corp., 09-cv-768)

In January 2010, Judge Randa held that a $50 million bond transaction involving the Lac du Flambeau Indian Nation was void because it was a management contract that was unapproved by the National Indian Gaming Commission. Therefore, Judge Randa refused to appoint a receiver to oversee the Tribe's gaming operation, as the trustee Wells Fargo had requested, and dismissed the case.[13] On appeal, the Seventh Circuit upheld the decision, invalidating the plaintiff's bond indenture as a "management contract" because it contained provisions allowing lenders to influence the management of the tribal casino without approval of the bond indenture by the National Indian Gaming Commission. Randa's decision was reversed in part, as the Seventh Circuit allowed the trustees to seek recovery on certain claims due to a sovereign immunity waiver in the contracts.[14]

Minimum markup on price of gasoline in WI (2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Flying J, Inc., v. J.B. Van Hollen, Attorney Gen. of Wisconsin, et al., 2:08-cv-00110-RTR)

In 2009, Judge Randa ruled that Wisconsin's minimum markup of 9.18% on gasoline as required by the Unfair Sales Act was unconstitutional. He held that the provision created an illegal restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act, and that the illegal restraint was not actively supervised by the State. Judge Randa enjoined the State from further enforcement of the law. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that he would not appeal the decision.[15] The Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (WPMCA) moved to intervene post-judgment and to appeal Judge Randa's ruling.[16] Ultimately, the WPMCA intervened in the case, and Judge Randa's decision was overturned by the Seventh Circuit. The panel which reversed Judge Randa's decision consisted of Judges Richard Posner, Ken Ripple, and Michael Kanne, who wrote the opinion.[17]

Prisoner's rights (2009-2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Kristin Flynn, et al., v. Jim Doyle, et al., 2:06-cv-00537-RTR)

In 2009, Judge Randa ordered that prison officials in Wisconsin's primary female correctional facility, Taycheedah Correctional Institution, make significant changes in the distribution and administration of medication to prisoners. For years, medication was distributed by correctional officials without medical training in the context of an error-prone system. Judge Randa ordered that Wisconsin begin using licensed practical nurses or medical personnel with equivalent training to distribute and administer prescriptions. Judge Randa also ordered that correctional officials begin to process medication orders and dispense and administer prescribed medications in a timely, accurate, and reliable manner.[18]

The lawsuit, brought primarily by the ACLU, and its accompanying publicity, prompted a Department of Justice investigation which uncovered minimal treatment of prisoners with mental illnesses. The investigation also discovered the fact that these prisoners, some as young as 15, were regularly placed into isolation cells. This was in addition to a general lack of health services -- the prison did not have an infirmary, and hired only one part-time physician on staff.[19]

In August 2010, Taycheedah and state Department of Corrections officials agreed to settle the lawsuit. The settlement agreement required the state to spend millions to provide female prisoners with the same level of health care services and mental health treatment already provided to males. This included requiring the facility to hire a full-time doctor, a consultant to review physical and mental health care at the prison, as well as construct new health facilities and an off-site center exclusively for inmates with serious mental illness.[19]

Access to abortion clinics (1995)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Unites States v. George Lyman Wilson, et al., 880 F. Supp. 6288)

In 1995, Judge Randa ruled that the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act was unconstitutional in banning "nonviolent, physical obstruction of reproductive health services clinics." Judge Randa ruled that Congress could not use its constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate abortion protests, "a private activity wholly intrastate in character, non-violent by description and definition, without any commercial aspect, the control of which historically and traditionally rested within the domain of local and state authorities, and which has no direct effect on interstate commerce but instead affects an activity found by Congress to be within 'the stream of interstate commerce . . .'"[20] Judge Randa's ruling, which contradicted the prevailing view in favor of expansive federal authority under the Commerce Clause, was reversed on appeal by the Seventh Circuit; a link to that subsequent ruling may be found here.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Federal Judicial Center, "Biography of Rudolph Thomas Randa"
  2. Journal-Sentinel, "U.S. judge Stadtmueller not taking new criminal cases," August 23, 2009
  3. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Federal Judges Lynn Adelman, Rudolph Randa are polar opposites," May 10, 2014
  4. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Federal appeals court stays ruling halting Doe probe into Walker recall," May 7, 2014
  5. Wisconsin State Journal, "'John Doe' ruling may land in U.S. Supreme Court," May 11, 2014
  6. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Federal judge stops Doe probe again, calls appeal frivolous," May 8, 2014
  7. Wisconsin Reporter, "John Doe is dead; judge stops prosecutors’ probe into conservatives," May 6, 2014
  8. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Federal judge halts John Doe probe into Walker recall," May 6, 2014
  9. New York Times, "Conflicting Rulings Cloud Wisconsin Campaign Finance Inquiry," May 8, 2014
  10. Fox 11, "Questions about latest ruling in John Doe case," September 24, 2014
  11. PR, "Federal Panel Suggests Koch-Tied Judge Overreached When He Halted Walker Probe," September 10, 2014
  12., "Foster Children Have Right to Sue - Children's Rights Press Release," accessed June 11, 2013
  13. Lakeland Times, "Judge's ruling on casino receiver may impact future financial deals," January 15, 2010
  14. National Law Review, "Lake of Torches Appellate Decision: 'Management Contracts' Are Still a Burning Issue in Tribal Gaming Financings," September 10, 2011
  15. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Van Hollen won't appeal minimum markup ruling," March 10, 2009
  16. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Petroleum marketers ask judge to stay minimum markup decision," February 26, 2009
  17. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's minimum gas markup law reinstated," September 3, 2010
  18. American Civil Liberties Union, "ACLU Wins Judicial Order Requiring Proper Administration of Medicine At Wisconsin Women's Prison," accessed June 11, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Taycheedah prison to get better healthcare," August 18, 2010
  20. United States v. Wilson, 880 F. Supp. 621 (E.D. Wis. 1995)
Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Robert Warren
Eastern District of Wisconsin
Seat #1
Succeeded by:

WisconsinWisconsin Supreme CourtWisconsin Court of AppealsWisconsin Circuit CourtsWisconsin Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States District Court for the Western District of WisconsinUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of WisconsinUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitWisconsin countiesWisconsin judicial newsWisconsin judicial electionsJudicial selection in WisconsinWisconsinTemplate.jpg