The United States Supreme Court has granted Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm and two other Wisconsin district attorneys more time file a request to bring the closed John Doe case centered on Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign before the court.
Chisholm, along with Larry Nelson of Iowa County and Ismael Ozanne of Dane County, are appealing the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision to close the John Doe investigation. The state Supreme Court ruled in July to close the case and later rejected a special prosecutors' request for reconsideration. In December, the state Supreme Court permitted the three district attorneys to intervene in the case.
Justice Elena Kagan, the court's circuit justice for the 7th Circuit, granted the delay Wednesday. The deadline for Chisholm to file a request, called a writ of certiorari, was extended from March 1 until April 29. Chisholm's application will be filed under seal, but the court will allow redacted copies to be publicly available.
Kagan is the court’s justice assigned to the 7th Circuit Court which encompasses cases from Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Each U.S. Supreme Court justice is assigned a circuit court across the country.
Russ Wheeler, a visiting fellow and expert in U.S. courts with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said the order is routine.
"I suppose you could say that if she thought, based on whatever knowledge she had of the case, that any certiorari petition in the case would not be granted, she might not have extended the time, but that is simply rampant, unreliable speculation," he said in an email.
The U.S. Supreme court takes a small fraction of the cases that make requests to be heard each year. It considers several factors when deciding whether to take a case, outlined in its Rule 10.
It can take a few months or more than a year for the court to determine whether to take a case. Here is what the court says it considers:
(a) a United States court of appeals has entered a decision in conflict with the decision of another United States court of appeals on the same important matter; has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with a decision by a state court of last resort; or has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings, or sanctioned such a departure by a lower court, as to call for an exercise of this Court’s supervisory power;
(b) a state court of last resort has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with the decision of another state court of last resort or of a United States court of appeals;
(c) a state court or a United States court of appeals has decided an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this Court, or has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with relevant decisions of this Court. A petition for a writ of certiorari is rarely granted when the asserted error consists of erroneous factual finding or the misapplication of a properly stated rule of law.