Milwaukee May Soon Lose A Bankruptcy Judge

There may soon be a vacancy on the bench in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Judge Brett Ludwig, who currently serves as a bankruptcy judge here in Milwaukee, has been tapped by President Trump to fill a long-vacant seat on Wisconsin’s federal district court. This is quite the promotion. 

Moving On Up? 

However, Judge Ludwig is not switching offices just yet. His appointment must be confirmed by the United State’s Senate. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin Senators Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (R) both approve of Ludwig’s nomination. Their bipartisan support is a sign that Judge Ludwig’s confirmation is likely, although the timeline is uncertain. 

Judge Ludwig has served as a bankruptcy judge since February 2017. Prior to that, he was a partner at a large Wisconsin law firm. He is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Minnesota Law School.

As mentioned above, if Ludwig is confirmed, he will fill a federal court judgeship that has been vacant for some time. He would be taking the place of Judge Rudolph Randa, who passed away in 2016. It is not uncommon for federal district court seats to sit vacant because there can be political hurdles to filling them. 

Switch Would Open Up A Seat On Milwaukee’s Bankruptcy Court

Thankfully, bankruptcy court seats are not typically so difficult to fill. While federal district court judges must be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, U.S. bankruptcy court judges are appointed by a majority vote of the circuit court judges in the jurisdiction in which they sit. It typically takes around six months for a new judge to be appointed when a bankruptcy court vacancy opens up. 

One reason for this difference in selection is that bankruptcy court judges are not awarded lifetime tenure. Instead, they are appointed to renewable 14-year terms. In practice, many of these judges end up serving multiple terms, often until they retire. It is understandably difficult to resume private practice after being in public office for over a decade. 

A Full-Service Bankruptcy Firm

The Hanson & Payne team is paying close attention to Judge Ludwig’s nomination, and any potential bankruptcy court vacancy that may open up should he be confirmed as a district court judge. We will notify any clients who have cases before him if he is suddenly swept into his new role. We will also alert our clients if it appears a vacancy on the bankruptcy court is impeding court operations, and slowing down cases. 

If you are a Milwaukee area resident or business who is considering filing for bankruptcy, the Hanson & Payne team is ready to help. Our experienced attorneys handle both personal and commercial bankruptcies. We also do quite a bit of work for creditors and local banks. Please contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.