Supreme Court

Former justices

Roland B. Day (1919-2008)

Roland B. Day

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1974-1996)
Chief Justice (1995-1996)

Roland B. Day was born June 11, 1919, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and was raised in Eau Claire. He received his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin in 1942 and 1947, respectively. He served overseas in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Day was a law trainee in the Office of the Attorney General in 1947, and was the first assistant district attorney for Dane County from 1949 to 1952. From 1957 to 1958, he served as legal counsel to Senator William Proxmire in Washington, D.C.

Upon returning to Madison, Day resumed law practice until 1974. During this period, he was chair of the Madison Public Housing Authority, which during his tenure built the first public housing units in Madison; served as special counsel to Governor John W. Reynolds in the reapportionment case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which became the first state court in the nation to reapportion legislative districts on the basis of one person, one vote. He also represented the mayor of Madison in a civil action challenging his right to go forward with the building of the Monona Terrace Civic Center and served on the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin system from 1972 to 1974.

In 1974, while a partner in the law firm of Wheeler, Van Sickle, Day and Anderson, Day was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Governor Patrick J. Lucey. He was elected in 1976 and was re-elected in 1986. He became the chief justice August 1, 1995 and retired a year later, at the end of his second term.

While on the Supreme Court, Day was a member of the Judicial Council and the Council of Criminal Justice. From 1986 to 1991, Day served as state chair of the Wisconsin Bicentennial Committee on the U.S. Constitution. His name appears on a Bicentennial commemorative plaque in the capitol rotunda, along with an original copy of the Wisconsin Constitution of 1848. Day was a member of the Supreme Court's Sesquicentennial Committee.

Day was married to Mary Jane (Purcell) and had one daughter, Sarah.

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