Monday, April 1, 2013

Untipping The Scales Of Justice

In the last three elections for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the corporate special interests have been dumping increasing amounts of money either directly into the campaign or through third party activities, whether they be ads or the insidious propaganda groups.

And the last three candidates that they sponsored to the bench have been real treats.  Annette Ziegler was the first Supreme Court Justice in state history to be reprimanded for her unethical behaviors.  Michael Gableman broke judicial ethics when he ran the racist and utterly false ads against Louis Butler.  And David Prosser is so unstable that he actually physically attacked fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

The current race for Supreme Court Justice, which will be decided on Tuesday, is no different.  The incumbent, Patience Roggensack, has the backing of a lot of out of state school profiteers, support that she tried to hide from the public.  She has also been the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad time paid for by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a front group financed by the likes of the Koch brothers.

It's also a commonly known fact that these special interest groups are not doing this because they think she is a good judge.  If anything, the exact opposite is true.  They are sponsoring her campaign because they know her to be a dishonest judge.  They know that she will rule in their favor in any case that comes before her.  And thanks to her pushing the Roggensack Rule, bribery of a Supreme Court Justice is now legal, making it easier to ensure that they get someone who will decide in their favor, regardless of what the law says.

We've already seen this in action when Roggensack joined the corporate bloc in ruling against the stay on Act 10, without even reading the facts of the case.

This really came clear when Charlie Sykes had Roggensack on his show Friday morning.  In her interview, Roggensack said that she would uphold the law passed by the legislation and did not seem to concerned whether they were even constitutional.

Sykes brought it home even more when he went on a tirade saying that a Fallone victory would mean that things like Act 10, the mining bill, voter suppression and the other acts of malfeasance would be negated.

What this means is that they know that these laws are unconstitutional and won't stand up when looked at with an impartial eye.  Hence the corporate special interests' intense desire to make sure the corrupt Roggensack retains her seat.

I brought this up with Ed Fallone when I had dinner with him on Friday.  I pointed as I had written before, it's a foolish though to think he would rule the way I'd want him to on all of the cases.  He agreed with this assessment, saying that there would be times where I will take to the blog and roundly criticize him for some of his rulings.

But he also pointed out that as he has campaigned around the state, this is the one consistent thing people have said to him.  He said that regardless of who he was talking to, it came down to the same thing - win or lose, they just want to know that they had a fair hearing.

Fallone's statements are backed up by a poll showing that two thirds of the state feel that the Supreme Court has become too political.

Correcting this issue is one of the things Fallone has been promising.  He wants to take the special interest money out of the Supreme Court so that the decisions are based on the law, not on who donated the most to their campaign funds.

And now you can see why the corporate special interests are spending so much money.  Without Roggensack, they will no longer be able to tip the scales of justice so heavily in their favor.

As important as the Supreme Court race is, Milwaukee voters also need to be paying close attention to the race for Circuit Court Branch 45, which has a similar feel as the higher court race.

In the local race, instead of Roggensack, the corporate special interests are throwing their weight, and a lot of their money, behind Rebecca Bradley.

One might think that they are doing this because Bradley has been a strong supporter of the causes they love, such as voter suppression and supporting laws based on political ideology.  And one would be correct for thinking this - for the most part.

But think about this for a minute or three.

A number of the justices on the Supreme Court are, well, getting on in years.  What if one of the members decided to retire or passed away?  Scott Walker would appoint someone to fill that seat for the rest of the term.  It would not take a great leap of faith to think that Bradley was being groomed for this possible eventuality. And it sure would raise a lot fewer eyebrows if he appointed a sitting judge than a lawyer from a private firm with only a few months of experience on the bench.

No wonder the special interests are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars on

this local race.

With Bradley on the Circuit Court bench, she will be ready to make sure that the scales of justice remain tipped in their favor in case something ill should befall one of the current justices.

By electing Janet Protasiewicz, we would not only be getting a judge who is fair and follows the law, but we would also help keep the Supreme Court from becoming again tipped towards the corporations whose only interest is increasing their profit margins.

So, in summary, by electing Ed Fallone and Janet Protasiewicz, we won't be tipping the scales in our favor.  Neither one of the would ever promise such a thing.  But by electing these two outstanding candidates, we can feel more confident that the scales of justice are more balanced and will remain that way.


  1. Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out that a large part of the Democratic base will only come out during presidential elections. Bluntly put, they are too stupid to see how important other elections are.

  2. Obama For America = Shafting every other Democratic candidate in every other election. Saw it in action and we talked about it before he had the nomination in 2008.

  3. Supreme Court Justices are not appointed to fill the remainder of a term. They have to stand in the next April election that does not have another Supreme Court Justice on the ballot. At that election they are elected to a full 4 year term. The appointment could be anywhere for a couple months to a couple years before an election.

  4. Um, that would be a full 10 year term.

    1. yes that was a typo. Meant to say 10 year. Does not change my point that he is wrong about the appointments.