Start A Petition

Another WI Supreme Court Election Battle Dominated By Outside Spending

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, corruption, Walker, WI, cover-up, crime, dishonesty, elections, ethics, freedoms, government, lies, media, propaganda, politics, usa )

- 1917 days ago -
Ever since Governor Scott Walker imposed his anti-union legislation on Wisconsin, the state has become exceptionally polarized. This polarization is reflected in the current race for Supreme Court.Once again Wisconsin is seeing massive spending from outs

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


JL A (281)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 3:58 pm

PR Watch
Published on PR Watch (

Another WI Supreme Court Election Battle Dominated By Outside Spending
by Laura Steigerwald [1] March 12, 2013 - 10:00am

Ever since Governor Scott Walker imposed his anti-union legislation on Wisconsin, the state has become exceptionally polarized. This polarization is reflected in the current race for Supreme Court. Once again Wisconsin is seeing massive spending from outside groups in a race that is officially nonpartisan.

The 2011 Supreme Court race between incumbent Justice David Prosser [4] -- who was formerly a GOP lawmaker in the state -- and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg became a referendum on Walker's controversial Act 10, with record-breaking spending [5] by groups like the Koch-linked Citizens for a Strong America, the powerful Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin chapter of Club for Growth, and the union-backed Greater Wisconsin Committee. Prosser ultimately won in a narrow victory after the last-minute discovery of uncounted votes in heavily Republican Waukesha County.
Club for Growth is the Big Spender in Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

Now, another member of the court's 4-3 right-wing majority, Justice Patience "Pat" Roggensack, is up for re-election. Roggensack is being aided by the same outside groups that aided Walker in advancing some of his most controversial proposals. The far-right independent expenditure group Wisconsin Club for Growth spent an eye-popping $300,000 on television ads supporting Roggensack [6] during the primary. Club for Growth was responsible for more than 75% of the nearly $400,000 in TV spending in the primary race, and more than 80% of the total ad spots, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG estimates released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.

In addition, Roggensack is being handed big checks by some [7] of the [8] same [9] wealthy donors that gave to Governor Walker in his recall campaign [10], such as Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks and David Uihlein, Jr., as well as [8] a variety of PACs and local Republican Party chapters.

Her opponent, Marquette Law Professor Edward Fallone, has been endorsed by a host of progressive organizations [11], but lags well behind in fundraising. If Fallone took the majority the court could do a virtual 180 on some of the state's most contentious issues [12]. But, the race thus far has focused on the issue of mending a court that is as dysfunctional and divided as Wisconsin politics.
Fall Out From Physical Altercation Still Debated

A few months after the nail-biter of a judicial election in 2011 [13], an already-divided court became even more so when the Court's four-justice majority rushed to issue a decision [14] upholding Walker's Act 10 (by striking down a lower court decision that had invalidated it on procedural grounds). As the justices had a heated debate about the ruling privately in chambers, recently-reelected Justice Prosser put his hands around Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's neck in a manner she described as "choking." Six out of the seven justices witnessed the physical altercation.

The nonpartisan Wisconsin Judicial Commission filed an ethics complaint [15] against Justice Prosser over the incident, but because the Wisconsin Supreme Court is the only governing body that can make a final ruling on this issue, the matter is stalled as the Court cannot reach a quorum [16]. Prosser asked every member of the court to recuse themselves from the case; Roggensack was the first to do so [17], followed by two other justices [18], dampening any hopes of a resolution.

Further division within the court is evidenced by a February 13, 2013 memo [19] from Justice Bradley where she expresses continued concerns over her safety. The memo, where she too recuses herself from deliberations over the choking incident, discusses the court's dysfunction, and singles out Justice Roggensack for denying it.

Roggensack had made a series of public statements [20] where she discounted the court's internal conflicts by calling it "just a bunch of gossip" and that the court was "doing just fine." Bradley's memo refutes these statements by detailing how she and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson had been forced to lock their doors and request additional security [21] from the Capitol Police even before the choking incident, due to concerns over what she describes as Justice Prosser's "history of abusive behavior."

Roggensack, for her part, has urged her colleagues [22] to join her in signing a joint apology letter [23] to the citizens of Wisconsin regarding the incident between Prosser and Bradley, which purports to be [24] an alternative to the ethics case finding a resolution. Her opponent Fallone has criticized the letter [25], as well as her decision to recuse herself from the case, stating "[i]t is obvious that her unnecessary recusal in the case continues to be an obstacle to the resolution of the matter."
New Recusal Rules Allow Justices to Hear Cases Brought by Campaign Contributors

The ethics case against Justice Prosser is not the only recusal issue in this election [26].

Prior to 2010, a justice who received campaign contributions from (or benefitted from independent expenditures by) an individual or entity involved in a proceeding would be expected to recuse from their case. In 2010, the four-justice majority issued new rules stating that these facts alone would not require recusal. Fallone has claimed Roggensack "bears a large part of responsibility for pushing through" the rule change, which he has deemed the "Roggensack Rule." [27] In a release, Fallone says it "allows interest groups with cases before the court to make campaign contributions to justices."

With campaign contributions in Wisconsin Supreme Court races reaching new highs, these looser recusal rules are likely to have an impact on future cases and the public's perception of a fair and impartial justice system.

Roggensack has also been criticized for her refusal to recuse herself in cases where her impartiality might have been compromised in other ways. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported that Roggensack ruled in a case [28] involving an attorney who once represented her, after recusing herself the first time around. There was also controversy surrounding a criminal case in which she denied the defendant's motion to recuse herself [29] which was requested because she ruled on the co-defendant's case at the appellate level.

Many other controversial cases are almost certain to find themselves before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including voter ID (which has been blocked by two lower courts), Act 10, and the newly-passed mining bill [30]. Other challenges may also come to the Court as the legislature considers new proposals to restrict voting and expand voucher schools. With the ideological balance of the court up for grabs, the stakes are high for the April 2, 2013 election.

Brendan Fischer contributed to this article.
Center for Media and Democracy 520 University Avenue, Suite 260 Madison, Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713 Fax: 608-260-9714
Source URL:

[4] [

Tamara Hayes (185)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 5:38 pm
Yup, I am so lucky I live in WI! Thanks J.L. Voting for Fallone by the way.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 5:40 pm
You are welcome Tamara.You cannot currently send a star to Tamara because you have done so within the last day.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 6:27 pm

It's not just Wisconsin, it's everywhere. We need to stop this money from grabbing up elections, and worse Court elections. I don't like Court Judges being elected, but I don't like the appointments much either. Any ideas?

JL A (281)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 6:35 pm
Bar associations and justices at lower levels as a part of vetting process limiting who can run at least?

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 11:38 pm
Politiciation of the justice-system is one of the worst things that can happen to a country. I'm not saying things are likely to go this far in the U.S., but for some idea of how bad such politicization can get, it's a regular precursor to violent revolution. This is part of why I like the Canadian system, where we don't vote for judges.

The appointment-system may look easier to corrupt, but attempts to load the judiciary with political appointments would be suicidal for whichever party tries it, and they all know that. I think Americans here are familiar with scandals where leaders have screwed up so badly that news-agencies which normally back them turned 180. The intelligence-failure about Iraqi WMDs comes to mind. This is also why Canadian governments change the electoral map so rarely: Doing it in their own favour without some obviously good cause can mean losing the enext election.

paul m (93)
Monday March 25, 2013, 7:30 am

The World's Governments take your money ,,allways had allways will...

Past Member (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 9:13 am
Noted thanks

roxy H (350)
Monday March 25, 2013, 9:15 am
LoL, this is something else here... First of all, there was absolutely NO POSTING nowhere about the polls or voting in public leading up to april 2nd... THEN the last 2 elections.. " like I said ...nothing public" I was telling people to GO VOTE!... so they went to vote..AND GET THIS... the voting list...Was rigged... Tamara? did you notice that too? Had nothing written on them ..Just Walkers puppets names listed and nothing telling about the people..not a word about the voting... No where ... BLANK SHEET!.. I was stunned.. totally shocked...People were hitting my blogs as I was standing at the polling lines asking me who to vote for...what race was for... I WAS SHOCKED! had nothing on the paper... WALKER HAD THIS CRAP one box written in... FALLON... and then I was lucky I didn't get caught texting LOL...was texting everyone FALLON! WRITE IN FALLON!!! ... omfg... then the granny's sitting in there told me I was the 4th person voting that day... WTF??? I was late in the afternoon!!!!! this whole district... 4th person!!!!!!! FALLON WON! we wrote him in and he won.... they had that women rigged in to win.... it was incredible... FALLON came into lacrosse county to personally thank everyone for the endorsement, he was aware that his name "somehow" was bumped off .... CORRUPTION!!! So, april 2nd we going in force... I was victim of voter harassment during the prez election...that was pure enjoyment... LOVE WALKERPUKEVILL!

JL A (281)
Monday March 25, 2013, 10:27 am
You are welcome Carol.
You cannot currently send a star to Stephen because you have done so within the last day.

Mitchell D (87)
Monday March 25, 2013, 11:32 am
Too bad Walker was not recalled!

Birgit W (160)
Monday March 25, 2013, 1:01 pm

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Monday March 25, 2013, 2:07 pm
Thank you JL! (N, P, T)

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday March 25, 2013, 2:50 pm
Noted. We've GOT to get big money out of our political campaigns. is working locally and federally to constitutionally change this. What I read & learn about what's happening in WI just makes me want to scream. ALEC & the Kochs are never satisfied with enough power, they just want it ALL. Wishing the people of WI much good luck and success.

Susan T (20)
Monday March 25, 2013, 3:04 pm
This is the latest front on the corporate take over - judges. We need to fight against the best government money can buy - is a great place to start

Deborah W (6)
Monday March 25, 2013, 3:06 pm
Many groups of outsiders ON BOTH SIDES OF EVERY DISPUTABLE SUBJECT spill into areas as needed to, hopefully, spotlight and further their side of things ... one no worse than the other (Koch, Soros, etc.)

Ro H (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 3:56 pm

JL A (281)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:07 pm
You are welcome Bryna and Ro.
You cannot currently send a star to Lois because you have done so within the last day.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:46 pm
Next to banking; finance; tax reforms; campaign spending and monetary issuance fees this is something that should be stopped and anyone caught should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Of course both parties have been doing it for over a hundred years.

Varcolac Veroscarius (93)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:13 pm
Noted and shocked!.

JL A (281)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:43 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Theodore because you have done so within the last day.

Steve S (70)
Monday March 25, 2013, 9:14 pm
Walker is pond scum

Ro H (0)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 5:12 am

P A (117)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 5:57 am

paul m (93)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 6:10 am

Thanks ..

JL A (281)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 8:15 am
You are welcome Ro, Pat and Paul.

Robert K (31)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 12:21 pm
I'd like to propose that since Republicans don't believe waterboarding is torture, Scott Walker be waterboarded every day between 5 and 6 AM before he reports for work at the capitol. When he becomes rational the waterboardings could stop.

Good or bad idea?

Shirley B (5)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 1:35 pm
Good Idea Robert.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in US Politics & Gov't

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.