October 20, 2014

Supreme Court candidates in Rotary forum (AUDIO)

It’s not on the radar screens of many voters in the state, but there’s an election for Wisconsin Supreme Court this spring. The two candidates participated in a forum at Madison Downtown Roatary on Wednesday.

“This election is about which candidate the voters of the state believe is best able to address the dysfunction on our court, and restore the court to the level of respect that it used to enjoy, not only in this state but around the country,” said Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone, who is challenging incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack.

AUDIO: Fallone, Roggensack (3:15)

“My heart aches a little bit with the choice my opponent makes for his campaign, because he attacks the court as an institution,” said Roggensack. “He attacks the court as an institution. The court as an institution is so much more important than any candidate, or any justice that sits on the court right now.”

Fallone said he first became concerned about the functioning of the court a couple of years ago, even before well-publicized, allegations of a physical confrontation between Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley. “The arguing, the acrimony. Noting what Justice Michael Gabelman has called “the cycle of hostility, recrimination and ill will that plagues the court. And noting it’s effect on productivity in the court.”

AUDIO: Fallone, Roggensack (4:35)

Roggensack said that while the justices are working on ways to be more productive, they do work well together, and issed 58 or 59 decisions last year. “Only four cases were 4-to-3 decisions. And of those four, only three involved the justices that the paper wants to label as a conservative group,” she said.