Government watchdogs say special interest groups are the real winners in what they call a "negative, nasty, demoralizing" Supreme Court race.
But that's all behind us now, right? Not according to Jay Heck of Wisconsin Common Cause . Voters can expect a third consecutive expensive and negative campaign as Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson is up for reelection next year.
"And we can go through this again yet for a third consecutive year and my guess is it would be even more expensive and even more nasty unless the governor and the legislature do what they need to do, and that is to reform the way in which we elect Supreme Court Justices."
Heck is concerned about what the campaign does to the reputation of the High Court. Polls show the people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support campaign finance reform and the way Supreme Court Justices are elected. Heck says it's up to the legislative leaders and our governor to take up the Impartial Justice bill ( SB-171 ).
"It's in special session on Campaign Finance Reform which has not been adjourned. It's simply a matter of leadership and political will on the part of the governor and on the part of Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker and Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch ( pronounce ) to get the job done so that we don't have to go through this all over again next year."
In December, all seven justices had signed a letter saying there should be public financing of Supreme Court races. Approximately $6-million was spent by candidates and special interests combined in each of the last two Supreme Court elections.
NOTE: Prior to this election, the Supreme Court was split down the middle. Three progressives, three conservatives and one swing vote with Patrick Crooks. Now, with Michael Gableman's win, the High Court leans conservative: 4-2-1 .