Three candidates will face off in February for a 10-year term at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, with two of them challenging incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack.
Ed Fallone, a law professor at Marquette University, and Vince Megna, a Lemon Law attorney, have submitted nomination signatures and announced their decision to challenge Roggensack in this year’s Supreme Court race.
Roggensack’s campaign advisor Brandon Scholz said she is the most experienced candidate in the race, as she has served on the courts for 17 years, including 10 years in the Supreme Court and two terms on the Court of Appeals.
Seven justices make up the state’s Supreme Court. Roggensack’s strength, Sholz said, is her extensive experience, especially at the appellate level.
“The job of the Supreme Court is essentially to judge the judges,” Sholz said. “So it’s important to have experience in this race.”
Fallone pointed to what he described as a divided court and said experience on the court is not desired, but rather it is the problem.
“Reelecting someone already part of the division is not going to solve the problem,” he said. “As someone who is not part of any faction, my election will help to break those divisions.”
Both Fallone and Megna signed petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Fallone said nothing in judicial codes says judges cannot sign a recall petition, and he added his stance will not result in recusal from participating in cases pertaining to Walker.
Megna said he is much different from Fallone and Roggensack because he has always represented individuals.
“For 23 years, I’ve represented the average people in the state of Wisconsin with their consumer problems,” Megna said. “Nobody on the court has a perspective in dealing with just people.”
Megna said he would bring a new perspective to the Supreme Court and would focus on making the Supreme Court more transparent and relevant.
He said most people “don’t have a clue” about the Supreme Court’s actions and said the court needs to do a better job of reaching out to people, and if elected, his “door is going to be open.”
David Canon, a political science professor at University of Wisconsin, said although these sorts of races are technically non-partisan, they end up being openly partisan anyway.
The last Supreme Court race, which came at the height of the 2011 protests against Walker’s collective bargaining act, was divided and partisan and saw large amounts of funding, he said.
“These races are only non-partisan in their label, not in their actual conduct,” Canon said. “[This race] is one of the more extreme examples of partisanship in Supreme Court races.”
The primary between all three will be held Feb. 13, and two candidates will move forward to the general election that will take place April 2.