Today is the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary election. Sadly, few, if any, will take the time to participate in this all-too-often nuanced election, which will narrow the field from three candidates to the two who will face off in the April 2 general election. However, I feel it is my civic duty to stir up as much interest as possible for today’s election. So without further adieu, here is a short description of each of the the Supreme Court candidates.
I will begin with the incumbent, Justice Patience Roggensack. Roggensack is running on her record of experience, with 10 years on the Supreme Court and seven years serving on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Roggensack has also touted her various endorsements from four former Supreme Court justices, more than 100 judges, more than 50 sheriffs and more than 20 district attorneys.
Roggensack is also running on the message of being fair, neutral and independent; however, many opponents criticize her for being a voice of the Republican Party. Roggensack was one of the four justices to uphold Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial Act 10, which stripped some public sector employees of their collective bargaining rights.
The second candidate in the race is “lemon law” attorney Vince Megna. Megna considers himself to be the people’s candidate, having represented working class citizens in lawsuits against major corporations for 23 years. Megna touts the fact he has “had the pleasure of suing General Motors 500 times without losing a case against them,” as quoted by Isthmus.
Unlike his competitors who claim they are nonpartisan candidates, Megna has made clear he is a Democrat. Megna describes the nonpartisanship of Supreme Court elections as a sham and asserts that only by taking sides can the people expect to get honest answers from their justices.
Finally, there is Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone. Fallone is promising to be the new voice of reason that will return the dysfunctional Supreme Court back to its formerly functional status. Fallone has also criticized the court for refusing to check the powers of the governor and Legislature and for giving in to special interest groups. However, many have reason to doubt Fallone’s impartiality and fairness since he, along with Megna, signed petitions to recall Walker.
Taking into account all of the available information, Fallone is the best candidate to be Wisconsin’s next Supreme Court justice. Fallone is the only candidate that can bring our Supreme Court back to its decisive and judicious state. In 2011, Justice David Prosser was accused of choking Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and since then the Supreme Court has been in a severely dysfunctional state.
Roggensack was the first of four Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from Prosser’s disciplinary hearing, and as long as the Court leaves this issue unresolved, the justices will be unable to cooperate.
Fallone is also the only candidate who will be able to provide Wisconsin with an impartial voice on the Supreme Court. Megna has already made his political convictions clear which, although honest and refreshing, poses a partisan threat to our judicial system. Roggensack has also made her conservative political convictions clear by accepting money and endorsements from prominent conservative organizations, as well as by appointing former Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Brandon Scholz as her campaign adviser.
Fallone would also bring the much-needed diversity factor to the Supreme Court by being the first Latino ever elected to the court. As the son of immigrants, Fallone would bring the voice of the people back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
However, the most important issue to gather from the preceding information is that you have to make a decision and act on it by voting. All elections are important even though they may not all garner the same attention and not all of the positions hold equal responsibilities. But regardless of these facts, the person who wins will have an effect on your life. Go to your local polling place today and VOTE!
Jared Mehre (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a sophomore majoring in political science, sociology and legal studies.