Since President Donald Trump took office, political organizers have highlighted the importance of local midterm elections in dictating the direction of our country for the remainder of Trump’s presidency. In Wisconsin, voters have focused their efforts on the November gubernatorial election, which boasts a number of Democratic candidates vying to take down incumbent Gov. Scott Walker. But that’s not the only, or even the most immediate election instrumental in Wisconsin’s future.
April 3, Wisconsinites have the power to potentially shift the ideally non-partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court away from the presently partisan conservative majority, as conservative Justice Michael Gableman is not seeking a second 10-year term. But this shift is not certain.
Rebecca Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Judge, has a background in civil and criminal courts, rounding out her perspective of the American people, “… making tough decisions to send violent criminals away, and rendered compassionate verdicts to give people a second chance.” Michael Screnock, a Sauk County Circuit Court Judge, also has a well-rounded background in case breadth, but is glaringly sponsored by the agenda-pushing NRA.
Voters are faced with a decision: Elect a Supreme Court candidate sans the ominous presence of a suffocating political vehicle, or vote for an NRA-sponsored candidate who may effectively exploit the non-partisan position to push the political agendas of his donors.
Impartiality and objectivity are the hallmarks of a respected judge, and should be the primary motivators behind choosing a Supreme Court candidate. In Screnock’s case, it’s challenging to accept when he says, “My fidelity now is to the law and the law alone,” when, as highlighted in an On Wisconsin Now press release, Screnock is the beneficiary of more than $500,000 in right-leaning special interest spending. What’s more, his connection to the NRA suggested his political affiliations and promises of favored rulings are what’s gotten him into this position to begin with, and what will spell real trouble for the American people, should he reach the highest court in the state.
In an official endorsement statement published on the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action website, Chris Cox, chairman of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund paints a common, although tired message of gun ownership rights, “Judge Screnock is a committed judge who will interpret the Constitution the way our Founding Fathers intended,” he said. “It’s important that all pro-Second Amendment voters get to the polls on Feb. 20 [this endorsement was released prior to the primary election, which took place on Feb. 20] and elect Judge Michael Screnock to the state Supreme Court.” This pointed endorsement doesn’t exactly presage the fruition of Screnock’s assertion that “I would, at every opportunity, set aside my personal feelings about a case or an issue.”
Throughout the campaign trail, both Screnock and Dallet have accused each other of running overly partisan campaigns. Screnock’s significant support from right-leaning interest groups reveal his conservative values, while Dallet’s campaign has exhibited support for women’s rights, workers’ rights, environmentalism and funding for public education.
But in an interview with Milwaukee Public Radio, Dallet highlights that her values are not about party affiliation — what’s important is simply how her service will impact Wisconsinites. “Equal protection under the law is at risk every day and these are the things that make Wisconsin great. And those are the things I want to protect,” she said. To assert that Dallet is too liberal a candidate because she supports equal protection under the law — a right guaranteed by the 14th amendment — is abominably fallacious.
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Michael Screnock, on the other hand, is deep within the NRA’s pockets, and a vote for him is nothing but a vote for the right-leaning interest groups from whom he has received more than half a million dollars. In an official endorsement for Dallet, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., said, “Rebecca Dallet is the Supreme Court Justice that Wisconsin needs because she will stand up to special interests and take politics out of our state’s highest court.”
The Badger Herald Editorial Board supports Dallet’s non-partisan commitment to Wisconsinites and her straightforward allegiance to the law, and the law alone. We look forward to the positive impact Dallet will have on Wisconsin’s criminal justice system.
We encourage students to refer to ASM’s page on voter information for details regarding where and how to vote, as well as same-day voter registration, and to learn more about the races in tomorrow’s election.
The Editorial Board serves to represent the voice of the Badger Herald editorial department, distinct from the newsroom, and does not necessarily reflect the views of each staff member.