Feb 11, 2018

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race—Spectacle of Deceit

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Tim Burns has
often expressed his view that clean and safe water
is protected in the Wisconsin Constitution, statutes
and derived administrative law.
Top Appellate Court Race Misleading and Shameful

Madison, Wisconsin—There are two credible candidates in the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary on Feb. 20—Tim Burns and Rebecca Dallet.

A third candidate, Michael Screnock, is a no-count right winger whom Wisconsinites should reject.

The race for the open Wisconsin Supreme Court seat is for the top appellate court in the state judiciary. In deciding a case, an appellate judge informs the state what the relevant law is and how the law is applied to a case that may be fraught with error from lower court(s).

Rarely does the Supreme Court hear non-appellate cases (original jurisdiction), not decided by lower courts.

Yet, this fact is ignored in the political culture as the media and most campaigns fool the electorate into believing the Supreme Court is a trial court. Or a rubber stamp for a special class of litigants and communities of interest like a county sheriff, district attorney, some dopey rightwing law enforcement association such as the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, or Wisconsin Manufactures and Commerce and the Koch brothers-funded Club for Growth.

Five of the seven justices—Patience D. Roggensack, Annette Kingsland Ziegler, Michael J. Gableman, Rebecca Grassl Bradley, and Daniel Kelly—are corrupt party hacks with their elections bought-and-paid-for by special interest groups. Any pretension otherwise is false.

The anointed right winger to replace the outgoing Justice Gableman, Michael Screnock, would, if elected, be another corrupt hack for far right wing Republicans.

Absentee voting has begun for the Feb. 20 primary election, and nine days out, not a single reference in Wisconsin media notes the principal function of the Supreme Court—the state's top appellate court. The Wisconsin people are being conned from multiple parties.

Rebecca Dallet's Lie

Rebecca Dallet is guilty of this deceit about the Supreme Court as seen in Dallet's campaign web page and advertising.

Dallet sings her praises as a prosecutor and circuit court judge, while presenting campaign surrogates criticizing Tim Burns for not being a trial jurist.

Dallet goes so far as to pronounce Burns "unqualified" because he is not a trial attorney. On this basis many of the faculty at Marquette University Law School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School are unqualified. Take for instance, Joel Rogers, all-around friendly face whom most Wisconsin pols have encountered once or twice. Rogers has never argued a case at trial, so by Dallet's reasoning is unqualified to sit on this contrived high trial court.

We are not electing a trial judge here; the Wisconsin Supreme Court is an appellate court.

Lying about the nature of the office one seeks should be a political disqualification.

Why is Rebecca Dallet pretending the Supreme Court is a trial court, or is she just lying? Because Dallet like the five Republican Party hacks lacks the character to simply tell the truth.

Good Appellate Judging

What makes a good appellate judge such as a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, an impoverished institution of lies and corruption today?

Consider the wisdom of Richard Posner (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, (1981-2017)), on judicial opinion writing in federal appellate court: "Be sure to read every case, statute, regulation article, treatise, etc., cited, [case documents]," (p. 257, Reflections on Judging (Harvard University Press. 2013)).

A good Wisconsin Supreme Court justice should be an intellectual, a scholar, a researcher, a jurist who loves reading with a full understanding and appreciation of the litigants, human beings. A justice should as well be impartial, and not rule in accordance with the Republican Party special interests in Wisconsin, for example.

Ideally, candidates seeking the office of a Supreme Court justice should stow the law-and-order, we’re-tough rhetoric, and specifically Rebecca Dallet's he's-no-litigator hokum.

And it truly does not matter how many sheriffs and law enforcement officials you have in your camp.

Honesty demands candidates edify the electorate on judicial processes, the function of the top appellate court in ascertaining what the law is, and the candidates' ability and dedication to this enterprise.

Electing judges whose job it is to avoid advocacy once in office ought to result in the candidates' insulating themselves from specific communities of interest (and their money) during their campaigns.

 An Endorsement

Tim Burns is a breath of fresh air because of his insistence on informing the electorate where he stands on issues of the moment.

Burns has campaigned on his insistence that Wisconsin citizens are the beneficiaries, the stakeholders, of judiciary policymaking. Burns pledges to fight against special interests, and while omitting the appellate function of the court, also pledges to fight for the citizens for whom laws are enacted.

Candidates not mindful of this status of citizens tend to ignore these same citizens once they get into office.

Writes Burns on his website:

  • Do you want a Supreme Court that protects your right to vote?
  • Do you want a Supreme Court that protects your right to hike and fish in a Wisconsin free from pollution?
  • Do you want a Supreme Court that protects your right to ask for a pay raise – regardless if you ask by yourself or collectively with your fellow workers?
  • Do you want a Supreme Court that protects your right to build your own small business, or your own small farm and compete on a level playing field with the massive corporations of the world?

There is no pretension from Tim Burns that he is living in a cocoon. For instance, Burns does understand the powerful, affirmative right to vote in Wisconsin.

Burns does believe these rights and liberties are protected by the Wisconsin Constitution and statutes.

This commitment and honesty make Tim Burns the clear choice for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, not to serve special interests, not to work as a trial jurist, but to serve Wisconsin citizens by impartially researching and applying the law.

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