February 19, 2018

The 3 candidates in the supposedly "nonpartisan" race for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

The primary is tomorrow, NPR reports, and one candidate, Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, avoids talking about politics:
"I know the dangers of a court legislating from the bench," Screnock said. "Judges are not legislators. Nor are we executives. The role of the court is to interpret and apply the letter of the law as it is written based not on our personal beliefs or political preferences, but based on the statutes and the Constitution."
The other 2 candidates, Madison attorney Tim Burns and Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet, have broken with tradition and presented themselves in a political light — especially Burns:
During a recent debate hosted by the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, [Burns] introduced himself as an "unshakeable champion of liberal, Democratic and progressive values," before turning his attention to the conservative lawyers and judges in the crowd. "But enough about me, I want to talk about you," Burns said. "You have weakened our democracy to the point that we elected a perverse show dog named Trump to lead our great nation."...

"I am the first candidate on the left in this state for this position who has said 'Enough is enough' with this nonsense that judges don't make political decisions," Burns said... "Most people think the key issue of the day is we have a megalomaniac in Washington... If I don't speak to that, what use am I to voters in the sense of telling them what my values are? They want to know."
Dallet is more restrained:
But what stood out in Dallet's spot was the beginning, which featured grainy black and white footage of Trump. "He's attacked our civil rights and our values," the narrator said. "She'll protect them."...

But like Burns, she spoke at the 2017 Democratic State Convention, and she also criticizes Trump, though not in such explicit terms. "I do think we are living in a time where we all should be concerned about our president," Dallet said. "We should be concerned about what he tweets out every day. It's an attack and an affront on all of our rights."...

"There's a distinction between sharing one's values and taking political positions on issues that are potentially going to come before the court," Dallet said. "And I think that's a big distinction between myself and Mr. Burns."
This is a primary, so 2 of these 3 will go on to the April 3rd general election. I haven't seen any polls, and turnout is expected to be low, but I believe Wisconsinites expect their Supreme Court candidates to behave like Screnock, and Screnock will have an easy time of it in April if his adversary is Burns, who is so vulnerable after speaking the way he has. I know a lot of people think we're in crazy, dire times and that justifies a whole new way of speaking, but I think they're making a big mistake.

69 comments:

Mike Sylwester said...

Burns should run for a judge position in Hawaii.

Trumpit said...

Did he actually call Trump a "dog"? There may be real repercussions for that rare bit of frankness. Like getting elected.

rhhardin said...

It's a free country, which means the judge can do whatever he wants.

Meade said...

"Burns should run for a judge position in Hawaii."

Or in the Westminster Kennel Club.

Bob Boyd said...

Progs talk as though Trumps election justifies throwing the Constitution out the window, but Hillary's election would have justified the same thing for them.

IgnatzEsq said...

"We should be concerned about what he tweets out every day. It's an attack and an affront on all of our rights."

Please identify which rights are attacked by the president's tweets. Be specific.

I'll wait.

Mike Sylwester said...

The most important consideration is whether any of the candidates is a Person of Color.

Bob Boyd said...

It's not in his bio, but Burns was a steakhouse baby.

Mike Sylwester said...

How come no judge has imposed an injunction to stop Trump from tweeting?

Meade said...

I might have to pity-vote for Tim Burns tomorrow. Just to sow a little harmoniousness. It's been a rough 8 years for Wisconsin leftists with all the job growth, tax cuts, feckless John Doe investigations, failed recalls and uprisings.

Mike Sylwester said...

All three candidates should have been asked to state their opinions about the John Doe investigations.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I second Mike S's suggestion at 7:18. I mean if they are on the lookout for tyranny, let's start in their own backyard, right?

David Begley said...

In Nebraska we don’t elect judges. The Governor appoints them and, after four years, they stand for a retention election. In my lifetime, about five judges have lost that election although more probably should have. There is no campaigning. I find judicial elections bizarre.

The Nebraska way is usually the best way.

Aggie said...

It's always fascinating to me to see how the denizens of left first condemn the President for whatever flaws they care to name, and then proceed to exceed the outrageous behavior they have just condemned, except in a different and even more offensive flavor. Who on earth in their right mind, from whatever party, would ever elect a judge that promises to be a radical partisan in defiance of established law and in preference of temporary party objectives? I just can not believe that all liberals could be such shallow, unserious, and unthinking hypocrites.

Drago said...

Whatsamatta Wisconsin?

Aint you got a Wise Latina around somewhere?

n.n said...

John Doe investigations

The means were justified by a sincere belief that Wisconsinites had colluded with Americans to democratically restore a constitutional order. There was a vote. They lost the People's confidence. They spied, colluded, and hoped to manipualte, if not the vote, then the outcome. We have been on a progressive slope ever since. Wisconsin, or rather Madison, seem to have been a test bed for their attempted national coup.

n.n said...

re: John Doe investigations

They followed a similar strategy in Texas, and, there, too, they failed to Occupy the State, but not for lack of trying.

roesch/voltaire said...

I think folks in Wisconsin are tiring of the huge amounts of money pouring into Supreme Court races from the Republican Party and right wing organizations and I suspect the Republican boy will not have an easy time as Althouse and Mead wish for.

Meade said...

ro/vo: you might be right.

Rabel said...

The two men in the race are exceedingly unattractive. WTF Badgers?

I ordinarily wouldn't have noticed but now that Althouse has awakened me to loviness of man-love I just want to go with the flow and be lovingly judgy about other men's looks.

Easy call in this case: Guilty as charged.

Michael The Magnificent said...

You have to hand it to Tim Burns, he may believe in legislating from the bench - damn the separation of powers and that whole constitution thingy - but at least he's honest, which is a refreshing change for a lefty.

Hey, just think of how much money we could save if we got rid of the democratically elected state legislator and governor and tossed out the democratically passed state statutes.

Rabel said...

My apologies for assuming their gender.

Michael The Magnificent said...

The most important consideration is whether any of the candidates is a Person of Color.

Don't forget the vagina, you misogynist. /s

Mike Sylwester said...

Today National Review published an article titled "The #Resistance Comes to a Wisconsin Supreme Court Election", written by Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. The article included the following passages.

-----

.... Our [Wisconsin] supreme-court elections are what a political scientist might call salient.

And we’re at it again. Last week, former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder announced that he and President Obama are coming to Wisconsin in April to campaign. In a state-supreme-court election. What is it about a judicial election in Wisconsin that could warrant such attention?

.... Dallet and Burns have run like a pair of Sandernistas. Astonishingly, both have run ads attacking Walker and Trump. Although judicial races in Wisconsin are officially nonpartisan, Burns has identified himself as a Democrat and pledged to fight our “rigged economy.” Dallet has highlighted her support for the Affordable Care Act and federal efforts to reduce pollution in the Great Lakes — which she inexplicably (or, perhaps, revealingly) identifies as “civil rights” issues.

The play here is to capitalize on an energized Democratic base and to both take advantage of and advance a populist uprising on the left. ...

Burns ... has described the idea that judges ought not tout their political views as — and I quote — “bulls***.” He’s made no secret of the fact that he’s a left-wing Democrat and will judge that way. ....

Dallet has attempted to portray herself as the “moderate” or “independent” in the race while signaling that her “values” are clearly on the left. In addition to opposition to President Trump, they include “a strong public education system, clean air and water, the rights of working people to organize,” and taking on “vestiges” the “racial and patriarchal system.” These are indeed “values,” but they are generally thought to be matters for the legislature and executive. ....

For decades, the principle project of the legal Left has been to establish that the law can “evolve” — it can become something else — in service of “progressive values” and solely on a judge’s say-so.

Dallet has criticized the Wisconsin supreme court’s decisions to uphold the state’s famous “Act 10” — landmark changes restricting the collective-bargaining privileges of public employees — and to end the infamous “John Doe” investigation. Act 10, she says, infringed on the freedom of association. ...

Judging is not entirely free of politics. But neither should it be primarily about politics. In Wisconsin, it appears that a line is being crossed. If it works — if judicial candidates can win by making naked political appeals — we can expect to see more of the same.

-----

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/the-resistance-comes-to-a-wisconsin-supreme-court-election/

Bay Area Guy said...

The Left first politicizes all they touch, then they wreck it.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

The balls on that progressive asswipe to mouth off to conservatives. Here's another dirty dirlewanger that democrat party members can use to oppress their political opponents. And I bet he gets plenty of votes from the kind of democrat party members who'd love to see more John Doe gestapo activity from the democrat party judges with those wonderful "liberal progressive values"... Scumbags!

n.n said...

Don't forget the vagina, you misogynist. /s

Misandrist. While males do not in a natural state have a vagina, they can assume vaginal stature with a self-selected orientation, and perhaps transgender conversion therapy that includes surgical corruption to make it complete.

We live in interesting, politically congruent times.

alan markus said...

I think folks in Wisconsin are tiring of the huge amounts of money pouring into Supreme Court races from the Republican Party and right wing organizations and I suspect the Republican boy will not have an easy time as Althouse and Mead wish for.

Who's to say that when one of the 2 "Dem" candidates advances to the general election, the money spigot from the left wing organizations and Democratic Party won't be opened? Right now the chances of a Dem advancing is 100% - no need to spend money yet.

YoungHegelian said...

...I believe Wisconsinites expect their Supreme Court candidates to behave like Screnock, and Screnock will have an easy time of it in April if his adversary is Burns, who is so vulnerable after speaking the way he has.

A trait that both liberals & lawyers share is that they really don't understand to what extent they are not loved by us non-legal myrmidons out there.

When you're at trial you want your lawyer to be a pit bull for you. That doesn't mean you feel a need to like him. It also doesn't mean that you want a lawyer telling you that as a judge he's gonna run shit from the bench his way & if you don't like it you can suck it. My experience (somewhat limited, I'll admit), is that many lawyers don't understand that these different situations demand different personas.

John Pickering said...

of course Ann doesn't want a whole new way of speaking, she wants to preserve the tribe's prerogatives and support a Scott Walker appointee who's only been a lawyer for ten years and backed the law to eliminate collective bargaining while getting most of funding from the party. From way out here, looks like that's the old way and now and forever, for Republicans in Wisconsin.

Michael K said...

Dave Begley, California back when it was sane, used to have a 12 year term, then an election to retain the Justices.

In 1986, Rose Bird the left wing Chief Justice appointed by Jerry Brown, plus two other left wing justices, were not retained in one of the last sane elections in California.

It has been down hill since then.

Deep State Reformer said...

I believe America is now in a condition of civil war, and we're just waiting for a Ft. Sumpter/Reichstag Fire precursor event that will light it all up, and then the shooting starts. Where and when it all ends, nobody knows. The USSR came apart pretty bloodlessly but Americans aren't Russians, so...

FIDO said...

We don't think these are crazy dire times. We think that certain groups of people, like those who live in Madison, are crazy dire people who unfortunately were never spanked, got what they wanted and were raised by Marxist professors.

And if they feel strongly enough to actually go out to vote (and considering how they reacted to Trumps anniversary of an inauguration) your 'mainstream guy' may be overwhelmed by liberal idiots whom you shared lunch with in your cafeterias when you still taught.

The rule of law seems to mean almost nothing to them anymore as long as it means they don't get that pony they were promised (or some significant part of a horse anatomy) in Hillary Clinton.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Progressives think very highly of their hivemind and their dead-end socialist warrior ways.

Sebastian said...

"I know a lot of people think we're in crazy, dire times and that justifies a whole new way of speaking, but I think they're making a big mistake."

Any times the left is not in charge are crazy and dire to them. Progs have been deriding the actual Constitution since, oh, Woodrow Wilson. It's nice that some moderate retirees think they are making a mistake. For the time being, that may hold back the deluge.

But in a way I prefer progs with the mask off. At least they don't pretend, like Brennan, or Kennedy, or Sotomayor.

Next time Dems have the Senate, we'll know what to expect. Their only justice is political justice. Law is just another form of power.

D 2 said...

When I think of a fiery Mr Burns running for political office, I cant help but recall one of the (Simpsons) classics.
*(googles & reads script online for nostalgic reference - Three Eyed fish episode)
"Lets send a message to all those bureaucrats down there in the state capital!" Hmmm. The plot is about a rich man running for office who has to pretend to be likeable in order to win. In the end, Marge shows Burns up when he chokes on Blinky. I guess the lesson is "be yourself?"

Even with Marge and Homers evident political differences, when all is said and done, the two can live together / accept reality. Would Marges words to Homer in 1990 be acceptable to her equivalents in 2018? Unlikely. We're got the far smarter ones that the world has been waiting for. The past is a foreign country.

buwaya said...

Given recent low-turnout election results, Burns seems to have an excellent chance. There are enough hysterical sorts to turn out heavily whenever they get the chance and make a difference in outcomes.

Also, the most extremely anti-Trump is likely to be very well funded from out of state, Dem donors have been very generous in all sorts of state races. A lot of records being broken.

buwaya said...

This November may turn out to be the most expensive election in US history, regardless of its not being a presidential year. You heard it from me first.

Michael K said...

I agree about expensive and also think we won't know if Trump voters turn out.

Congress has not exactly covered itself with glory.

It's a good thing the opposition are Democrats.

GUS said...

The LEFT does not care about anything but POWER. They continue to push their totalitarian/fascism and blame the RIGHT for being extreme. A war is coming. Lock and load.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Surely, Justice Abrahamson at age 84 is getting a bit old for serious judicial thinking."

"I'm certainly NOT losing my mental facilities - and don't call me, Shirley"

deepelemblues said...

Someone please explain how Trump tweets attack any civil rights, much less all of them.

Wince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wince said...

I can't believe no one has pointed out Tim Burns is a partner at:

PERKINS-COIE

PERKINS-COIE is the law firm that funneled the money for the Trump Dossier from the Clinton campaign and the DNC to Fusion GPS in the guise of legal fees.

Their campaign reports listed no payments to Fusion GPS and the expenses attributed to the law firm Perkins Coie are described as legal work, not opposition research, the paper noted.

If I'm not mistaken a complaint been filed with the FEC.

chickelit said...

Liberals will split their ticket and the non-partisan will win. I'm amazed how rational Wisconsin voters can be.

walter said...

JP,
Apparently the two Dem hacks haven't learned what the true role of a judge is.

walter said...

EDH,
For his target demo, that's a resume enhancer.

PackerBronco said...

Blogger Mike Sylwester said...
How come no judge has imposed an injunction to stop Trump from tweeting?


Believe me, if the Dems ever get a chance to impeach Trump, his tweets will be one of the articles of impeachment.

Of course they'll dress it up in some noble terms such as "he has demeaned the office of the presidency and insulted the people of this country" or something like that ...

n.n said...

the true role of a judge is

Override the Constitution, pass laws and amendments, violate civil rights, and circumvent the democratic will... and interpret voices they hear from the twilight fringe.

walter said...

..and virtue signal: "But Trruuuuuummmmppppp"

sane_voter said...

Can't believe Kloppenburg isn't running

Danno said...

Blogger EDH said...I can't believe no one has pointed out Tim Burns is a partner at:
PERKINS-COIE

The Trump AG Sessions should hyper-prosecute Perkins-Coie and do an Arthur Andersen on them!

EsoxLucius said...

There isn't a Moscow puppet running, so you traitors are confused who to vote for.

Jake said...

Dallet is a poor circuit judge. Faux intellectual. Difficulty grasping complex issues. She was a poor commissioner deciding small claims cases. She would be a poor addition to the Supreme Court.

David Begley said...

EDH

I looked up attorney Burns. He went to the University of Missouri law school; not a Badger.

Mark said...

"It’s also worth noting that Screnock has hired GOP consultants, received in-kind donations from the state Republican Party and released a radio ad that points out he was appointed to the bench by Walker."

Yeah, not partisan in the least.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Not a Badger? Screw the fascist.

MadisonMan said...

The only thing Dallet has going for her is that catchy 'Dallet on the Ballot' rhyme.

I can see the anti-Trumpers doing well in Dane County. The rest of the state? The state that went for Trump? Maybe not so well.

Meade said...

"The Nebraska way is usually the best way."

I can't disagree with this.

Also, every time I'm in Nebraska I find myself thinking *Nebraskans surely must be some of the nicest people in the world*

Meade said...

Literally, every time.

320Busdriver said...

The Mrs. and I will be voting today. This is pretty much all I need to know in order to complete that task, so thank you!

Mark said...

"The state GOP has given Screnock more than $142,000 in in-kind contributions for digital ads, staff and direct mail."

Apparently Althouse is unable to Google.

Yeah, he is the one non-partisan one. #FakeNews

d_men3 said...

"The Nebraska way is usually the best way."

Two notable exceptions being the stupidity that is the unicameral and their penchant for RINOs in state and local government.

TestTube said...

These crazy, dire times DO justify a whole new way of speaking.

Politely. Briefly. Wisely.

Michael K said...

"Yeah, he is the one non-partisan one. #FakeNews"

I believe the last nonpartisan judge retired about 5 years ago.

What we have now is lawfare and John Doe is a good example. I guess you want that.

JAORE said...

I just can not believe that all liberals could be such shallow, unserious, and unthinking hypocrites.

You need to expand your ability to believe.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I know a lot of people think we're in crazy, dire times and that justifies a whole new way of speaking, but I think they're making a big mistake.>

Respectfully, ma'am, if you think the only problem (or even just the primary problem) with that is the way the idea/belief is being openly spoken about--and not that it exists & is likely widespread--then "our" judiciary is in a whole lot more trouble than you seem to think it is.

David Begley said...

Dmen3

The nonpartisan Unicam is also a farce. It is all about George Norris.

But we have 60 and 90 days sessions and bills MUST be read out loud. That cuts down on law making.

Begonia said...

I agree that judges shouldn't be elected. I am in no position to know whether someone would be a good or a bad judge. I like how at the Federal level the President gets to appoint judges and they are vetted by Congress.

At the local (Dane County) level, there was a local election contest for a dane county judge and some part-time Village of Shorewood judge was running against an attorney who had tons more experience in the types of cases that would come before the Dane County Court. It was strange to me that we might end up with the part-time Village of Shorewood judge who didn't even seem qualified for the position.

With regards to the Supreme Court race, I think that Dallet began her campaign on a more independent note. She shied away from labeling herself liberal or saying anything political. I remember doing looking her up and was happy to see that I couldn't figure out whether she was liberal or conservative. She just seemed to be the most experienced candidate who had racked up a lot of endorsements from other judges.

But then Burns attacked her because she had, in the past, made campaign contributions to Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack's campaign. After he went on the offensive, apparently she felt like she needed to demonstrate her "liberal" credentials, so she started making the anti-Trump comments.