Thu February 7, 2013
State Supreme Court Candidates Call Court 'Dysfunctional'
Challengers in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election say incumbent justice Patience Roggensack is part of a dysfunctional court and needs to be voted out of office. This occurred in the first full debate ahead of this month's Supreme Court primary.
There have been a few high-profile disputes between members of the state Supreme Court, including the physical altercation between Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley. Supreme Court candidate Ed Fallone is a law professor at Marquette University. Fallone says the current court is completely dysfunctional, and its work is being affected. “The court is less productive than it used to be. [It] used to decide about 100 civil and criminal cases each term. Last several terms, it's been averaging 65.”
Fallone says 10 year-incumbent Patience Roggensack is partly to blame for not resolving disciplinary charges against Justice Prosser. Roggensack says the court can police its own, and will. “We care an awful lot about what the court looks like to the public. It breaks all of our hearts -- it's just wrenching, because it diminishes the court as an institution. And so we will work until we get that matter resolved. You rest assured on that.”
The third candidate in the Supreme Court race, Milwaukee attorney Vince Megna, says he can bring harmony to the state court, having met the justices at conferences. “So I've gotten to know the justices late at night, after they've had a few drinks ... and I've gotten to know them as nice people in a different setting.”
Megna, who calls himself a non-partisan Democrat, says Roggensack is part of a four-person conservative bloc on the court that has hurt common people of the state.