Contentious, Big-Money Election Seen for Wisconsin Court

With at least three candidates voicing interest in challenging an incumbent justice, another high-profile Wisconsin Supreme Court election could draw record spending by outside groups.

That forecast came in a WUWM/Milwaukee Public Radio report. It relied in part on an interview with Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, who said Act 10 may be on the court’s docket again in 2013, and it will be among hot-button issues fueling a contentious race. Act 10 is Wisconsin’s law that restricts collective bargaining for many public employees.

“The stakes are very high, voter ID laws, all kinds of issues could hang in the balance and the makeup of the court could make a significant difference in how the court views issues like that,” McCabe said. His organization is a JAS partner group.

The election could shift the philosophical balance of the court from it’s current 4-3 conservative majority, and out-of-state groups are expected to join the battle again. In 2011, a Supreme Court race played out against a backdrop of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 initiative. McCabe said spending climbed to nearly $6 million.

Justice Patience Roggensack has announced her candidacy for re-election. An attorney turned online liberal video satirist, Vince Megna, has announced his candidacy, and Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi and Marquette University law school professor Ed Fallone have voiced interest.

A headline for an Associated Press article about the contest declared, “GET SET FOR A BRAWL. Spring election may alter state court majority.”

In a statement, Megna said he doesn’t view Justice Roggensack as the candidate to beat, but rather  “David Koch and the other out-of-state big money forces that will flood Wisconsin.”

A Madison Capital Times article was headlined, “Attorney Vince Megna, an avowed anti-Walker Democrat, wants a seat on the high court.”


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