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Christine Bremer Muggli column: Fallone is right for state Supreme Court

2:51 PM, Feb. 15, 2013  |  Comments
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People often ask me, "What has happened to the Wisconsin Supreme Court?" Good question. The dysfunction that has been evident in our court during the last several years has been difficult to explain. We now face an election that will either allow Justice Patience Roggensack to return to the court or will allow us to enter a new era for our court and end the dysfunction.

Roggensack should not be retained. Professor Ed Fallone is a highly qualified candidate for our court and deserves your vote.

Fallone has been a professor at Marquette University Law School for two decades. He teaches constitutional law, immigration law, securities regulation and corporate law. He also practices law with a law firm in Milwaukee that specializes in complex litigation, including corporate and contractual issues. Fallone is an extremely intelligent man, and his knowledge of the law has been described as "formidable." He is an excellent speaker and is well-loved by his students. He is truly interested in what the law says and is not political. He believes Wisconsin deserves a justice who will be honest and open with the people of Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, Roggensack's record is quite the contrary. Roggensack actually has worked to close the doors of the court to the public. She drafted a rule that the public be excluded from the court's administrative hearings. On her motion, which passed on a 4-3 vote with the conservative bloc following her lead, it was decided that important administrative business of the court is to be conducted behind closed doors. She has been chastised by editorial boards across the state for her proposal.

Fallone has indicated that as a justice he will "respect the importance of an independent judiciary, of being impartial and fair." He has vowed to give a fair hearing to all sides of the many important and contentious issues that make their way to the court. Fallone believes everyone in Wisconsin deserves equal access to justice, and has stated that, "when justices seek votes based on their partisan affiliation, the public will no longer view their decisions as fair or independent."

Ed Fallone is not beholden to any political party, faction on the court or any special interest group.

Not so with Roggensack.

In 2011, the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, which represents large corporate and business interests, put forward a study that demonstrated that Roggensack voted in lock step with Justices David Prosser, Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman in favor of corporate and business interests a shocking 100 percent of the time.

In 2013, the study was completed once again. This time, the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council rated Roggensack as the justice who most often supports the interests of corporations and businesses in her decisions. Is it any wonder these corporate interests are lining up to provide millions to see her re-elected?

Fallone is not only a fine lawyer and scholar, but also he is committed to his community. He is the founding president of Centro Legal, which helps families get access to legal counsel they could not otherwise afford. He is the past president of the Latino Community Center, which helps keep children in school, off the streets and out of gangs. He and his wife have founded Wisconsin Stem Cell Now, an advocacy and education group dedicated to the promotion of lifesaving medical research.

This week, we all have seen Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's disturbing rendition of the facts surrounding Justice David Prosser's outrageous conduct. We have also seen how Roggensack is a key player in the continuing dysfunction on the court and has contributed to the poisonous atmosphere. She does not deserve to be retained.

We need fresh air.

By voting for Fallone, you vote to restore our court to its reputation as one of the finest state supreme courts in our nation, a reputation that has been sadly lost in the last few years.

I urge you to vote for Ed Fallone for justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Tuesday's primary and in the general election on April 2.

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