On April 2, incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack will face Marquette Law professor Ed Fallone for her chance to win another 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. According to unofficial results from the Associated Press, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Roggensack received 64 percent of the primary vote and Fallone, 30 percent, to lemon law attorney Vince Megna’s 6 percent.
“The voters of Wisconsin appreciate that I have run a positive campaign based on my extensive experience and judicial philosophy,” Roggensack said in a statement. “They understand that my judicial experience on the Court of Appeals brings a diverse and necessary perspective to the court and that I have worked extremely hard to run a campaign with broad, bipartisan support from people statewide.”
Fallone spokesperson Nate Schwantes said Fallone’s campaign has “a lot” of work to do as Roggensack more than doubled Fallone’s vote total.
Megna, the losing candidate, said he supports and will campaign for Fallone, calling the general election an “uphill battle.” Wisconsin’s self-proclaimed “King of Lemon Laws” said he had a good experience running but that he will now return to suing car companies and making videos criticizing Gov. Scott Walker.
While it may not ignite the same political passions as the 2011 Prosser-Kloppenburg race, the 2013 contest is critical to determining the balance of power on the high court.
Roggensack, who often sides with what is considered the conservative wing of the court, and who received the most favorable score of all the justices in the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council’s 2013 Guide to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Judicial Evaluation, practices judicial restraint. “My philosophy is constrained by the Wisconsin Constitution,” she said. “I try very hard to operate under the confines that the constitution sets for me.”
Fallone, who has drawn support from Democratic leaders and labor unions, said he believes cases should be dealt with one at a time as they come along, rather than considered under sweeping generalizations. “I absolutely reject any sort of overarching theories of the law,” Fallone said.
Whichever candidate wins, they will be the fourth vote that determines if the court is typically more restrained or progressive in its decision-making.