March 14, 2013

The influence of right-wing money into judicial elections is a growing problem. Not only have the 1% decided they want to own our politicians, they want to own our judges, too. And because judicial elections mostly fly under the radar, they seem to be getting away with it:

The Club for Growth, a right-wing group that supports tax cuts for the rich, privatizing Social Security and writing Tea Party ideology into the Constitution, spent $300,000 to keep a key ally of anti-union Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) on the Wisconsin Supreme Court — and that was just in the primary:

Now, another member of the court’s 4-3 right-wing majority, Justice Patience “Pat” Roggensack, is up for re-election.Roggensack is being aided by the same outside groups that aided Walker in advancing some of his most controversial proposals. The far-right independent expenditure group Wisconsin Club for Growth spent an eye-popping $300,000 on television ads supporting Roggensack during the primary. Club for Growth was responsible for more than 75% of the nearly $400,000 in TV spending in the primary race, and more than 80% of the total ad spots, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG estimates released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.

In addition, Roggensack is being handed big checks by some of the same wealthy donors that gave to Governor Walker in his recall campaign, such as Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks and David Uihlein, Jr., as well as a variety of PACs and local Republican Party chapters.

Her opponent, Marquette Law Professor Edward Fallone, has been endorsed by a host of progressive organizations, but lags well behind in fundraising. If Fallone took the majority, the court could do a virtual 180 on some of the state’s most contentious issues. (Editor's note: You can contribute here.)

It’s not surprising that the Club and other well-moneyed conservatives are willing to spend big to keep Roggensack on the court. Roggensack was part of the 4-3 majority that upheld a law pushed by Walker to undermine public sector unions. She also cast the key vote to reject an ethics rule that would have prevented justices from hearing cases involving their major campaign donors.

Instead, Roggensack backed a rule written by corporate lobbyists.

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