Bench Memos

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The Left’s Last Hurrah in Wisconsin Flops


Wisconsin held some important judicial elections on Tuesday. It was the “Left’s Last Hurrah,” their final chance for quite a few years to block Governor Walker’s reform agenda by placing ideological allies on the state’s courts. As the Wall Street Journal’s Collin Levy explained:

The fight ended with a squeak yesterday as conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack handily defeated union-backed candidate and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone, with some 57% of the vote.

The vote means conservatives retain 4-3 control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The next two justices up for reelection on the court will be from its liberal wing, which means that after yesterday’s win conservatives are likely to maintain or extend their majority for years to come. That’s a blow to unions who were hoping that they could secure a liberal majority that would be more receptive to an upcoming appeal of a Dane County case charging Mr. Walker’s union reforms are unconstitutional because they exempted police and firefighters. . . .

Conservatives also won two other judicial elections in Wisconsin yesterday in Ozaukee and Milwaukee counties. In Ozaukee, voters refused to reelect liberal incumbent Tom Wolfgram in part because of his signature on a petition to recall Gov. Walker. In Milwaukee, conservative County Circuit Judge Rebecca Bradley won despite her challenger’s attempt to tag her as a flunkie of the governor. That’s particularly noteworthy in Milwaukee County, which has traditionally been a union stronghold.

Rebecca Bradley’s victory in Milwaukee County is especially notable given that she openly campaigned as a former chapter president of the Federalist Society in a county that Obama carried with 67 percent of the vote in 2012.

Congratulations to Justice Roggensack, Judge Bradley, and Mr. Voiland on their victories.


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