Bench Memos

Re: The Left’s Last Hurrah in Wisconsin

Over at the homepage, Wisconsin attorney Rick Esenberg has an excellent article, “The Left’s Last Hurrah in Wisconsin,” about the state’s upcoming supreme court election between sitting justice Patience Drake Roggensack, and Marquette University Law School professor Ed Fallone. As Esenberg argues, the stakes are high in this election:

Both sides know that this race may be the last chance to derail Governor Walker’s collective-bargaining measures. A county judge in Madison has held that the Walker reform violates the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution. The decision is poorly reasoned and unlikely to survive appeal — unless the composition of the state supreme court changes. Fallone has not said how he would rule in the case, but he has called the constitutional challenge at issue serious. Further, he has written in support of just about every legal challenge to Walker’s agenda.

The Journal Sentinel reported yesterday about a troubling item from Fallone’s past that could haunt him in the election:

State Supreme Court candidate Ed Fallone more than a decade ago stood by a former gang leader who started a community center, distancing himself only after it was disclosed the married man had fathered twins with a young woman who came to the center to improve her job skills.

Fallone in 2001 was the president of the board of the Latino Community Center in Milwaukee. The center’s founder, Modesto Fontanez, served as executive director at the time.

The center…came under scrutiny because Fontanez had founded the Milwaukee chapter of the Latin Kings in the 1970s and was convicted in 1987 of participating in a cocaine delivery conspiracy. He served eight years in federal prison for that crime.

Fontanez resigned as executive director in October 2001 after the woman with whom he had fathered twins was charged with killing one of the boys and injuring the other. She was convicted two months later.

Fallone stood by Fontanez through his resignation, which Fallone said at the time he accepted “with regret.”


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