Good News from Wisconsin

Wisconsin held its primary election on Tuesday, and there is very good news to report.

The race that captured the most attention in Wisconsin, and nationally, was for a seat on the state supreme court, which remains narrowly divided (4–3) in favor of justices who adopt a more restrained approach to the role of a judge. Justice Patience Roggensack, the incumbent, was challenged by law professor Ed Fallone and lemon lawyer Vince Megna.  

After the Prosser vs. Kloppenburg nail-biter of 2011, which resulted in an extremely narrow win for Prosser, conservatives were bracing for another challenging cycle. But Roggensack put her supporters at ease fairly early in the evening, carrying 64 percent of the votes, while Fallone and Megna finished with 29 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Roggensack will face Fallone in the general election on April 2. He will undoubtedly make the case that his election is critical to the future direction of the court, but, as Megna himself reacted to the results of the primary: “It’s going to be a really tough race . . . I really don’t know what [Fallone’s] plan is, how he plans to win it.”

The other important race we were watching was for a seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, where incumbent Judge Rebecca Bradley was challenged by two lawyers, Gil Urfer and Janet Protasiewicz. Before Governor Walker appointed her to the bench, Bradley was a highly regarded practitioner who had served as president of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Federalist Society, and on the Board of Governors of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society. Bradley carried 54 percent of the votes, and will face Protasiewicz, who finished with 33 percent. This race seems to be more competitive than the state supreme court race, but Bradley has a significant amount of support from influential people on both sides of the aisle, so she is well positioned to be reelected.

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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