Candidate Fallone: Court is 'broken'
JANESVILLE State Supreme Court candidate Ed Fallone addressed the Democratic Party of Rock County's monthly meeting Wednesday night, saying incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack will not improve a court he called broken and dysfunctional.
It was an interesting audience and location—the Union Labor Temple in Janesville—for someone running in a non-partisan judicial race. The party even billed Fallone's appearance by saying he "Challenges Republican Roggensack."
Fallone emphasized a desire to stay independent in his remarks, however, and afterward said he would strive for a campaign that was above party politics.
"I don't believe it's healthy for our state to view our Supreme Court as a political institution," Fallone said. "I will do everything in my effort to keep this from turning into a partisan, political race."
Roggensack and Fallone defeated attorney Vince Megna in a Feb. 19 primary and will face off April 2 for a 10-year term on the bench.
Democratic Party of Rock County Chairman Mike Southers said there was nothing partisan about asking Fallone to speak at a party meeting. The group has invited Roggensack to speak at its next meeting in March, Southers said.
"Whether you're Dems or a Republican, you still have to vote April 2nd, and an educated and informed decision is so much the better," he said.
Fallone said he wants to talk with as many groups as possible and hopes to have a "broad base of support" but has not been invited to speak to any Republican organizations.
This election is unfolding without the clearly drawn partisan lines of the last state Supreme Court race in 2011, Southers said. Republican-backed incumbent David Prosser defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who had the support of Democrats and labor groups, in that election.
Fallone told about 30 people at the meeting he decided to join this race last December, saying the court had become "broken." He cited a 2011 altercation between Prosser and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley—and Roggensack's decision to recuse herself from disciplinary actions against Prosser—as an example of the problems facing the court.
"I have no confidence that re-electing Justice Roggensack will solve the problem," Fallone said. "What we need now is a new approach, and new personalities on the bench."
He also criticized contributions made to Roggensack's campaign, and spending from the conservative Club for Growth, which ran ads supporting her.
If elected, Fallone said he would restore order to the court by being an independent justice.
"I will not be a part of any faction," he said. "No one will know in advance whose side I am on (or) how I will vote in a case. And it will change the dynamics."