Roggensack outspent Fallone 5-1 in Supreme Court race

WiG

UPDATE: The difference in spending is 5-1, not 10-1 as previously reported. The Brennan Center for Justice issued the clarification on April 6.

Justice Patience Roggensack, one of Gov. Scott Walker’s most reliable allies on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, outspent rival Ed Fallone nearly 5-1 in her successful bid to retain her seat on the court.

The Brennan Center for Justice reports that right-wing interests paid for nearly 70 percent of all television advertising in the state in an effort to maintain the court’s 4-3 conservative majority. Total TV spending in the April 2 race topped $1.1 million.

“While overall TV spending in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race was less than in previous years, special interests continued to dominate,” said Alicia Bannon, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Wisconsin’s million-dollar spending puts public confidence in the courts at risk.” “When interest groups routinely outspend the candidates, judges are pressured to be accountable to them instead of the law,” said Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake.

During the campaign, Roggensack defended her controversial vote on the court allowing justices to hear cases involving their major donors, saying that large contributions to her campaign have no influence on her decisions.

Roggensack, 76, was elected to her second 10-year term on the court, which soon will hear controversial cases on voting rights, labor law and environmental regulations. The corporate-right interests that backed her campaign have strong interests in these cases.