While the customary practice among candidates in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race is to remain mum on the issues, I am breaking with that tradition and instead laying out how I stand on issues most important to Wisconsin voters, free of the usual rhetoric and censorship. It’s in keeping with my commitment to transparency and my belief that the law should be accessible not elitist. It also serves to shed light on the misnomer of calling the race nonpartisan, given the undue influence of out-of-state contributions by wealthy conservatives in determining the outcome of Wisconsin elections.This race is as important as the race for governor, senator or representative. Voters deserve a clear picture of where the candidates stand, not a smoke screen that candidates, and even current justices on the Court, hide behind.Here is how I stand on what I consider to be the top six issues on the minds of Wisconsinites going into this election.
Outside Influences Controlling Elections
Our Supreme Court has been bought and paid for by outside influences. I’m speaking of the Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity and other conservative advocacy groups. Our Court is a rubber stamp for the Republicans. How does this serve the ordinary people of Wisconsin? Where is their voice on the Court? For 23 years, I have represented the people of Wisconsin, from all walks of life. Not big corporations. Not the State. I am not a politician disguised as an attorney. I represent truck drivers, farmers, teachers, cops, waitresses, firefighters, restaurant owners, factory workers, union workers, doctors, lawyers, and people who receive $767 per month in social security and get swindled by a local car dealer. David Koch has a voice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It’s time the people of Wisconsin have a voice. I will be that voice.
On January 20, 2011 I testified at a Senate hearing in Madison on a Robin Vos (R) sponsored bill aimed at destroying consumer protection in Wisconsin. Representative Vos drafted the bill in response to my “unauthorized repair” case, Kaskin v. John Lynch Chevrolet. Seventy people testified against the bill, two in favor – John and David Lynch. The bill passed. Eleven months later, Governor Scott Walker signed into law the most destructive anti- consumer protection bill in Wisconsin history. With one swipe of the pen, 200 consumer laws were destroyed and more than 40 years of case law development was rendered moot. I am as serious about this election for Wisconsin Supreme Court as I am about my consumer advocacy work. In fact, the latter feeds the former. I will interpret the law fairly and with intelligence while never losing sight of who the law affects – real people. We need to get reacquainted with the practice of “justice for all” in Wisconsin.
I am against attempts to stop people from voting. I am against voter ID cards. I am against repealing same day registration, which largely prevents African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities from registering at the polls on Election Day. I am against poll taxes, literacy tests and other forms of voter suppression. I am in favor of encouraging people to vote.
The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 declaring that: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For some reason, African American men did not fall within the universal “all men” category.” It took a Civil War, 600,000 deaths and almost 100 years after the equality declaration to free the slaves. Once “freed,” these free men faced every form of hatred, violent attack and discrimination imaginable. Although things have improved, widespread racism, segregation and hatred continues to exist in this country. Civil rights violations occur daily against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities and women. I applaud the lawyers of the ACLU and other civil rights organizations who keep the fight for humanity alive.
Equal Pay for Women
Women in Wisconsin earn 75 cents for every dollar that men earn, and apparently that’s the way Governor Walker believes it should be. Without fanfare or even public announcement, on April 5, 2012, Governor Walker secretly repealed the Wisconsin 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. This Act allowed women to sue their employer in state court for wage discrimination. That seems fair – Wisconsin laws protecting Wisconsin women. But Governor Walker didn’t see it that way, he saw the law “clogging up the legal system.” He didn’t make the connection that the system was being clogged because so many women were being treated unfairly. Instead, Governor Walker thinks women should have to go to the more complex federal court system where there’s a federal anti-discrimination law.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “nonpartisan” as “free from party affiliation, bias, or designation.” The Wisconsin Supreme Court election is nonpartisan, for a nonpartisan office. Justices of the Supreme Court are nonpartisan. Decisions of the Supreme Court are reached without bias, outside influence, or partisan ideology. Except for Webster’s definition, none of the above is true. It’s time to stop lying. I am a Democrat, I am a liberal and I’m running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justice Roggensack is a Republican and she is running for the Supreme Court. Justice Roggensack has chosen Brandon Scholz, the former executive director of the state Republican Party, to advise her campaign. We must stop the fiction. Voters deserve the truth. They have the right to know who they are voting for. They have the right to see a letter designation behind the candidate’s name. Not because nonpartisanship is wrong or evil, but because calling a seat on the Supreme Court “nonpartisan” is a flagrant lie.