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Closing argument in WI Court race: My Facebook page is nicer!

Robert Costa of National Review Online reports on a speech Monday to supporters by Joanne Kloppenburg, the union-backed candidate in today's Wisconsin Supreme Court election, running against incumbent Justice David Prosser.

Kloppenburg’s closing argument against Prosser began with a comparison of Facebook profiles. “When you look at my opponent’s Facebook page, you see a lot of meanness, a lot of hatred, a lot of fear,” she said. “When you look at my Facebook page, you see hope.”

Thus does campaigning progress. Next election cycle, candidates will compare Twitter accounts.

Will Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general, oust Prosser, a rule-of-law jurist, and in the process turn the court's majority into a 4-3 liberal, activist majority? Organized labor certainly hopes so, working hard to elect Kloppenburg with the clear hope she will vote to overturn Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining and budget reform legislation. The election results will depend on voter turnout: Will the "progressive" voters of Madison come to the polls in sufficient numbers to outweigh voters from the conservative counties?

The last week or so has not been edifying. Organized labor threatened business owners who refused to post pro-union signs in their stores, a protection scheme that some police unions even signed on to.

The lefty group, the Greater Wisconsin Association, has run ads against Justice Prosser accusing him of cossetting child-abusing priests and damning him for referring to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson as a "total b*****." The Prosser campaign responded to the first ad with its own commercial, and The Wall Street Journal's John Fund suggests the original attack may have backfired.

Organized labor was counting on a big turnout on Monday at rallies in Madison and elsewhere to stimulate get-out-the-vote efforts, but the crowd at the state Capitol seemed sparse. Jesse Jackson offered his usual moralizing, proclaiming, "Let nothing break your faith. This land is your land. We must not give up on each other. Today we commemorate the crucifixion of Dr. King. Tomorrow, we celebrate the resurrection."

More ...

Milwaukee's conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes has much commentary at his blog.

UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): Robert Costa interviews Justice Prosser, "Prosser Agonistes."

Over the last decade — he ran unopposed in 2001 — Prosser has appreciated the opportunity to serve, but part of his reason for wanting to run again, he says, is because he wants to keep the court from becoming an all-powerful entity in state government. He enjoys the law, to be sure, but the thought of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson running things, pushing the court’s power to the limit, disturbs him.

“More and more, I think the court has tried to grab power, and increase the power of the chief justice, in so many different areas,” he says. “I get very, very concerned about that.”

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.