Now, another member of the court’s 4-3 right-wing majority, Justice Patience “Pat” Roggensack, is up for re-election. Roggensack is being aided by the same outside groups that aided Walker in advancing some of his most controversial proposals. The far-right independent expenditure group Wisconsin Club for Growth spent an eye-popping $300,000 on television ads supporting Roggensack during the primary. Club for Growth was responsible for more than 75% of the nearly $400,000 in TV spending in the primary race, and more than 80% of the total ad spots, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG estimates released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.
In addition, Roggensack is being handed big checks by some of the same wealthy donors that gave to Governor Walker in his recall campaign, such as Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks and David Uihlein, Jr., as well as a variety of PACs and local Republican Party chapters.
Her opponent, Marquette Law Professor Edward Fallone, has been endorsed by a host of progressive organizations, but lags well behind in fundraising. If Fallone took the majority the court could do a virtual 180 on some of the state’s most contentious issues
It’s not surprising that the Club and other well-moneyed conservatives are willing to spend big to keep Roggensack on the court. Roggensack was part of the 4-3 majority that upheld a law pushed by Walker to undermine public sector unions. She also cast the key vote to reject an ethics rule that would have prevented justices from hearing cases involving their major campaign donors. Instead, Roggensack backed a rule written by corporate lobbyists.
The last time control of this court was at stake, conservatives also spent big to keep Walker’s allies in charge. In the week before conservative Justice David Prosser’s reelection, a report found just three groups spent nearly $1.4 million to keep Prosser on the bench. A group with close ties to the billionaire Koch brothers spent nearly $400,000.