The two liberal candidates for state Supreme Court have staked out positions on the US Supreme Court case on Wisconsin’s legislative districts, and they’re supporting the Democrats.
However, one candidate, Tim Burns of Madison, seems a little confused about which office he is running for. In a fundraising email on Tuesday, Burns’ campaign sent the following appeal for money:
This morning, the Supreme Court in Washington heard oral arguments regarding the Wisconsin state map and the gerrymandered districts the Republicans drew in 2010.
It’s another reminder that elections have consequences. The decision on today’s gerrymandering case in the United States Supreme Court will likely come down to one vote of one Justice: Anthony Kennedy.
We have seen numerous decisions decided on one vote — Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wage, maximum work day, affordable health care, marriage equality, Citizens United.
That’s why electing Tim Burns is so important. We must break the stronghold big money and special interests have over our courts in our great state. Add your name to stand with Tim today.
The problem for Burns is that, should he be elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, he still would not be the “one vote” on the U.S. Supreme Court. He would join two other liberals on the Wisconsin court, still in the minority.
However, his fundraising appeal shows Burns doesn’t see the Supreme Court in the way a potential justice should. He sees it as a matter of vote counting, just like a legislature.
In case you weren’t sure which way Burns would rule if he were on the U.S. Supreme Court, his Twitter post makes his position pretty clear:
Partisan Gerrymandering Is Durable and Undemocratic. The Supreme Court Must Intervene. https://t.co/jYvmjINVWa
— Tim Burns (@Burns4WI) September 27, 2017
Burns’ political stands have dragged Judge Rebecca Dallet into taking a position on the redistricting case, too. In a fundraising email, Dallet’s campaign manager Jessica Lovejoy wrote:
Right now, the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether Wisconsin’s districts were unfairly drawn in 2011.
The way that we draw district maps must be fair for everyone, no matter where they live or what party they vote for. But unfortunately, voters believe that didn’t happen in Wisconsin.
We should not let partisan politics influence our voting processes or our courts — it’s that simple. If you’re ready for a fairer system, chip in to this campaign today.
Judge Rebecca Dallet has been fighting for a more equitable judicial system for the last 9 years as a judge — and before that, as a prosecutor.
She’s ready to take her determination and strong values to Wisconsin’s highest court. But first, she needs you to help her out.
Support fairness and balance on our courts — chip in today.
Again, Dallet seems to be unclear for which Supreme Court she is running, as giving her campaign money will not affect the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
But what is clear is that Dallet has dropped the pretense that she will not tell her supporters exactly how she will vote on future cases before the Supreme Court. If they give her campaign money, she will vote the way they want, just like Burns. In this case, she would rule against the Republicans in the redistricting case.
By taking a position on whether the legislative maps drawn by the Republicans is Constitutional, Burns and Dallet are essentially saying to the public, or at least their liberal supporters, that instead of electing a Supreme Court Justice the election next spring is really to elect a super legislator who will be a guaranteed vote for their interests regardless of the law.
What’s even more concerning about this position, is that when Wisconsin redraws the legislative map after the 2020 census, Dallet or Burns will already have taken a position on their standard of what the map should look like, regardless of the law. The only good news is that Dallet has unmasked herself as being as much a shameless liberal partisan as Burns.
It’s ironic that both candidates are claiming they want tougher recusal standards for the state Supreme Court, but they are creating the conditions that would seem ripe for their necessary recusal on the issues that come before the Supreme Court, including redistricting, by announcing their biases in the cases ahead of time.
In the spring election, voters should remember Dallet and Burns weighing in on the redistricting case and how the two liberal Supreme Court candidates chose to be partisan pundits instead of potential Supreme Court Justices. The voters can do Dallet and Burns a favor of sparing them the decision of whether to recuse themselves from cases where they have already offered an opinion by refusing to vote for either liberal candidate.