As the mom of three teenage daughters, I wake up every day with gratefulness and joy for my family, and dread for my country. What nonsense will President Trump tweet today, and what group of Americans will he attack?
And I think most of us are disgusted at the lowering of our standards. Most of us agree that the distasteful attacks on women, immigrants, and the vulnerable need to stop.
I share a broad set of values with my fellow Wisconsinites. I support a strong public education system, clean air and water, the rights of working people to organize. I’m a former union member. I believe in equal protection for everyone under the law.
But as a judge, I don’t take positions on specific issues that might come before the court. It’s wrong to do so. When judges take positions on issues, they call into question the fairness of the courts. Explicit partisan bias harms our system of justice. And as a judge, I see tough cases, where the choices don’t always fit into neat buckets, wrong or right.
What we need to do is fix our broken Wisconsin Supreme Court. Big-money special interests have taken over. Justices refuse to recuse themselves even when their donors — who’ve given massive amounts of money — want the court to rule a certain way. They’ve even closed administrative meetings so they can do more of their business out of the public’s view.
There’s no more clear example than when this court shut down the John Doe investigations of Gov. Scott Walker and his associates. The first John Doe investigation resulted in multiple convictions, but the second investigation was stopped in its tracks by this court, and they even ordered evidence destroyed. Instead of letting prosecutors do their job, they declared it a witch hunt and protected their political allies.
Sound familiar? We’re seeing the same dynamic play out nationally now, as the president’s political allies try to impede the Russia investigation.
Some will tell you the antidote to partisan warfare from the right is simply more partisan warfare from the left. But I think that’s wrong. I think judges should be independent and impartial, and kept out of the political fray. I’ll uphold the law and the Constitution to ensure people’s rights are protected.
I’ve spent a career doing so. I have the experience to be successful in fixing what’s wrong with our court. I’ve already been a judge for 10 years, and I served the public as a prosecutor for more than a decade before that. I started my career working to elect a Democratic attorney general in Ohio, and I’ve stood up for victims and the vulnerable my whole career. The two men running in this race simply don’t have the experience I do — one was just appointed a judge by Gov. Scott Walker after he defended Act 10 and the Republican gerrymandering, and the other has barely spent any time in Wisconsin courtrooms, instead representing massive corporations all over the country.
My favorite day on the bench, I was traveling and had just returned to Wisconsin. Word came down that federal Judge Barbara Crabb had ruled that discriminating against same-gender couples was unconstitutional, and marriage equality was the law of our state. I grabbed my robe and headed down to the courthouse. I had the chance to perform the marriage ceremony for many couples that day, and it was a day where freedom, equality, and joy shined bright.
That’s why I’m a judge, and I promise if elected to the Supreme Court, I’ll do you proud every day. I’d appreciate your vote.
Judge Rebecca Dallet has spent more than 23 years in public service, as a prosecutor and on the bench.
Rebecca Dallet is a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She faces Tim Burns and Michael Screnock in the Feb. 20 primary election. A column by Tim Burns was published Feb. 12 and one by Michael Screnock will run Feb. 14.