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WI Justice Bill Delayed Could Be Justice Denied

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 By Glen GardnerContact
April 27, 2009

Madison, WI - Supporters of a bill that would provide public financing for state Supreme Court elections in Wisconsin are hearing the sounds of silence from the State Capitol, and that has them concerned. The Impartial Justice Bill seemed to have a healthy head of steam when state Senate leader Russ Decker issued a statement saying the measure was one of three bills that would "come up soon" in the Senate.

Now Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe is wondering just what "soon" means.

"Three months have passed and it still hasn't come up. In fact, it hasn't even gotten a public hearing in committee."

McCabe went on to say that the growing culture of big money in Wisconsin's high court campaigns has become a major problem, as judges spend their time dialing for dollars from special interests and parties who could appear before them in court.

He says that under the current system the candidates are forced to pander to such special interests for the millions it takes to run.

"It would free the candidates for the high court from the need to go out and raise all this special interest money to run for the Supreme Court."

McCabe says a clear trend is developing when it comes to the amount of money being spent on these high court races in Wisconsin.

"You know what we've had now is three elections in a row where there's been record fund-raising and very high-cost elections."

Those opposed to the reform say it would infringe on free speech rights.

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