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Dirty Politics: Wisconsin Supreme Court Fight Gets Serious

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Ever since Wisconsin's new Republican Governor tried to rein in the rampant spending by Democrats, the Democrats and union allies have been trying to make the government unworkable.

Now, seeing control of the courts as their best path forward, and with deep pockets filled with cash from union members, unions are running attack ads against sitting justice, David Prosser.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Prosser was appointed to the court in 1998, by then-Governor, Tommy G. Thompson. Prosser was subsequently elected in 2001. This time, Prosser received 55 percent of the vote in the primary election, and will face assistant State Attorney General Joanne Kloppenburg in the general election.

While Prosser has been on the court, there have been a small number of controversies, with other members of the court apparently goading him. Unfortunately, he has responded with "an outburst" on more than one occasion.

Prosser has spoken at a Tea Party event and The Capital Times, a Wisconsin Progressive broadsheet has urged its readers to vote against him.

Conservatives say Prosser is a principled and trustworthy judge, who has has hundreds of high-profile endorsements.

On the other side, union and other ads support Kloppenburg, a state prosecutor, but critics say Kloppenberg has no judicial experience and a history of suing homeowners and businesses over environmental regulations. The reason for those suits is that for the past 10 years, she was in the environmental protection unit, enforcing the state's environmental laws.

Kloppenburg once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Abrahmson, who has been called an "activist" judge, but that was 25 years ago. Kloppenburg says she will not be a "clone" of Abrahmson, she will be independent, and isn't taking any special interest money.

Kloppenburg also has a huge list of endorsements, but it is hard to tell who the endorsers are, other than Judge Amy Smith.

Additional support for the conservative governor, and now the conservative judge, has been coming from various tea party groups. The Tea Party Express, which initiated and sponsored a number of bus trips across the country, launched its own TV ad campaign in the Wisconsin Supreme Court fight.

"Those on the radical left are pouring money into this race in an attempt to hijack the election and install an environmental activist judge who would do their bidding from the bench. We are determined to help keep the courts grounded in the Constitution, rather than pandering to special interests."
Amy Kremer, Chairman, Tea Party Express.

The Tea Party Express says its aim is to both educate and mobilize Wisconsin voters. Mobilization may be very important because turnout is likely to only be around 20%, so whichever candidate can mobilize voters the best, has the best chance of winning.

Here are two of the ads, "Prosser vs. Kloppenberg"

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