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Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate profiles: Dallet, Screnock

Judge Michael Screnock (left) and Judge Rebecca Dallet

Judge Rebecca Dallet

Age: 48

City of residence: Milwaukee

Occupation: Judge

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Ohio State University.summa cum laude with honors, Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University Law School, summa cum laude

Why do want to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

We deserve a Wisconsin where every person has an opportunity to thrive, and where every citizen is treated equally under the law. Our courtrooms should not be beholden to special interest groups. When Justice Gableman refused to recuse himself from a case where the party in front of him spent $2.25 million to get him elected, I knew it was time to take my values and experience to the highest court.

I've dedicated my entire career to standing up for the people of Wisconsin, protecting victims and the vulnerable, and upholding our rights. I know the issues the people of Wisconsin face everyday, because I see them in my courtroom every day. I know what needs to be done to gain confidence back in the courtroom, and I can make real change if elected.

Some states leave legislative redistricting to the courts, while others, like Wisconsin, task lawmakers with that responsibility. What do you think should be done in Wisconsin?

The Supreme Court of the United States has made clear that extreme partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional because the people do not have a voice when lines drawn on a map determine who will win elections. Our Justices are not to determine policy, but ensure that the executive and legislative branches never infringe on the rights of Wisconsinites. It is also worth nothing that my opponent refuses to recuse himself despite his work on the legal team that defended the maps currently under question by the Supreme Court. His impartiality on the issue is questionable.

Democratic and Republican support on either side of this race seems to undermine the notion of it being a nonpartisan office. As a justice, how will you establish trust that you'll examine issues in a nonpartisan way?

I have avoided taking positions on issues that could come in front of the court. I believe in a strong recusal rule. The high court refuses to even have a hearing about a stronger recusal rule, and that is astonishing to me. I have stated publicly that if any special interest group were to spend significant money in my benefit, I would recuse myself were the party in a case, a promise my opponent has not made. I've been a judge for a decade. Every day for the last ten years, I look at the facts of a case and come to a fair decision based on facts only. I do not let my political views play a part in my decision making as a judge. My opponent cannot say the same thing.

Judge Michael Screnock

Age: 48

City of residence: Reedsburg

Occupation: Sauk County Circuit Court Judge

Education: B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison; MBA from Eastern College (now university); J.D. from University of Wisconsin - Madison Law School

Why do want to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

I am running because I care deeply about Wisconsin and the rule of law. I am a Judge, and I have served as an attorney, so I know firsthand the importance of upholding the rule of law, protecting public safety, and respecting the Constitution and the separation of powers. I also know about the dangers of legislating from the bench. Judges are not legislators, nor are we executives. Our job is to interpret and apply the law, based not on our personal or political beliefs, but by relying on statutes and the Constitution. Citizens across the Badger State deserve the security and predictability of an independent, nonpartisan judicial branch. By electing me to the bench this spring, that is what they will get.

Some states leave legislative redistricting to the courts, while others, like Wisconsin, task lawmakers with that responsibility. What do you think should be done in Wisconsin?

This is a question best left for the state legislature. I believe strongly in the separation of powers and in the role of the court as an impartial arbiter of the law. As a judge—and as a candidate for our state's highest court—it is not my role to advocate for or support changes to legislative policy.

Democratic and Republican support on either side of this race seems to undermine the notion of it being a nonpartisan office. As a justice, how will you establish trust that you'll examine issues in a nonpartisan way?

Impartiality is the touchstone of our judicial system, and providing parties to the court a fair shake is an awesome responsibility. I know I can be fair and impartial, because I do it everyday in my capacity as Sauk County Circuit Court Judge. I am also the only candidate in this race who has been consistent from day one that my own personal and political beliefs have no place in my courtroom. My job is to interpret the law as it is written, and that is exactly how I would approach a seat on the Supreme Court.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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