Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Ed Fallone made a campaign stop in Waunakee this week to present his argument as to why he deserves a spot on the state’s highest tribunal.
Fallone began his visit with a one-on-one interview at the Waunakee Tribune office on Sunday.
The Marquette University professor was asked why the people of Waunakee should vote for him in the upcoming February election. The law professor said it’s a matter of fairness and principle.
“What people in Waunakee want is not a justice who’s picked a side,” Fallone said. “We’re tired of elected officials picking sides and picking teams. They want to see justices who are devoted to principle, not party. And I have 30-year career of speaking out and fighting for principles.”
After moving to Milwaukee in the early 90s, Fallone became founding president of Centro Legal – a nonprofit legal-services firm that helps underprivileged families traverse the legal system.
He said his inspiration came from parents who were once separated by international borders.
“My mother is a Mexican immigrant who came here when she married my father,” Fallone said. “So I’m intimately aware of the legal needs of low-income people, vulnerable populations and immigrants as they try to navigate the justice system.”
If elected, Fallone would be the first Latino to serve on the state Supreme Court.
The professor argued that more diversity is needed on Wisconsin’s highest judicial court, and that having a wider range of perspectives would make it more effective when deliberating cases.
“The court works best when its deliberations reflect multiple experiences and viewpoints,” Fallone said. “Right now, we don’t have that. And when I tell that to audiences all over the state, people agree wholeheartedly.”
Fallone was then asked why a community the size of Waunakee would benefit from his presence on the court.
“People in smaller communities share a lot of concerns,” Fallone said. “Residents are concerned about runoff from corporate farms polluting the groundwater, which is a common concern. And people have concerns about gun violence all over the state. It doesn’t matter where.”
The candidate said such issues can be combated at the local level, which is why someone at the capitol needs to stand up for communities’ right to self-governance.
“The real issue is one of local control,” Fallone said, “the ability of local government to set rules and come up with solutions to their own problems. And we have a situation in the law where the legislature in Madison is denying local communities the ability to make these rules.”
Fallone said he would defend that right, if elected.
“Our constitution in Wisconsin is really just a machine for self-government,” Fallone said. “And I think it’s important to have justices on our state Supreme Court who understand that, and who protect the ability of people to participate in the making of rules that affect their own lives.”
The Supreme Court candidate said he looks forward to Feb. 18 election and the support he hopes to receive from small communities around the state – ones like the village of Waunakee.
“The voters want a candidate who’s been fighting for principles,” Fallone said. “And I think they’ll see that Ed Fallone is someone who’s been doing that. That’s why I’m asking for their vote.”
The nonpartisan primary election will be Feb. 18, 2020, with Jill Karofsky and incumbent Daniel Kelly also on the ballot.