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Fallone attacks Roggensack in 1st Supreme Court ad (UPDATE)

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Ed Fallone goes after incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack in his first ad in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race released Tuesday, just two weeks before the April 2 election.

The 30-second ad airing in Milwaukee and Green Bay hits on familiar themes of Fallone’s campaign. He accuses Roggensack of being responsible for the Supreme Court descending into dysfunction over the past three years, citing the high profile incident from 2011 in which Justice David Prosser put his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during an argument.

“Pat Roggensack refused to hold David Prosser accountable for choking another justice,” the ad’s narrator said.

Roggensack’s campaign adviser, Brandon Scholz, accused Fallone’s ad of being factually wrong because it refers to Prosser “choking” Bradley.

Prosser has said he put his hands around Bradley’s neck, which she has described as being a “chokehold.” Both have said that Prosser did not actually choke her or apply pressure to her neck.

Fallone stood by the ad, saying in an interview that his description of the event was warranted, given that Prosser told detectives who investigated at the time that his hands were on Bradley’s neck and he could feel the warmth of her skin.

Roggensack recused herself from considering an ethics complaint against Prosser because she witnessed the incident, which came as justices were debating the release of their opinion on Gov. Scott Walker’s law that effectively ended collective bargaining for Wisconsin’s public workers.

Four other justices also recused themselves, leaving the court without a quorum to move forward.

Roggensack has said the court should publicly apologize for the Prosser incident, but Fallone has said that’s not adequate and that he thinks Roggensack shouldn’t have recused herself from Prosser’s disciplinary case.

Fallone is a Marquette University law professor running for the first time for the court. Roggensack is seeking her second 10-year term.

Roggensack’s adviser dismissed Fallone’s ad.

“It’s more than disappointing Professor Fallone continues his negative campaign attacking Justice Roggensack and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.” Scholz said in a statement. “People are tired of negative campaigns and Professor Fallone is oblivious to that.”

Fallone’s ad also refers to Roggensack’s support of a rule change that allows justices to remain on cases involving parties who have donated to their campaigns. Fallone has said that rule increases the power of special interests to influence the court.

“People want to see a justice who has the courage to follow the law and to stand up for the working families of Wisconsin,” Fallone says in the ad, speaking directly to the camera.

Roggensack ran a spot last month before the three-person primary. She won that primary with 64 percent of the vote. Fallone got 30 percent.

The race is officially nonpartisan, but several Democrats and unions supportive of that party are backing Fallone while Roggensack is supported by the conservative interest group Club for Growth, as well as more than 50 county sheriffs and 100 judges.

Fallone campaign spokesman Brad Wojciechowski declined to say how much Fallone was spending on the ad buy.

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