As a supporter of Judge Rebecca St. John I offer this reply to allegations made against her in this blog. John Scepanski, DeForest Area Progressives
A Message from Judge Rebecca St. John
Recently, a number of allegations and unfortunate misstatements have been made in emails, on Facebook and in blog posts. I want to set the record straight and share with you, in my own words, the approach I bring to my decision-making on the bench.
1. Contrary to allegations and insinuations, I am not and have never been a member of the Federalist Society. Nor am I am “closet” supporter. Period.
2. As a Judge I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Laws passed by the legislature must comply with the requirements of both the United States and Wisconsin Constitutions. Put simply, as a Judge I have an independent duty to enforce the Constitution and to invalidate unconstitutional laws. I believe deeply in the role of an independent judiciary, as a third branch serving as a check and balance in our democratic form of government.
3. Among the 34 judges endorsing me (31 more than have endorsed my opponent) are Judge David Flanagan, Judge John Markson, Judge Frank Remington, Judge Mark Frankel, Judge Brian Blanchard, Judge Paul Lundsten, Judge Sarah O’Brien, Judge Steven Ehlke and Judge William Foust. They are independent and intellectually rigorous. As Judges they, and I, take seriously our obligation to interpret and apply the law, fairly, impartially and without fear or favor.
4. My career choices are a good guide to my values. I’ve spent the vast majority of my career in public service, as an attorney for a non-profit and as a State employee at the Department of Justice. I have done extensive pro bono work for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the American Diabetes Association, Lawyers for Children and as a court advocate for abused children. I personally believe in equality for all people under the law; I personally believe health care decisions are between a woman and her doctor; I personally believe more people should be encouraged to vote and that voting is a cornerstone of our democracy.
5. I stand with my colleagues on the Dane County bench in rejecting personal attacks against Judges made by Governor Walker. My Dane County judicial colleagues work hard every day to fairly and honestly apply the law, consistent with our constitutional form of government. I have expressed my view that while the governor, like any litigant, has the right to disagree with decisions Judges make and to appeal those decisions, Governor Walker’s sharp personal attack on Dane County Judges are unfounded, inappropriate and undermine the public’s confidence in the independent judiciary I care deeply about.
6. Our Courts are much too important to be held hostage by partisan political gamesmanship. As a Judge, I decide cases that have a profound impact on the day-to-day lives of children, families, and individuals. I would have applied to be a judge no matter who was governor because I want to be a part of the criminal justice system that works on the areas of the law to which I have dedicated my career: children, particularly child victims of abuse and neglect, in the courts; racial disparity; mental health and dependency issues; domestic violence. Innuendo, inaccuracy and misinformation have no place in this campaign. And, Justice should not be for sale. That is why I am voluntarily limiting campaign contributions and refusing special interest money and encourage my opponent to do the same.
Ultimately, my approach as a judge mirrors my objective in every case: giving people their day in court as a fair and impartial decision maker. I cannot give people their day in court unless they know in advance what rules apply. I also cannot give one side a fair shake without giving the other side a fair shake too.
I hope you will feel free to contact me directly with any questions or if there are other issues you wish to discuss.
Judge Rebecca St. John