MADISON, Wis. — In a recent interview, Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock again refused to commit to removing himself from hearing cases as a judge involving his past work as a hired gun attorney for Gov. Scott Walker. One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin said cases involving former clients and in which Screnock argued for one side present a clear conflict of interest.
“Issues involving former clients and cases on which you argued for one side over another are clear conflicts of interest,” said Beilman-Dulin. “But Michael Screnock won’t pledge to not be involved in situations just like this as a judge.”
As reported in the Wisconsin State Journal, Screnock, “… said he would not commit to recusing himself from cases involving Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 law curtailing collective bargaining, known as Act 10, which he defended in six cases as an attorney at Michael Best & Friedrich.”
Beilman-Dulin noted that Screnock’s brief time as an attorney isn’t the only potential for conflicts of interest as he seeks a spot on the state high court.
According to reporting, public records and information obtained by One Wisconsin Now, partisan and right-wing special interest groups have gone all in to try to elect Screnock. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) dropped nearly $590,000 into a media blitz that, along with dark money outfit the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, spent over $660,000 in the primary election. Scott Walker’s Republican Party of Wisconsin contributed at least $142,000 directly to Screnock and the National Rifle Association sent a mailing encouraging their members to support him saying he “vowed” to protect their agenda.
While benefiting from this special interest money, Screnock doesn’t believe as a justice he should have to excuse himself from cases involving groups that have spent huge sums on his behalf.
She concluded, “It’s wrong for Michael Screnock to even consider participating in cases in which he has a massive conflict of interest. And it’s yet more evidence he can’t be trusted to be impartial.”