wisconsin capitol
Press Release
February 24, 2013

State Court Candidate Roggensack and Special Interest Backers Tout Her Experience … Taking Their Side

Pro-Business Groups Find Court Candidate Takes Their Side Over the Rest of Us Three Out of Four Times

MADISON, Wis. — Big special interests’ $600,000 plus advertising blitz supporting the campaign of Pat Roggensack for the State Supreme Court touts her experience, but according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, unless you are a corporation like an insurance company, Roggensack’s experience has been issuing opinions taking their side over yours.

Ross commented, “Pat Roggensack and her special interest backers like to talk about her experience and the number of cases she’s decided. But instead of just focusing on the number of cases, we took a look at whose side she’s taking in these cases and we found that unless you’re a big corporation or well-funded special interest, your experience with Roggensack is that she’s more much more likely to take their side, even when a majority of her colleagues disagree.”

Ross cited Roggensack’s opinion in the Touchpoint Health Plan case as just one example of her consistent pro-corporate bias. In her minority dissent, Roggensack supported an insurance company’s refusal to pay for the doctor recommended treatment of a three year-old boy with a cancerous brain tumor. A majority of the court disagreed with Roggensack’s support for the insurance company, finding the denial of coverage for the boy’s cancer treatment was “arbitrary and capricious.”

He said, “On the court, Roggensack has sided with the big insurance companies, and against patients and victims. In this case, she ruled it was ”reasonable’ for life saving treatment to be denied a three year-old boy, even though her colleagues and the company’s own independent review disagreed.”

A rating of state Supreme Court Justices compiled by a corporate special interest front group that lobbies to restrict people’s rights to access the court system to hold corporations accountable found that for the 2011-12 court term and a second consecutive time, Pat Roggensack, topped the list for towing the corporate line with her votes and opinions.

In the recent primary election, special interests sponsored over $600,000 in television and radio spending on behalf of Roggensack. In addition, the state big business lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce publicly emphasized their interest in electing Roggensack to the court and touted their multi-million campaigns in support of judges sympathetic to their concerns in several recent court elections.

“The special interests’ experience with Pat Roggensack has been that she’s ready to take their side. You’d hope a judge would be neutral, but in almost three-quarters of the cases, Roggensack takes the side of special interests. No wonder they’re opening up their checkbooks to keep her working for them,” concluded Ross.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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