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Justice Dallet breaks campaign promise

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Liberal Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet is even more conflicted than we originally thought. So much for her bold declarations about money and justice.

Dallet wrote the dissenting opinion in Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling on redistricting. The court’s conservative majority ruled that it will take a “least change” approach in settling Wisconsin’s congressional and state legislative boundaries, and keep considerations of “political fairness” out of the constitutional process. The decision is a big win for Republicans because it looks to lock in place much of the existing maps drawn up by the GOP-controlled Legislature in 2011.

Dallet doesn’t believe the state Supreme Court should be involved at all. She thinks the federal courts should decide Wisconsin’s redistricting disputes.

Of course, Dallet should have recused herself from the “political thickets” based on her past pronouncements while campaigning for the bench.

During her 2018 Supreme Court campaign, Dallet’s spokeswoman said the candidate believed that “if an organization is spending hundreds of thousands to elect a Supreme Court justice, the justice should recuse themselves when that organization is party to a case.”

Dallet said special interest groups supporting justices were a “symptom of a broken system.” Watch the video here.

As Empower Wisconsin has reported, Dallet’s bid for the bench in 2018 benefitted from at least $140,000 in political ads from former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder’s liberal gerrymandering group. Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) has injected itself into redistricting lawsuits. Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros was the single largest contributor to the committee in 2018, giving $2.6 million, according to Open Secrets.

As of Tuesday, NDRC had not entered the Wisconsin redistricting fray. But a leftist group it has funded known as BLOC — Black Leaders Organizing for Communities — is a petitioner in the litigation before the Supreme Court. BLOC argued against the minimalist approach. BLOC also took credit for elevating Dallet to victory in 2018. The group openly claimed it was funded by NDRC.

A 2019 profile piece on Holder by liberal publication Mother Jones notes the former attorney general’s “efforts in Wisconsin began in March 2018, when the NDRC spent half a million dollars to elect Rebecca Dallet to the state Supreme Court, a huge amount for a state judicial race.”

“To increase African American turnout, Holder’s group funded BLOC, which knocked on 35,000 doors in Milwaukee in the spring of 2018 and helped achieve higher turnout in Dallet’s race in neighborhoods like Merrill Park than in a 2015 Supreme Court race,” the publication reported.

In July 2020, BLOC founder Angela Lang boasted that her group “helped elevate liberal candidate Rebecca Dallet to the state Supreme Court and nudged Democrat Tony Evers past Scott Walker in the gubernatorial race.”

The justice has not returned Empower Wisconsin’s request for comment.

In a press release, Holder called the state Supreme Court’s order on redistricting “an abomination,” and extensively quoted from Dallet’s dissenting opinion. Holder did not say whether NDRC was preparing to jump into the litigation before their good friend Justice Dallet.

One thing appears clear: Dallet has gone against her campaign pledge.

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