Marquette University Law Professor Ed Fallone plans to inspire voters to wield their vote in the 2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, and looks to become the first Latino on the state’s highest court.
“I’ve been an observer of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the judicial system for two decades and I think we are doing a bad job of selecting our judges. As I go across the state, I find that a lot of people agree with me,” he told Madison365.
He will face Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly in the primary election on Feb. 18. Kelly was appointed in 2016 by former Gov. Scott Walker to fill the unexpired term of David Prosser Jr. He announced that he would seek a full ten-year term back in May.
Fallone plans to bring his experiences growing up in a working-class family, experience as a constitutional law professor and working for nonprofit organizations serving underprivileged communities to the bench. He was also a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the 2013 election, however, lost to the incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack. Fallone believes this election will be different.
“I think in terms of the incumbent Daniel Kelly, he was appointed by Scott Walker three years ago so this is his first time facing the voters. I look at his experience and I see nothing that qualifies him beside his favor,” he said.
Fallone earned a B.A., summa cum laude, in the Spanish language & literature and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Boston University. In addition to being a law professor at Marquette University, he also practices with Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan LLP.
He began his career working for organizations such as Centro Legal por los Derechos Humanos, Inc., The Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Assistance program, and The Latino Community Center. Fallone has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Voces de la Frontera Action.
“My campaign is about diversity of experience, diversity of perspective,” Fallone said.
If elected, Fallone would like to advocate for equality and transparency in government. He said he would also like to ensure that all persons enjoy the same constitutional rights which include making sure there’s not a hint of favoritism. He said these are issues he’s been working fighting for his entire professional life.
“I think the thing that perhaps motivates me the most is that our courts are the force of transparency and democratic process,” Fallone said.
He said criminal justice reform will most likely be a big issue for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Fallone also said some legislators within the state and legislators within Madison that are trying to move forward with reform.
He would like to effect change from within the court system. For Fallone, this means having a supreme court that understands that putting people in jail is not the only way to address crime. This includes incorporating restorative justice and reaching reconciliation.
“I think that’s important to have justices that don’t just read different briefs but understands the effects of people with different backgrounds of their decisions,” he said.
Fallone believes the worst thing a judge can do is to focus on words on a page without thinking about the consequences, not to pick sides but understand the ramifications on decisions. Through his election, he would like to encourage voters to use their position to choose judges with diverse perspectives, an issue Fallone has spoken up about since 2013.
“I think we have many of the same challenges. I like to think in my career if you really look at what I’ve done as a law professor I use my position to speak out publicly,” he said.