Wisconsin Supreme Court: One candidate admires Scalia, the other respects RBG | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Wisconsin Supreme Court: One candidate admires Scalia, the other respects RBG


Judge Michael Screnock admires Justice Antonin Scalia, while Judge Rebecca Dallet takes a liking to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

In the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to be decided at the polls on Tuesday, April 3, the opposing candidates have been naming as their heroes two of the most disparate figures who’ve recently served on the U.S. Supreme Court bench.

A New York Times report last year listed Scalia to the right of everyone on the bench at that time, with the exception of Justice Clarence Thomas. Among those on the left, Ruth Bader Ginsberg – often referred to as “RBG” – was barely edged out only by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Judge Michael Screnock

Judge Rebecca Dallet

Screnock is a judge in Sauk County Circuit Court, while Dallet is a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge.

In the 1990s, Dallet devoted countless hours to restarting and growing a youth program affiliated with Congregation Shalom of Fox Point. She’s served on the boards of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, the Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and the Association of Women Lawyers. Dallet teaches nationally on domestic violence to other judges.

Screnock has served as a scout leader, soccer coach, soccer referee, mock trial coach and math team coach. He also spent years working in local government, including running the City of Reedsburg’s community development program. Much of this work focused on helping low-income and first-time homeowners make necessary home repairs.

In an interview, Dallet said she admires Ginsberg because of her fight throughout her life for women’s equality and because of her view of the Constitution.

“It is a view that it is a living document,” she said, adding that there are “things that weren’t anticipated back in 1787.”

Dallet said a judge exists in the world as it is. “I have to take the Constitution and apply it to the situation that we find ourselves in with modern technology,” she said.

Screnock did not respond to requests to interview with the Chronicle, but in a Jan. 22 forum sponsored by The Federalist Society, he made his opinion on Scalia clear.

“I have been so impressed with the work that Justice Scalia did on the bench,” Screnock said. “I’ve listened to a lot of his speeches over the last many months and every time I hear him I agree with him more and more.”

But he added, “I don’t have his style. He was known for his biting dissents. That’s just not my style. I don’t have a confrontational type of a style.”

Screnock has touted that as an attorney he defended Act 10, legislation that had been supported by conservatives and opposed by unions in 2011.

“I am running because we are at a time when our rights are under attack, every day, tweet by tweet,” Dallett told Wisconsin Public Radio. “And we have a broken Supreme Court, and we need someone with values and experience to step up and repair that court.”