What we know, from fact checks, about Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice-elect Rebecca Dallet

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet won the April 3, 2018 Wisconsin Supreme Court race by a wide margin. (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet won the April 3, 2018 Wisconsin Supreme Court race by a wide margin. (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

A major fear raised by conservatives about Rebecca Dallet -- who swept to victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race in what some see as portending a "blue wave" -- is she would be a liberal-activist justice.

During the campaign, which drew national money and attention, we found there was merit to a claim that Dallet has talked about advocating for certain policies.

And we learned a few other things in fact checks involving the Milwaukee County circuit judge before she soundly defeated Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock on April 3, 2018.

Experience

Dallet will join the high court -- tipping the conservative bent to 4-3 from 5-2 -- with significant courtroom experience.

Since being elected a judge in 2008, after a decade serving as a prosecutor, she has presided over some 11,800 cases.

Recusals

Some will be watching to see whether Dallet removes herself from any high court cases if a possible conflict of interest occurs.

Dallet was highly critical of the conservative justice she will replace, Michael Gableman, about staying on a case involving the state chamber of commerce even after accepting huge campaign donations from the group.

But she was also found not to have recused herself from cases involving her husband’s law firm, despite a pledge to do so.

Activism

Many will also be watching to see if Dallet decides cases based on a liberal political agenda, rather than the law.

We rated as Mostly True a Screnock claim that Dallet "has talked about her interest in advocating for policies that need to be changed to achieve her political objectives."

Dallet frequently characterized her comments as merely stating her values, such as clean air and water, but sometimes she went beyond that.

Some examples:

"I think we need to ensure we increase participation in our voting system, not decrease it."

"Will you join me today in pledging that we won’t vote for any candidate who takes NRA money?"

"Why do you need that rifle that was used in that (Parkland, Fla.) school shooting? What was it, an AR-15? Who ever needs to fire off that many rounds in a minute? There is no reason for that gun. There is no basis for it. It’s not a gun that should be sold in the United States."