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“Fix court elections”
The news that a shadowy out-of-state political group led by former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas, plans to flood Wisconsin airwaves with up to $2 million in television advertisements and other communications aimed at influencing the outcome of next spring's state Supreme Court election - and that the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce business lobby also plans an expensive campaign to buy "justice" - should serve as a wake-up call for state legislators.
These special interest groups want to punish Justice Patrick Crooks for siding with consumers - particularly sick and injured children and their families - on medical liability issues.
If they succeed in dislodging Crooks, or even in forcing him to reconsider his position, they will have warped democracy in Wisconsin - buying a shift in the rules that is neither favored by the people nor legally or morally wise.
Legislation that would provide for public funding of Supreme Court races - and for the better regulation of outside spending in those contests - has been proposed. Members of the state Assembly and Senate should act immediately to pass it and to get it on the desk of Gov. Jim Doyle.
If the reform is enacted before December, when candidates begin circulating petitions for the Supreme Court race, the menace of outside meddling could be averted.