American Spectator senior editor John Fund has a tremendously important column in today’s Wall Street Journal online, about the success of a conservative in ousting an incumbent state supreme court justice in Wisconsin. The narrowness of the conservative’s victory should not obscure two facts: 1) In Wisconsin, it is extremely rare for any incumbent judge to lose a re-election fight; and 2) Wisconsin almost never votes GOP for president (although some observers suspect that in EACH of the past two elections, both of them extremely tight, the Dems nabbed the state’s electoral votes only through vote fraud and other trickery).
Lessons from this conservative victory: Conservative positions on the judiciary are more popular than liberal positions — even, or perhaps especially, in swing (“purple”) states. Conservatives can win elections by stressing judicial issues. Republicans who refuse to fight about judges are giving up a big advantage. Conservatives should turn UP the light (and the heat) on judicial fights, rather than being scared away from them by mainstream media attempts to portray conservative judicial aims as Neanderthalic social-issue retrogressions from the modern world, etc.
I also note that a couple of years ago I highlighted the Wisconsin judiciary in part of this column, focusing on now-federal appeals court judge Diane Sykes, who also is mentioned prominently in Fund’s excellent column. I will note here for the record that on the off chance Justice Stevens steps down from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of the current court session, Judge Sykes almost certainly will be on the White House short list for his spot — and she would be a most excellent choice.