For those of you who aren’t following the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race yet, Tim Burns is a Madison lawyer who is running for the seat currently held by Justice Michael Gableman. I heard him speak at the 2017 Democratic Party of Wisconsin Convention and was eager to see how his campaign would unfold.

Well I am tired of his already. And no, not because of the daily emails from his campaign. I expect that and have the same volume of emails from a lot of candidates running for elected offices in 2018.

No I am tired of his negative advertising campaign against opponent Judge Michael Screnock. Now I realize that state Supreme Court races have grown far more partisan over the last dozen years and parties are far more involved than I remember. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article a few weeks ago detailing a number of protest incidents thirty years ago that resulted in Judge Screnock’s arrest. The media did it’s job and wrote about a candidate’s history. Something that the electorate might be interested in. Should be end of story.

But Mr. Burns has continually targeted advertising in social media linking to the MJS story…day after day after day. Along with comments questioning Judge Screnock’s bias or ability to be fair. I am tired of looking at it every time I log in.

I don’t support Judge Screnock’s views. I would never consider voting for him. But I hate the level of conversation this race as taken this early in the campaign. This is beneath the level of discourse we should be having in a Supreme Court race. This is demeaning. This is mean spirited. For me it rules out Tim Burns as a candidate. Can’t we even run a court race without sinking to this? There aren’t points of law that Wisconsin cares about that can’t be discussed instead?

27 Responses to I Am Already Tired of Tim Burns

  1. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    I don’t mind that he says Michael Screnock is an unqualified hack, but this is not the point of the campaign to be saying such a thing. Burns needs to be convincing people that his views are worthy of advancing in the primary, but he’s clearly trying to ride an anti-RW backlash to this position.

    Having an outspoken progressive on the bench has its value, and God knows that Kangaroo Court at the Capitol needs balance. But trying the “look at how partisan I am” game seems like a losing bet, especially 3 months before the primary.

    I like what I’ve seen of Dallet in general, and think she’d be fair and rule well- a major upgrade over crooked POS Michael Gableman. That’s my leaning right now.

    • Hi Jake — thanks for your kind words about Judge Dallet and our campaign. I’d love to chat with you more about why Rebecca is the best choice in this race. Can you shoot me an email (

    • John Casper says:

      Jake, did you miss Bernie Sanders winning the Wisconsin primary after BB supported HRC?

      Did you miss the last two “qualified” Wisconsin SC candidates—Fallone and Kloppenburg–losing? Did you miss both of them endorsing Tim? The only thing Tim is “partisan” about is fairness. Ed’s post is an insult to Ed Fallone, Judge Kloppenburg, and their supporters.

      Tim’s the only candidate talking about the legal implications of income inequality. Did Ed miss the WIGOP’s payday lending laws, aka usury? Is Ed’s post another example of Blogging Blue ignoring the GOP’s “socialism for the elites?” Has Ed heard of bankruptcy law?

      Eisenhower and Reagan understood that democratic capitalism rests on a three-legged stool: shareholders, workers, and consumers. That’s why those Republicans supported collective bargaining laws and work place safety laws. WIGOP doesn’t like those. WIGOP laws hurt employers who want to pay a fair wage and provide a safe workplace.

      Can you link to the last BB post that supported workers or consumers? Why does Ed object to judicial candidates talking about laws?

      I wish Tim would talk about the”job-killing-government-regulations” against marijuana. That’s a law. Both bases want it overturned. It’s the drug cartels and Big Pharma who are opposed.

      Could campaigning on “legalization” pick up a lot of liberal and conservative dollars? Reserving scarce law enforcement resources to keep marijuana away from minors makes sense. It’s how the laws are written on alcohol. He could remind people of the damage Al Capone did to the Illinois judiciary because of all the money the mafia made off of prohibition. That was a law. Which party ended prohibition? Tim could talk about legalization and “tax fairness.” That’s taking the tax revenue from marijuana to pay public sector workers and lower property taxes. Has Ed heard of tax law? Would Ed mind if Tim talked about the tourism dollars Wisconsin is losing to Colorado? What about agriculture jobs legalized marijuana and hemp could open up?

      Has Ed ever heard of “mass incarceration?” Until BB supports such an obviously “blue” position as legalizing marijuana—shouldn’t the blog’s name be “Blogging Red,” or “Blogging Neocon?”

      • South Shore Liberal says:

        John, I appreciate your perspective, but if the race ends up being Burns and Screnock Burns will lose by 20 points. I don’t mind that he’s come out and said he’s a liberal and a Democrat; what I do mind is his lack of judicial experience. I realize judicial experience is not the end all, be all, but if he’s in a two candidate race against a candidate with experience he’s going to get beat by 20 points.

        Dallet can beat Screnock, and that’s why I’m supporting her.

  2. Edward Susterich says:

    Last week, Tim Burns was interviewed on WRRD 1510AM Radio for about a half-hour. He explained his background, legal experience, political philosophy, and he offered detailed commentary on issues important to progressives. His emphasis was on his qualifications for the Wisconsin State Supreme court. I was impressed, and– for me– he earns my support.

    I don’t recall his making negative references about his election opponents, so I was surprised by the “I Am Already Tired of Tim Burns” commentary about all this negative advertising against Screnock. Not being a frequent user of social media (Facebook?), I attempted to find this repetitive, offending negative advertising campaign– I found none. It’s probably there somewhere within the clutter of Facebook, but it was not apparent to me or anyone seeking general information about Tim Burns. Yes, the Burns website does include a reference to Screnock’s anti-abortion activities in the past– important, isn’t it?

    Negative advertising by candidates and outsiders promoting their cause are in every campaign. Try to dismiss them all and focus on the qualifications of the candidate.

  3. onevote says:

    An interesting post, with a lot of variety of views.
    “Non-partisan” really helped Kloppenburg, didn’t it?
    What “non-partisan” has come to mean is whether you vote R or D; it’s much like non-profits, 501c4s, etc. claiming they stand for what’s “good.”

    In Kloppenburg’s case, she would not take on the clearly biased GOP/Federalist Society/”originalist”
    view of justice. And the GOP had the nerve to accuse her of being an “activist judge.”

    Dallet does not seem much different, supposedly it’s all about “women’s” issues, and John and Edward bring up very valid viewpoints.

    • Jake formerly of the LP says:

      I just think Burns is running a campaign more fitting of an Attorney General candidate than a Supreme Court Justice, and I worry it’ll come off as too much.

      I don’t mind the idea of going after wingnut Screnock after the primary with all barrells, no matter who the candidate is. And I agree that the “nonpartisan/independent” appearance is a limiting strategy these days, because if you believe in fairness for ALL people before the law, and believe that this Governor and Legislature have to face checks and balances, you are on the “non-conservative” side of things.

      A lot of my support of Dallett is tactical. Some partisan Dem types will back Burns, and I count on them to vote for him regardless. Dallett may be better for a general election and with casual voters, and if enough decent-thinking Wisconsinites come out to vote in February, perhaps BOTH Dallett and Burns can advance over wingnut Screnock, and then we can re-examine things differently.

      • John Casper says:

        Jake, if Judge Dallett’s campaign wants to knock Screnock out of the general, why isn’t it running Tim’s ads?

        Using your logic, you should be supporting Tim.

      • AJ says:

        I really have not been following the daily slog of this supreme court campaign. I will have to take a look at Dallett but right now I have liked what I have scene out of Burns. In general I am just happy a progressive candidate for supreme court will be on the ballot this spring.

  4. John Casper says:

    Ed, your denial–below–of evidence that Sec. Clinton rigged the primary contradicts your claim that you’re concerned about the “level of conversation,” the “level of discourse.”

    “Asked if DNC system was rigged in Clinton’s favor, Warren says ‘yes'”

    “No, the DNC didn’t ‘rig’ the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton : In an excerpt from her forthcoming book, Brazile argues that the DNC provided the Clinton campaign with control over important decisions in exchange for financial support. In response, a number of political actors, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and President Trump, have argued that this proves that the DNC “rigged” the primary process against Sanders. In reality, the situation is considerably more complex. Brazile’s claims show that two things are true. First, the DNC preferred Clinton over Sanders, and provided her campaign with power over the committee in exchange for financial support. Second, while the DNC preferred Clinton, this may have had little impact on the actual outcome of the primaries.”

    The appearance is that someone on Ms. Laning’s staff emails you BB’s content. You use to be a better copy editor, knew the difference between “it’s” and “its.”

    “The media did it’s job… .”

    Trump and Sanders tapped into the “bi-partisan” dissatisfaction with income inequality. Dems win on Medicare-for-All, and “support the troops, bring them home now.”

    Both of those save trillions in the federal budget. U.S. spends more per capita on health care than the rest of the world, because we don’t have single-payer.

    That savings alone opens up massive federal investments in health care, education, green infrastructure, anti-trust enforcement, and a federal job guarantee. That’s what FDR did, anyone who wants a job has one.

    Neocons who control the Democratic party, don’t want to disturb the elites as they continue to pillage the 99 percent. Stop helping them.

  5. John Casper says:

    Ed, any chance BB and DPW could take a break on policing the “level” of “discourse” and “conversation” to cover WIGOP’s assault on private property?

    “Greasing oil’s path:
    As environmental concerns halted pipelines elsewhere, Wisconsin government leaders quietly made it easier to condemn private property for a potential Canadian oil line expansion”

    “Eminent domain allows the government to compel an individual to sell his or her private property, or the use of it, for a project that the government deems a public need, such as highways and power lines.”

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      John, I wish I had more time to devote to Blogging Blue. There are probably half a dozen items on any given day that I would love to comment on or dig into further. But it gets tough. Other life events get in the way.

      You have brought up a number of topics in your comments on this post that you are obviously passionate about and that I am sure many of our readers would be interested in. If you take the time and put together and article/post I will be more than happy to publish it here. Just let me know! (btw: contributors to BB retain 100% ownership of their posts and all copyrights. I do not edit posts that are published by other contributors). You will get author credit if you decide to do this.

      • onevote says:

        Any website can edit as much as it wants and publish responses as they wish, after all it’s their website.

        Just wish that websites take on the big picture and respond honestly to commenters. Ed may be limited by his lifestyle to only write about what he thinks is going on, but I think John C. your comment is really valid. “If you take the time” should be appreciated by the website, not bothered by their somewhat differing viewpoints. “Passionate” is not a negative.

        We’re not trolls, just trying to include the truth that would make a difference to Dems…and win elections.

        • Ed Heinzelman says:

          onevote, did you think my reply to Mr. Casper was negative? I was being sincere. He has suggested very good topics that he cares about. And I used passionate intentionally and intended it as a positive! But I know how much time it takes to put together a post…so I suggested if he has the time to devote to writing…I would publish it. All of us have families and households and jobs and other interests that we need to devote our time to.

          And I want to assure anyone who would like to have something appear here that I don’t/won’t edit their work or claim any credit for it. That’s not how it works here.

          And I appreciate any and all comments…well pretty much (haha).

          • onevote says:

            Thanks, Ed.

            My quest is not to be a turd in the punchbowl, but to express thinking that would help voters vote for Dem candidates. And I think John’s view is really valid, no matter what mainstream tells us to think. Thanks John, I appreciate your topics, but it seems in this day of media conglomerates that we are told to have all have homogonized thinking.

            It certainly takes time to maintain a website, and I applaud your effort. We all have jobs and interests beyond politics (mine include music, architecture, political economy, sociology, food, breathing, fun, etc.)

            Things will only move forward if we all follow our interests, expressing them on places like this, and thanks Ed for sharing our thoughts.

    • onevote says:

      Your comment is exactly right.

      Eminent domain used to be used, as a last resort, to take and use land for the public good. Think the TVA or Hoover Dam, where people were displaced and compensated for their land.

      Today, eminent domain is used to benefit private business. Think Foxconn or developers up in Door County.

      This is all part of the GOP scheme to take over government, for the benefit of a select, wealthy few.

      • onevote says:

        My big comment, as posted, was not shown as a response to John’s 11/16 comment, to which I made a “Reply”. So confusing, and not helping responders.

        This post by Ed has provoked a lot of comments, which is good.

        But we now see here mainsteam, pop culture viewpoints, saying look over there… That mindset does not help ordinary voting people, as our lives are not like HRC or Paris Hilton, or current SNL stars. People are not dumb, no matter what their grade level; we all have to make a living.

        I just find the number of responses interesting (but Jessica Lovejoy is pretty easy to figure out).

      • Nemo says:

        GOP scheme? If that is true, why was it in Kelo v. City of New London that the progressive wing of the court (plus one swing vote) thought it was fine for Foxconn or other developers to take property using eminent domain and the conservative members of the court said no? Sounds like it’s more of a Liberal scheme to reward the well connected and corrupt at the expense of the poor.

        • pplr says:

          If memory serves that New London was trying to develop blighted area to increase the amount of jobs in the area.

          While one can disagree with or debate the decision there was a possible social benefit here for the locality in question.

          There state seizing of property for oil pipelines there is not the same benefits. These areas a are not benefiting from a pipeline adding risks to their area.

          So there is little to no local benefit for a blighted area argument here.

          Here it is straight up Walker serving powerful campaign donors over the citizens of his state.

          • Nemo says:

            Governor Walker’s deal with Foxconn will create thousands of local jobs in a blighted area. pplr, is it your contention that thousands of local jobs are of “little to no local benefit”?

            Your memory of Kelo is accurate. It’s interesting to note that, after the city and state spent 78 million to acquire the properties and bulldoze the homes, funding for the project fell through. The area is currently an empty lot.

            • Ed Heinzelman says:

              Mount Pleasant is a blighted area?

              • Nemo says:

                Mount Pleasant? No, but I consider local jobs to be within a reasonable commute distance. Ed, are you suggesting that there are no economically blighted areas in the Racine/Kenosha area?

                • Ed Heinzelman says:

                  Certainly there are blighted areas in Racine and Kenosha. And I would be very happy if they were actually building this in a blighted area…or nearly as good a reclaimed brown field. But they aren’t…and they aren’t building in either of those two cities. They are building it on residential and agricultural green spaces essentially. And yes the proximity to the interstate which I am sure was a requirement provides reasonable commutes…it does in fact require a car. But otoh, those without access to a car probably won’t have the skill set required to work there.

                  • Nemo says:

                    While many locals may not have the skill set or transportation to work there, they will benefit from the infusion of cash into the local economy by those that do. A golden age for Racine’s and Kenosha’s bars, restaurants, service industries, and other consumer businesses are certainly worth a few bushels of corn or bales of hay.

  6. lufthase says:

    I can certainly understand being tired of the ads or questioning the timing from a campaign tactics perspective, but that’s a dumb reason to “rule out” Burns. I wish the level of discourse were higher too, but that ship sailed long ago. The state supreme court is, in practice, a partisan office. And since it’s a Feb/April election it’s more about turnout and machine politics than actual positions or qualifications. Burns is targeting pro-choice folks to get them engaged and aware of the race and hopefully turning out to oppose the forced-birther. I’m sick of progressives and Dems acting like they’re the League of Women Voters while the other side pulls out all the stops and blows all the dogwhistles, discourse and ethics and truth be damned, and just terrifies people into voting. Right wing outlets are already playing seven-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon to try and tie Burns to the nonexistent Clinton-Russia ‘collusion’ conspiracy theory. Maybe it’s good for Burns to be on the offensive now before WMC puts those wall-to-wall ads together.

  7. AJ says:

    Wisconsin needs more Supreme Court Justices that are not weak on the 4th amendment.

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