Madison attorney Tim Burns Monday announced he will run for the state Supreme Court next year, when conservative Justice Michael Gableman would be up for re-election.
Burns, who said his legal practice focuses on challenging insurance companies on behalf of businesses and consumers, said he was inspired to run because he has watched the judiciary’s fairness and impartiality getting chipped away over the last several decades due to judges being aligned with special interests and “radical philosophies.”
Burns said along the way, the scale has been tilted in favor of the wealthy.
“I’m not anti-business in the slightest,” said Burns, a partner at Perkins Coie. “But I am very much for free markets, and free markets mean that small farmers, small business, consumers and labor get a fair shake in our courts.”
Burns said he supported a proposal that would have required Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from cases involving donors who gave $10,000 to their campaigns. It was rejected by the court 5-2. But Burns said he would voluntarily abide by the standard if elected.
He also said he is announcing almost a year out from the race because of the need to raise money for what he expects to be several million dollars spent by conservative groups such as Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and those backed by the Koch brothers.
Burns also said he does not plan to self-fund his campaign, saying he disagrees with that approach to running for office.
“It doesn’t comport with my notion of democracy,” he said. “It worries me because it sends a message that only rich folks can be in elected office.”
The state GOP slammed Burns as “another Madison liberal.”
“Wisconsinites want a justice who will uphold the Constitution and support the rule of law, not an out-of-touch Madison trial attorney who will cave to liberal special interests,” said GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman.