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Supreme Court candidates clash over partisan influence

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Wisconsin Supreme Court debate (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Michael Screnock and Rebecca Dallet are denying they will be "rubber stamps" for the partisan interests that are backing their candidacies in the officially nonpartisan race.

Dallet and Screnock debated Friday for the first time before the April 3 election.

Dallet is a Milwaukee County judge backed by liberals while Screnock is a Sauk County judge supported by conservatives. Dallet says Screnock is "bought and paid for by the big special interests." The state chamber of commerce and Wisconsin Republican Party spent about $800,000 to help Screnock in the primary.

Screnock argues that Dallet wants to push a liberal agenda on the Supreme Court. She has argued during the campaign that the rights of women, clean and air and water and equal protection are all under attack.

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7:24 p.m.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Rebecca Dallet and Michael Screnock are clashing in their first debate over whether they will uphold the rule of law or advocate for special interests.

Dallet and Screnock debated Friday in Milwaukee ahead of the April 3 election.

Screnock is a Sauk County judge backed by conservatives and says he's the only candidate who is dedicated to upholding the rule of law. He says that Dallet, who is backed by liberals, will be beholden to unions and others who support her. He says she's not committed to the rule of law.

Dallet says that because the state chamber of commerce and Republican Party have given nearly $700,000 to help him he will be beholden to them. Dallet says her experience as a Milwaukee County judge as a decade shows her dedication to the rule of law.

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8:32 a.m.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Michael Screnock and Rebecca Dallet are meeting for the first of two debates before the April 3 election.

Screnock, a Sauk County judge, and Dallet, a Milwaukee County judge, are set to meet Friday night in Milwaukee. Screnock is the choice of conservatives and has backing from the state chamber of commerce and Republican Party. Dallet is the pick of liberals and has been endorsed by more than 200 judges statewide.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday that Dallet presided over at least one case involving attorneys from her husband's law firm. This week she recused herself from three recent cases after the State Journal asked about it.

The state judicial code does not preclude Dallet from hearing those cases, but she's made a point of saying in the campaign she wouldn't do so.

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