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Judge rules ad can go back on the air

A state appeals court ruled Monday that a political radio ad which a judge took off the air on Saturday can go back on.

The Fourth District Appellate Court in Madison suspended a restraining order against the ad, imposed Saturday by Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Lister.

He silenced the ad at the request of state Assembly candidate Mark Radcliffe and the State Democratic Party.

They said the ad falsely accused Radcliffe of supporting tax-funded health care, and care for illegal immigrants.

Lister said the ad was likely defamatory and ordered it silenced without hearing from the group that sponsored it, the Coalition for America's Families.

After hearing both sides the next day, Lister kept the ad shut down until the group appealed Monday Morning.

The coalition said Radcliffe was on record supporting the government-run Healthy Wisconsin plan.

The appellate judges said it was not aware of any case law that allows a prior restraint of free speech in this case. But Radcliffe and the Democrats said the group broke a rarely-enforced state law against making false campaign statements.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Menomonee Falls, a former House Judiciary chairman, called Lister's ruling the biggest civil rights violation in state history.