Friday, March 23, 2018

Another Judge Rules That Scott Walker Can't Steal Elections-- And She Was His Appointment


The Wisconsin Republican Party has worked damn hard to gerrymander the state in such a way as to take a 50/50 purple state and produce a state Assembly with 64 Republicans and 35 Democrats and a state Senate with 18 Republicans and 14 Democrats. And Governor Scott Walker-- and his backers-- have no intention of anything-- elections and voters-- rain of their parade. Keep in mind, the Republican Party took control of both houses in 2011. They immediately gerrymandered the state top to prevent Democrats from ever regaining control. So, in 2012 when Democrats won a majority of the vote, Republicans still retained control of both houses of the legislature. On November 21, 2016, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the Republicans' 2011 redistricting was unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering, finding that the 2011 redistricting plan violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of one man, one vote. Walker is nervous about what could happen next. And he should be.

On January 16 there were 3 special elections. In Senate District 10-- in the far west of the state where Trump had dominated-- Republican Sheila Harsdorf had resigned to take over as Walker's Secretary of Agriculture. She had just been reelected with 63.2% of the vote and the Republicans had no fear they could lose a seat that had held for 2 decades. But they did. Democrat Patty Schachtner beat Republican Assemblyman Adam Jarchow 54.6% to 44.2%. The swing away from Trump was around 26 points. The 2 other specials that day were for Assembly seats and the Democratic seat when to a Democrat and the Republican seat went to a Republican, although the swing away from the Republicans was massive (25 points) but not quite massive enough.

Nevertheless, Walker decided the best way to deal with the GOP setbacks would be to cancel all special elections and just leave the seats empty. Voters in the districts impacted sued-- and won yesterday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds-- whom Walker appointed to the bench in 2014-- determined Walker had a duty under state law to hold special elections so voters could have representation in the Legislature. She said failing to hold special elections infringed on the voting rights of people who lived in the two districts." The two seat have been empty since December, 2017. Senate District 1 (Polk and Burnett counties northeast of Green Bay on the Door Peninsula) was won by Trump by 18 points. Romney beat Obama there by 5 points. The 42nd Assembly District (parts of Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Marquette, Green Lake and Fond Du Lac counties) also went strongly for Trump (by 13 points) although Obama took it by 3 points in 2012.
"To state the obvious, if the plaintiffs have a right to vote for their representatives, they must have an election to do so," said Reynolds.

Under her ruling, by next week Walker must call two special elections to fill the seats that belonged to former Sen. Frank Lasee of De Pere and former Rep. Keith Ripp of Lodi. The two Republicans stepped down in December to join Walker's administration.

Reynolds did not say when the elections would be held, though they could be as late as May. The winners would stand for election again in November.

...The ruling came on what Assembly leaders contended was likely their last session day of 2018. But Reynolds noted lawmakers could come in for a special session in the coming months, particularly if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with a panel of three federal judges that new congressional and legislative maps must be drawn. 

The case hinged on a state law that says Walker must promptly call a special election to fill any legislative seat that becomes vacant "before the second Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held."

Walker aides contended Walker didn't need to hold special elections because the vacancies occurred not in 2018-- the election year-- but in 2017.

The judge called that interpretation absurd because a seat that becomes vacant in 2017 remains empty longer than one that begins in 2018.

The judge took a shot at Walker for contending he didn't have to hold the election when the statutes are clear and he so often talks about the need for judges and others to follow the plain meaning of laws.

"I cannot reconcile the incongruity between Governor Walker's administration's very vocal and consistent policy advocating for strict constructionism and the position taken by the attorney general in this case involving the most basic constitutional guarantee," Reynolds said.

Democrats cheered the ruling.

"Governor Walker is clearly intimidated by the thought of losing more power when voters go to the polls," Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) said in a statement. "His refusal to call special elections is depriving thousands of Wisconsin families equal representation in the Legislature.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) ripped the judge as an "activist Dane County judge" who had injected her "own personal opinion into how we conduct elections."

He said he wasn't aware Walker had appointed the judge but said her approach was endemic to judges in liberal Madison.

"It’s something about the water in Dane County," Vos said. "That’s why I try to stay here as little as I can."
State Senator Chris Larson, probably the most progressive Democrat in the legislature, was happy to see the court ruling yesterday. This is what he told us this morning about it: "From cutting early voting hours to instituting restrictive ID requirements, Scott Walker has a long history of working to prevent citizens from voting in Wisconsin. His latest tantrum of refusing to call special elections for vacant seats is based entirely out of his fear of losing power. Political observers looking for a preview of what will happen in the forthcoming special elections (not to mention this fall's general election) should watch closely to what happens in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race on April 3rd where a Walker appointee is about to be taken down by a strong, anti-NRA woman. The Republicans time in power is quickly coming to a close."

Chris also alerted us to a new trick the Republicans in the state Senate are trying to get around the Court's ruling.
One day after a judge dealt Republicans a setback on special elections, the top GOP leader in the state Senate said if needed he wants legislation to block that election.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) made his comments to reporters Friday after a Dane County judge ruled the day before that GOP Gov. Scott Walker must call special elections to fill two vacant seats in the Legislature.

Walker declined to call those elections after two GOP lawmakers stepped down to join his administration in December.Fitzgerald said he's looking at legislation to halt the special election if the courts don't stay the judge's order.

"We are very concerned where this whole thing is headed,” Fitzgerald said.
You bet they're concerned. When people can vote in fair elections, Republicans can't win.

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At 9:47 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Republicans + Anything That Goes Against Their Way = Cheat & Power Grab

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The latest on this is the lege will step in and pass a law repudiating their previous law -- leaving districts that have no state rep floundering until the normal cycle occurs.

Once the anti-blue wave happens in 2020, they'll pass a new law that repudiates this one... so the Nazis can fill empty seats immediately with Nazis.

I have no sympathy for the dumbfucktards living in Wisconsin. They had opportunities to remove Walker and they didn't either time. They had opportunities to undo the republican advantage and screwed the pooch on those too.

And they injected the paul ryan cancer onto everyone for 20 years.

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I expect that Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds will quickly discover that she is being impeached by Walker.

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've had a string of high court decisions saying that counting votes should not be allowed since it would tend to hurt the republican, who "won" but probably really lost.
Walker simply wants to prevent elections where democraps might win. It's a subtle difference. That judge just torpedoed her ambitions for higher appointment.
But when the lege passes the law saying the gov. can NOT call for the special to fill an empty seat should it amuse him to NOT do so, that's along the same line of thinking.

Not far from there to just doing away with elections altogether.

Hey Wisconsin, you fucking idiots, how does 'scott walker governor for life' sound to y'all?


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