So the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which frequently asserts its corporate constitutional rights to press freedom, has come out in favor of abridging the constitutional rights of the citizens of Wisconsin.
The Journal-Sentinel didn't appreciate this summer's recall elections, the right to which is guaranteed by the State constitution, arguing against along two fronts: 1) Elected officials shouldn't be recalled simply over policy disagreements and 2) The recall elections were too costly.
Journal Communications, Inc.'s business side can't possibly endorse the latter jusification. A huge portion of that $44M spent on advertising ended up as JRN revenue and the Journal-Sentinel's online edition's page views were through the roof, satisfying and attracting advertisers. In fact JRN has an affirmative duty to its shareholders to lobby for more and more and more recall elections and their attendant political gossip.
Nevertheless this morning the Journal-Sentinel supports Republican Assemblyman Robin Vos's proposal to amend the constitution, requiring specific grounds upon which to initiate the recall process — "higher standards," it says, as in, the commission of crimes by elected officials or findings by the Government Accountability Board of ethical violations.
Fine, then, let's accept that for the sake of argument. However, the Government Accountability Board is not responsive to ethical complaints against members of the judiciary which, as we have been observing for the last several years, suits the definition of "elected officials" better even than the elected officials in the political branches of government.
Thus there is no more reason to absorb the Government Accountability Board into the proposed rejiggered recall process than there is to absorb the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, the GAB's corollary for the judicial branch. And as we learned, the statutory framework for the processing of complaints against members of the judiciary proved ineffective in 2010, when the WJC's complaint against a justice of the Supreme Court, Mike Gableman, reached the impasse of an evenly divided tribunal.
The statutes direct the Commission to follow the rules of civil procedure to the best extent possible but at the same time the statutes thwart that goal. It doesn't happen in civil procedure that courts divide on motions for summary judgment (dismissal) because motions for such judgment are brought in trial courts, where a single judge presides.
Recall that, procedurally, the three-judge panel in the Gableman action convened on Gableman's motion for summary judgment. While the panel recommended dismissal, its recommendations are toothless, as they are subject to review by the Supreme Court, which retains the discretion to ignore them completely. And then that court, necessarily Gableman-less and reduced to six members, failed to reach a majority disposition.
Wherefore does the Gableman complaint remain pending to this day.
Which, according to both Robin Vos's and the Journal-Sentinel's own reasoning, presents a classic case for the recall of an elected official in strict conformance with their proposed constitutional amendings.
In other words since the system currently in place failed to get the job done, the remaining recourse is for the people to exercise their right to recall and one expects Vos and the Journal-Sentinel to lead the charge.
Earlier: Robin Vos clears the way for Mike Gableman recall