March 26, 2009

A State civics lesson, with Chas. Sykes

Local medium wave radio harlequin Charlie Sykes demonstrates his expertise in Wisconsin State government with this characteristically irresponsible and idiotic blog post, describing a television ad produced by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson as "absurd."

Sykes, in turn, relies for this penetrating wisdom on a baffling entry at a conservative "think tank" blog, whose author is either completely unaware of or else desperately puzzled by the administrative duties — yes, duties — of the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Chief Justice.

In the ad, Chief Justice Abrahamson portrays herself as dedicated to "helping people," to which the incredulous tank-thinker responds:
Is she serious? The best thing a judge can do is to apply the law as written to certain facts of a case. The judge's role isn’t to "stand up" for anyone.
Fascinating. But according to the Wisconsin constitution:
The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of the judicial system and shall exercise this administrative authority pursuant to procedures adopted by the supreme court.
"Shall be ... shall exercise." That means duties. The aforementioned procedures are quite extensive and intricate and indeed they do include for, believe it or not, "helping people."

To cite just one obvious example, the Chief Justice promulgates rules governing the qualifications of attorneys appointed as guardians ad litem to protect the interests of minors — and, separately, adults — who wind up subject to the judicial system.

If that doesn't count as helping people, then I don't know what does. Both Charlie Sykes and this "think tank" are reportedly taken seriously by a certain segment of Wisconsinites, but they certainly can't be said to be helping anybody with this type of rude gibberish.

Apart from, of course, aficionados of unintentional comedy.

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