March 5, 2009

Yet more incoherence from Koschnick

Incoherence would be the charitable reading. Less sympathetic observers might call it a bald lie. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick's political campaign website proudly proclaims:
[Chief Justice Shirley] Abrahamson is the only Justice to vote that Wisconsin’s Sexually Violent Person Commitment Statute [a.k.a. Chapter 980] is unconstitutional.
This is a false statement contradicted by Wisconsin case law, the rough familiarity with which should be expected from any prospective State Supreme Court candidate. At least, one could hope.

While Chief Justice Abrahamson dissented in a pair of 1995 cases dealing with Chapter 980, State v. Post and State v. Carpenter, the court revisited the statute in 2002 after the legislature passed a set of modifications to it in 1999.

Pursuant to that revisitation, a justice (not Abrahamson) wrote:
I respectfully disagree with the majority's conclusion that the present Wis. Stat. ch. 980 is constitutional. After [the court's decisions in Post and Carpenter], the legislature passed several key amendments to ch. 980 that fundamentally altered the purpose of the statute from treatment and protection to punishment. This the legislature cannot constitutionally do.
Which justice authored that unequivocal preamble? William Bablitch, whose recent remarks also appear at the top of Koschnick's campaign website, in prominent italics next to Koschnick's smiling visage, describing Chief Justice Abrahamson as "well out of the mainstream."

As noted previously, former Justice Bablitch was more than frequently in complete dispositional accord with Chief Justice Abrahamson during their concurrent tenure on the Supreme Court.

And of course Judge Koschnick's own alleged justification for that outlandish claim is the fact that the Chief Justice found several constitutional infirmities with Chapter 980.

So here we have Judge Koschnick relying on the opinion of former Justice William Bablitch, who by Koschnick's own measure is every bit as much "well out of the mainstream," in support of the proposition that the Chief Justice is, er, "well out of the mainstream."

Incoherence, obviously, is a less grievous sin than misrepresenting the record of one's political opponent, particularly during a judicial election, as we learned recently courtesy of Michael Gableman.

This writer has already engaged Judge Koschnick's apparently tenuous grasp of the law here and here. For example, Koschnick has claimed — in a fundraising letter, no less — that Wisconsin is the only State in the country to hold as its Supreme Court did in State v. Knapp.

That's also completely false.

Perhaps Randy Koschnick can be forgiven for retaining an inept campaign manager with miserable legal research skills or a webmaster utterly lacking in any sense of comic irony.

Except Judge Koschnick's claims that the Chief Justice is "well out of the mainstream" are the centerpiece of his political campaign. Besides, if that really was true, he shouldn't have to lie about it.

Meanwhile, Koschnick has the gall to accuse the Chief Justice of intellectual dishonesty. And, lest we forget, Judge Koschnick's own so-called "clean campaign pledge" contains an admonition to "substantiate all claims made during the course of the campaign."

Surely Wisconsinites deserve better than this.


Anonymous said...

So Shirley was the only dissenter when the sex predator law was first considered by the Court and one of only two dissenters when the Court ruled on revisions to the law. What's the big deal? The fact remains that Shirley has voted against law enforcement and crime victims at a higher rate than any other past or present member of the Supreme Court.

illusory tenant said...

I suggest you carefully read Justice Bradley's concurring opinion in State v. Rachel. The court came within a hairsbreadth of evenly dividing on the question of Chapter 980's constitutionality.

While you're at it, read State v. Arends, a Court of Appeals decision from last year. Both Bradley's concurrence and Bablitch's dissent in Rachel loom large.

Arends, in turn, guides the trial courts which are dealing directly with these cases.

Koschnick is misleading you, and that's a big deal, coming from a prospective Supreme Court justice.