August 31, 2011

Gableman just making stuff up now

Incredible, verging on sociopathic:
During a July 5 interview about that incident, Mike Gableman told Dane County Detectives Pete Hansen and Sabrina Sims of an alleged incident between him and Justice Bradley. The event took place during a meeting with the other justices on Sept. 18, 2008, Gableman said, a date he said he remembers because it was his birthday and just weeks after he joined the court.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said that, according to her records, "no meeting, conference or oral argument of the court occurred on September 18, 2008, or on any day that week."
The court held oral arguments on September 9, 10, and 12, 2008.

Much, much more here.

Step up to the plate, Wisconsin Judicial Commission.

Prosser, J., did not participate.

Apparently there's been a flurry of motions in the case of Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Myse, a challenge to a campaign finance disclosure rule propagated by the State Government Accountability Board, which oversees Wisconsin's electoral processes.* This space noted back in April that the petitioners' lead attorney, ubiquitous Republican activist James Troupis, was hired by Justice David Prosser to defend the latter's 0.46% margin of victory over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Four months later, the local press finally took notice, contacted some experts in legal ethics, who unanimously cast Prosser's continued participation in the case in a dim light, and Prosser was forced to issue a public statement and formally request of the parties their views as to whether or not he should disqualify himself from hearing the case (oral arguments are scheduled for next Tuesday, September 6). It appears WEAC, the teachers' union that was granted intervenor status on behalf of the respondent Government Accountability Board, filed a motion requesting Prosser's disqualification, which Mr. Troupis countered.

On August 18 the court ordered all of the parties to respond to a set of ten questions, the tenor and substance of which might incline one to believe there is a strong possibility that this case — which is an original action, meaning the petitioners went straight to the State Supreme Court, bypassing both the trial court and the court of appeals — will be dismissed. Justice Prosser did not participate in that August 18 order.

And yesterday the court granted WEAC's request to respond to Troupis's response on the question of Justice Prosser's recusal. Obviously Prosser did not participate in that order either but another component to yesterday's directive addressed the continuing written arguments pursuant to the August 18 order; that is, the substantive elements of the case as opposed to the ancillary question of Prosser's participation.

So while Justice Prosser has made no announcement** as to whether he'll sit in on Troupis's presentation next Tuesday, he's at least in some sort of holding pattern with respect to taking part in the court's continuing deliberations. And since the parties now have until this Friday at 5:00 p.m. to file their next collection of papers, we probably won't hear anything of Justice Prosser's disqualification until nearly the last minute.

The present action dates back one year, when Justice Prosser and his mutual admirer Mike Gableman issued a temporary injunction against the Government Accountability Board prior to their determining whether the Supreme Court even had any judicial authority at all over the case.

I admit I'm far from the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that's still a bit of a head-scratcher to me, injunctive power without the jurisdiction.

See also: Koch outfit friend of the [Wisconsin Supreme] court

* Gordon Myse is a former member of the Board and in fact weighed in on the recusal controversy, telling the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Patrick Marley, "I think the fact that [Prosser's election] lawyer appeared in a case before him is objectively a conflict in almost anybody's book."

** Contrary to last week's ill-sourced Think Progress assertion. In the spirit of "Know thine enemy," you'd expect TP to have apprehended the fact it was relying on another one of these right-wing "news services" — in this case a Chamber of Commerce front — but it was not to be.

Prosser's conduct: Next steps

One Wisconsin Now is filing an open records request to obtain any written and electronic communications between the four conservative justices, David Prosser, Mike Gableman, Annette Ziegler and Patience Roggensack, and Scott Walker's office, the office of Mike Huebsch, and Scott and Jeff Fitzgeralds' offices.
You can visit the link to chip in a few bucks.

Walker wasn't a named party to the so-called "supervisory/original" action that the Supreme Court heard and decided but Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John admitted — reluctantly — under questioning from the Chief Justice that it was indeed Scott Walker who instigated the petition. Mike Huebsch is Walker's Secretary of Administration who made the notorious estimate of $7.5 million to repair "damage" to the State Capitol building in the wake of demonstrations in February and March.

The actual figure turned out to be just over 100 grand, and even that included for repairs to existing wear and tear from years gone by, some of which was caused by people in wheelchairs. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, brother of Scott, is reportedly running for the U.S. Senate.

At least, that's what the Wausau Daily Herald editorial board said Fitzgerald told them. But then a spokesman for Fitzgerald said it would be against the law for Fitzgerald to say that. Not like the law prevented WISGOP legislative activities in the past, which the four "conservatives" on the Wisconsin Supreme Court said was perfectly fine with them.

August 30, 2011

"The only thing stupid here is Althouse's column."

Bruce Murphy is a little late to the party, but better late than never:
Bill Lueders had three off-the-record sources telling him that Justice Prosser "allegedly grabbed fellow justice by the neck," as the headline of his story noted. And as we now know from Justice Prosser, he had both hands on Justice Bradley’s neck.
Yes, well, try telling that to Mr. Althouse.

Then of course there was this guy too.

August 28, 2011

What exactly set Justice Prosser off

In his own words:
I absolutely have a recollection of [the Chief Justice] saying, 'I may not be done 'til Wednesday.' Now that's the day after the Assembly would have had to vote on this all over again.
Immediately upon hearing that, Justice Prosser tells her, "Chief Justice, I have lost confidence in your ability to lead this court." According to Justice Prosser, his three conservative colleagues, Justices Roggensack, Ziegler, and Gableman, had been getting "very, very antsy" at the prospect of not having their order released in time to save the Assembly Republicans the trouble of voting on the collective bargaining bill again.

For indeed it was the Republican leader in that body, Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald, who publicly warned the court of that ultimatum.

And this, ironically, was a separation of powers case. Separation of powers is a constitutional law doctrine which presumes the independence of the judiciary from the other two political branches of government.

Has any reporter or editorialist mentioned this at all?

The delay, Justice Prosser tells us, came about because over the weekend prior to the altercation in Justice Bradley's office, he had authored a concurring opinion to complement the three other conservatives' unsigned order. Also over that weekend, Chief Justice Abrahamson had written a dissent in counterpoint to the order and was surprised by the appearance of Justice Prosser's concurrence on Monday.

The Chief therefore needed additional time to revise her dissenting opinion to include addressing the issues raised by Prosser that were not present in the order. Justice Prosser claimed Chief Justice Abrahamson shouldn't have been surprised at his concurring opinion because, "The discussion was very clear that there was going to be, that there was at least a possibility, that the majority were going to write more than was in the order, and I'm the natural person to do that. I think anybody with any brains would have known that I was writing an opinion."

Thus even though only "a possibility" existed, "anybody with any brains would have known" he was writing, according to Justice Prosser.

Not exactly the most rigorous logic in establishing that presumption.

Nor particularly charitable where collegiality is ultimately at issue.

August 27, 2011

Huebsch v. Dane County: It could have been worse

A revelation:
There was some internal disagreement among the four people who wanted to [vacate Judge Sumi's decision]. Some of the people thought that the order should say that the bill that was the subject of this order had been published. My view was, 'No, it has not been published.' And in that, the three dissenters agreed with me. — Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser
Which is interesting because it was my understanding that the near-unanimity of informed commentary — including, we now learn, Justice Prosser's — agreed that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 had not been published, in the sense required by both the State constitution and the State statutes. There is no discussion of this question of publication in either the court's unsigned order or Justice Prosser's concurring opinion.

There is this, from Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson's dissent:
¶111 The order and concurrence fail to examine carefully the arguments of the Secretary of State about the respective roles of the Secretary of State and the Legislative Reference Bureau in the publication of legislative acts, the printing of notice in the official state newspaper, and the effective date of a statute. See Wis. Stat. §§ 14.38(10), 35.095(3)(b), 991.11.
Indeed, between the two cases that the Huebsch majority claimed were supposed to have controlled Judge Sumi's deliberations — as opposed to their being controlled by, you know, the plain text of the Open Meetings Law — one, Goodland v. Zimmerman, was about an unpublished bill, and the other, La Follette v. Stitt, was about a published bill. Nevertheless, wrote Justice Prosser, "In my view, this case is governed by Stitt."* On the other hand, the court's unsigned order relied primarily on Goodland.

That's exactly the opposite of what an observer might expect, in terms of judicial precedent relied upon being "on point," as they say in the biz.

All of which, it seems to me, serves to support the dissenters' position that the case merited either further argument or at least further explication by the four conservative justices who made up the court's majority. I would like to have seen the reasoning of "some of the people" who thought 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 was published and not just printed. Because that would have taken some serious contortions beyond what the court did perform, which was to manufacture a unique form of judicial branch authority not bestowed by the State constitution.

And, while Justice Prosser claims that Assembly Leader Jeff Fitzgerald's public exhortation to the court to produce a decision in keeping with the Republican-controlled legislature's deadline was "separate" from the court's internal timetable, he sure got pretty excited when he learned that the WISGOP's requirements were in danger of not being satisfied.

One thing's for certain, this is an extremely politicized court.

* Then-Republican legislator David Prosser filed an amicus brief in Stitt.

A new low for the already troubled court

"Big business and conservative extremists just bought an emotionally unstable man a seat on the bench where he'll decide the most important issues affecting the state for the next 10 years." — X Beyond X

Trollicane Meade makes blogfall

Newsflash: Bill Lueders got tooled. And illusory tenant is - allegedly - his willing bitch.
What an internets honor.

Yet Lueders was vindicated and his detractors look the fools.

(And I am hardly Bill Lueders's bitch, for the record.)

August 26, 2011

Mike Gableman's eyewitness testimony

"[Gableman] described Bradley as being a little bit taller than Prosser and compared Bradley's stance with Prosser to a famous photo of then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson leaning over a shorted [sic], cowed senator. According to the records, however, Prosser is 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. Bradley is 5-feet-3-inches and weighs 131 pounds."

Witness credibility issues?

Gableman also claimed that Prosser never came in contact with Bradley's neck despite Prosser's admission that he had both hands on Bradley's neck and "felt its heat." Despite this, Gableman could confidently tell Justice Bradley, "You were not choked." Why should we believe him?

Mike Gableman has lied before. Just ask the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, whose investigation into this altercation is ongoing, despite Justice Prosser's 48-point bold triumphalist WISGOP press release.

What a mess.

Ron Johnson to "lecture" on the Constitution

Those poor kids.

Perhaps he'll explain his executive branch powers.
Constitution Day, recognized nationally on Sept. 17, commemorates the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 and encourages students to become informed citizens.
Actually it was ratified in June, 1788. It was signed in 1787.

Justice Prosser "going off on a tirade"

"I remember feeling her neck." — Wis. S. Ct. Justice David Prosser

The Wisconsin State Journal has just obtained 70 pages of the Dane County Sheriff's Office's investigation into the Supreme Court's June 13, 2011 altercation: Deputy Report for Incident 110176237 (.pdf).
"Justice Prosser said the speaker of the assembly, Jeff Fitzgerald, put the court in an awkward position by saying they needed to have a decision by June 14, 2011; otherwise [the assembly] would have to vote all over again." — Interview with Prosser, page 37.
That's money. Remember, this was a separation of powers case. This court is not beholden to Jeff Fitzgerald in any way, shape, or form. If Justice Prosser felt pressured to release the court's order according to Fitzgerald's timetable — and the conservative members of the court had convened in Justice Bradley's office for the very purpose of expediting the Chief Justice's attached dissent — then that's pretty inappropriate.

And it's at least as significant as the altercation itself. Despite his denials of his Waukesha County press agent's December, 2010 promise to "complement" the Scott Walker/WISGOP agenda, it sounds as if this is exactly what Justice Prosser and his conservative colleagues were doing.

Now let's see if the local press picks up on that.

Also: Mike Gableman's eyewitness testimony.

Ron Johnson on the Constitution, again

"The number one priority of federal government really is the national defense, protecting our system, our economic system."
Nice to see the arch-conservative Tea Party Senator from Wisconsin invoking the priority of the General Welfare Clause. But in fact the Constitution has nothing to say about any "economic system" at all.

h/t Robin Marohn (watch the entire clip).

Ron Johnson also thinks he has the power to nominate federal judges.

August 25, 2011

Justice Prosser has two press agents

Really, this 48-point bold triumphalism is so very tacky.

And again, why does a sitting Supreme Court justice have two Republican Party spokespersons, one his campaign manager?

Non-partisan office my foot.

August 24, 2011

Scott Walker's fake David Koch revisited

From a friend of the court. Nowadays Gov. Walker is attempting to play the kissy-face compromiser with the legislators in question.

In late February, 2011, a prank phone call to Wisconsin's governor demonstrated the value of so-called "independent expenditures." After Democratic Senators opposed to Governor Scott Walker's "budget repair bill" complained that the governor is "just hard-lined — will not talk, will not communicate, will not return phone calls," Walker accepted a call he believed was from New York billionaire David Koch, a prominent contributor to conservative organizations and causes (including plaintiffs in this case, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin Prosperity Network), and whose PAC contributed $43,000 to Walker's campaign. Koch also gave $1 million to the Republican Governor’s Association, which subsequently spent $5 million in support of Walker’s campaign. The caller was actually a blogger who recorded the conversation.

While it may be unsettling that Walker accepted a phone call from an out-of-state "issue advocacy" funder while refusing to speak with his own state's elected representatives, the Citizens United majority acknowledged "[t]hat speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt." However, Governor Walker’s request for support in the form of independent expenditures was particularly revealing. In response to the phony "David Koch" asking "what else could we do for you down there?" Walker replied:
"Well the biggest thing would be-and your guy on the ground [Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips] . . . per your question [], the more groups that are encouraging people not just to show up but to call lawmakers and tell them to hang firm with the governor, the better. Because the more they get that reassurance, the easier it is for them to vote yes."
This is a clear appeal to "David Koch" that the groups he funds (including Americans for Prosperity) make "independent expenditures" for "issue ads" or robo-calls requesting citizens call their legislator. The governor clearly recognized that independent expenditures sway public opinion and are valuable to an elected official. Indeed, Governor Walker appeared to believe that "issue ads" are so powerful that it is more important to speak with a man who could make significant independent expenditures favoring his budget bill than to converse with legislators who disagreed with him, but could allow his proposed legislation to proceed to a vote.

August 23, 2011

'OML convenient to my rhetorical purposes today.'

The [Greenfield public school] board felt it could not change the location because of requirements of the open meetings law which, of course, requires notice of a meeting's location.
True. "Every public notice of a meeting of a governmental body shall set forth the time, date, place and subject matter of the meeting." Now please have a look to the two words at the immediate left of "place."

As a matter of law, each item in that list of requirements is equally as compelling. And, as the Open Meetings Law goes on to admonish:

"[S]horter notice [than 24 hours] may be given, but in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of the meeting."

Meet Marquette Prof. Rick Esenberg, your picker of the legal cherries.

Speaking of which, check out this blog post of Esenberg's, where he begins quoting the Wisconsin election bribery statute halfway through it:
The statute prohibits providing a thing of value "to, or for, any elector, or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector to ... [g]o to or refrain from going to the polls."
Which, again, is true. The statute does prohibit the said providing. However, the statute in its entirety prohibits more than just providing:
[Any person who] [o]ffers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend, or endeavors to procure, anything of value, or any office or employment or any privilege or immunity to, or for, any elector, or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector ...
Esenberg simply ignores all the rest, which I guess you can get away with in a Blogspot post, but he sure wouldn't get away with it anywhere else.

Here's a link to the statute, which Esenberg doesn't, er, provide, either.

If any of the complaints lodged against various entities alleging various electioneering shenanigans have any merit, it's the one lodged against Wisconsin Right to Life and its $75 voucher cards, the same complaint Prof. Esenberg was busily spinning in a deliberately misleading fashion.

Because what's at issue is the offering and the promising.

Meanwhile our local daily newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, continues to "provide" Prof. Esenberg as a disinterested academic.

Get real.

WISGOP failed, despite Steve Walters's best efforts

It says here:
The Republican Party of Wisconsin will tell you that the staff was young and had never run such a campaign before. They are right.
But Steve Walters made Kim Simac look perfectly sane.

See, you got to let the old hands do the job.

h/t Robert Mentzer.

Remember "Climategate"?

Unsurprisingly, pure bullshit.

You think the local conservatives who climbed all over that ridiculous bandwagon will acknowledge their empty results? Yeah me neither.

Fallone on popular sovereignty and federalism

Excellent essay here.

And a reminder that governments don't have rights; people have rights. Governments have powers but only those given to them by the people, which they may expand or retract from time to time. One of those rights — in Wisconsin, at least — is the right to recall elected officials. Nine such elections took place this summer. Democrats won five of them while Republicans won four.* In their wake, one Republican, Robin Vos, is spearheading an attempt to restrict the right of recall. As I mentioned earlier, this is purely a move by Republican politicians to abridge the rights of the people, and nobody should let them get away with it.

Another right Wisconsinites possess is the right to vote. The Wisconsin constitution says that the legislature may enact laws "[d]efining residency." Recently the Republicans in power enacted a law requiring photo identification. What's your picture got to do with residency?

We'll find out soon enough.

* A less mentioned aspect of this summer's political jamboree is that Republicans filed formal notice of recall against seven other Democratic incumbents, and failed to collect the required number of signatures in every instance. Yet the Republicans keep telling us they are "winning."

August 22, 2011

Says the most conservative judge in Wisconsin

"[W]hen a citizen votes in a judicial election, he or she exercises a right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution." — Wis. S. Ct. Justice Patience Roggensack
Just a little something to bear in mind "going forward," as they say.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quote of the day

All I know is what I read in the papers. — Will Rogers
The federal Constitution does not have right-to-vote provisions.
Also, Justice Roggensack begs to differ (in the Journal-Sentinel).
It is beyond cavil that "voting is of the most fundamental significance under our constitutional structure."
Whatever/wherever cavil is.

August 21, 2011

Fitzvanwalkerstan comment of the week

Let me get this straight — I work as an attorney for the State and earn less than $25.00 an hour. Walker hires his attorney buddies from the Republican Party at a rate almost 16 TIMES more per hour than I and many other State attorneys make and he calls us "haves?" Let's see ... $25 an hour versus $395 an hour. Why aren't the taxpayers crying foul over their tax dollars now? I guess all you Walker supporters think it is better value for your tax dollars to pay attorneys to clean up Walker's mess rather than to prosecute crimes or defend the poor. — PursuitOfJustice

Republicans running Wisconsin just like a business

Never mind the "no-bid," here's the "blank check":
[James Troupis's $26,955] contract was not drafted or signed until after the work had been performed, State records show.

N.B. An attentive reader reminds us that a former conservative colleague of Justice David Prosser's on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Jon P. Wilcox, is of counsel at James Troupis's law firm. Justices Wilcox and Prosser were enthusiastic supporters of the risk contribution theory much excoriated by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, even though WMC strangely never mentioned that the two justices were so inclined.

WMC carefully avoided quoting those portions of Justice Wilcox's dissent.

That's straight-up dishonesty, but it's what we've come to expect.

August 20, 2011

An astounding disregard for legal ethics

Few places where spectacle is more shameful than Wisconsin

It's sad, really.
... shortly before the court upheld the new state law eliminating most collective-bargaining rights for public employees.
The court didn't uphold any new State law so much as consecrate the illegal activities of Wisconsin Republicans in the State legislature.
The rule [for judicial recusal] was largely written by a business group that has spent lavishly in judicial campaigns.
Try entirely written and then adopted verbatim (two times).

Recusal: The black hole of judicial ethics

Pennsylvania is a very chummy state, especially where politics and the legal community are concerned. Judges are where those two intersect. Given that, it's only natural that lawyers and parties with close ties to a particular judge may come before him or her. The common sense thing to do when a friend or close political ally appears before you is to recuse yourself, right? . . . What judges fail to understand, time and again, is that it is not a question of whether a judge's actions are bad. It's whether they appear bad and potentially undermine the public's confidence in the courts.

August 19, 2011

The day in conservative Republicans

"Christine O'Donnell is a buffoon." — Brent Bozell
"Rick Perry is an idiot." — Bruce Bartlett

Well alrighty then.

Progbum's FriTunes

h/t Folkbum.

At least he didn't read them The Bell Curve

Ron Johnson reads to local kidsCapital Times

Money quote:
Turns out many of those listening to [U.S. Senator Ron] Johnson were not actual patients at Access, but children of staffers' friends who had responded to an appeal for live bodies for what in politics is called a "media opp" or media opportunity.
Ron Johnson, who ran against "career politicians," just happened to be in Madison to raise money for the Dane County Young Republicans — a real class act — and to kibbutz with the shrillest of radio screamers.

August 18, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans may hate trains

But they sure do love their free rail sidings:
Walker announced Thursday afternoon that the State would award Waukesha-based Weldall Manufacturing a $650,000 grant through the State Department of Transportation to help cover half the cost of extending a rail line to its facility.
You know who else loved free rail sidings? Ron Johnson is who.

Ron Johnson never complained about his free gummint rail spur.

Prosser to Simac: Will Prosser hear Simac case?

It says here.
"In sum, when all the facts are examined, I do not have a favorite 'horse in this race,'" Justice Prosser wrote.
How can he say that, because all of the facts are yet to be examined.

Indeed the court today issued an order requesting the parties to produce memoranda addressing ten separate questions, each of which is loaded up with factual determinations. Justice Prosser did not participate in that order, which may be an indication that he won't be present when the court hears oral arguments after lunch on Tuesday, September 6.*
Previously, an aide to Prosser had said the justice would remain on the case.
That would be Brian Nemoir,** Prosser's "campaign director." Why in the world does a sitting Supreme Court justice have a campaign director?

Back in the day, the judiciary was distinguished from the other two "political branches" of government. That is no longer the case, evidently.

Anyway why are they just getting around to dealing with this now? Was I the only one who noticed these cozy relationships four months ago?

That can't be possible. Great idea, this electing the Supreme Court.

Maybe it was in Andrew Jackson's time.

* Or what is more likely, the court dismisses this case altogether.

** For it was he.

Scott Fitzgerald, he's working for all Wisconsin

Hey Jon Bruning, Big Fitz swallowed your truth serum:
On or about March 9, 2011, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), publicly stated that the changes to the collective bargaining law were about eliminating unions so that "the money is not there" for the labor movement and to make it "much more difficult" for President Obama to win reelection in Wisconsin. — Madison Teachers v. Scott Walker, Compl. at ¶ 23.
There you have it, folks. Scott Fitzgerald sold you down the river.

It's a theory that's out there

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas:
I hear your mom was asking about evolution and, you know, it's a theory that's out there. It's got some gaps in it, but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools.
That would be unlawful, because creationism is religion.

Worse, Perry doesn't know what is taught in his own State's schools.

Unemployment continues to rise under Walker

From 7.4% when Governor Scott Walker took office to 7.8% today.

Tort reform must not be working.

eta: WMC blames summer elections.

Wisconsin Reporter occasionally good for a laugh

I missed this at the time, but it just popped up in a Google search for something else. This is from the Wisconsin Reporter, a collection of conservative Republican hacks pretending to be a "news service":
Obviously nobody violated state open meetings law in passing the collective bargaining bill ...
Interesting, because those alleged to have violated the State open meetings law admitted to it on the record, in court. And not only did they admit to violating the explicit letter of the statutes, they admitted the intent of the Wisconsin constitution's directive to the legislature to provide minimum public access to its affairs governed any picayune objections derived from medieval foreign common law relics. "Correct, absolutely correct," they confirmed in response to the presiding judge's view that the State constitution embodies "a vastly external expectation — [a] right — that people have under the Open Meetings Law."

Continues the Wisconsin "Reporter":
... and even if they did, the judge had no power to delay it.
Which is funny because you know what?

Not enjoining the bill would have been a wholesale betrayal of the State statutes. Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law explicitly grants the courts injunctive power pursuant to alleged violations of the Open Meetings Law but the injunctive power is not to be exercised unless the party who requests the injunction can show a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of his case, which in this instance was that same allegation that legislative Republicans had violated the Open Meetings Law.

And in this instance it didn't as much matter whether the requesting party — the Dane County District Attorney — had affirmatively demonstrated its likelihood of succeeding because the legislative Republicans, by and through their Department of Justice counsel, themselves affirmed the District Attorney's meritoriousness in court.

And rather unequivocally — "Absolutely correct" — at that.
[Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann] Sumi ... [said] legislative Republicans violated opening meetings law.
Yes, because those legislative Republicans admitted it in her court.

What on Earth is so difficult to understand about this?

Ron Johnson is complaining about something again

Oshkosh plastics millionaire Ron Johnson, this "sorry excuse for a senator," has called "to ensure that all meetings of the supercommittee are noticed to the public, that the public be allowed to attend meetings, and that the meetings be broadcast live." That's the same Ron Johnson who was outraged that Russ Feingold might engage in foreign policy debate, in public, in Congress, as if then-Senator Feingold would PowerPoint troop movements, like Johnson's Fox News chum Geraldo.

The polystyrene mogul vowed to conduct such communications only in private with the President, some of whose constitutional powers, incidentally, Ron Johnson actually believes he lawfully possesses.

Johnson, who earned the nickname "Sunspots" after lecturing Wisconsinites on Northern European geology of the Mesozoic Era, was reportedly both shocked and appalled to learn that topics in U.S. foreign policy were being discussed on the Senate floor by federal lawmakers.

In particular, Feingold's practical and philosophical objections to the American military presence in Afghanistan which, last I checked, was an item of some concern to a large number of citizens and a matter of national security, which conservatives of Johnson's far-right ilk will otherwise tell you is the main reason* Congress exists in the first place.

One of the more prominent items on the super committee's agenda is defense spending, which stands to sustain a half a trillion dollars worth of cuts. So obviously there is to be considerable discussion, especially by those who oppose slashing the military's budget, of specific allocations and projects, which in turn reveal glimpses on the Pentagon's global strategy. Yet Johnson would have us believe that such public revelations would be of less interest to overseas adversaries than Russ Feingold's entering a New York Times editorial into the Congressional Record.

Ron Johnson doesn't really think things through very far, does he.

* If not the sole reason.

August 17, 2011

Recall Gableman

Argues the Shepherd Express.

Can't say as it's the worst idea anybody ever had.

Meanwhile, Gableman's millionaire patrons call out for reform.

See infra Robin Vos clears the way for Mike Gableman recall

WMC sure wouldn't want to lose that investment.

Quote of the day, right-wing blargher edition

Recall elections are "a stinging defeat for the Democrats and unions not only in Wisconsin, but across the nation," sez Wis-blargher O. Robinson.

There were nine recall elections. Democrats won five of them. Republicans failed at unseating all three Democrats they challenged, and Democrats succeeded at unseating two Republicans. That's a defeat?
The recall election results have all but destroyed any chance of a successful recall effort against Scott Walker next year. ... It's clear the air has come out of the Democratic tires in Wisconsin.
Just keep telling yourself that, I guess. I hear they're mighty fired up.

Quote of the day, PPP-undermining edition

Reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
A comfortable win for Holperin, though not quite the 14% margin one poll from Public Policy Polling was predicting Monday.
PPP wasn't predicting any 14% margin. It had the incumbent Democrat Jim Holperin at 55%, the WISGOP challenger Kim Simac at 41%, and undecideds at 4%. Jim Holperin in fact got 55% and according to PPP's numbers, the undecideds went to Kim Simac. You can't undermine PPP simply because some poll respondents claimed to have not made up their minds by the weekend. IOW, PPP called Senate District 12 on the nose.

August 16, 2011

Quote of the day, self-deluding edition

"Republicans were victorious."Chairman Reince

Priebus on teh web.

According to @BrewCityBrawler, who monitors these things, Charlie Sykes threw Kim Simac under the bus but moments after polls closed.

Wisconsin: PPP-DKos FTW

There ya go:


Wirch (D): 55
Steitz (R): 42
Undecided: 3
MoE: ±2.9%

Holperin (D): 55
Simac (R): 41
Undecided: 4
MoE: ±2.6%


Wirch (D): 57
Steitz (R): 43

Holperin (D): 55
Simac (R): 45

Nine for nine to PPP-DKos. Not too shabby.

Obama acknowledges the inevitable

Reuters reports that the President has acknowledged what for many others has appeared inevitable for more than a year-and-a-half:
"If the Supreme Court follows existing precedent, existing law, [the PPACA individual insurance mandate] should be upheld without a problem," Obama said in Minnesota during a town hall discussion. "If the Supreme Court does not follow existing law and precedent, then we'll have to manage that when it happens."
Hopefully "managing that" will not include accusing the Supreme Court of not following existing law and precedent, as those accusations would be wildly incorrect. In any case the Supreme Court is not bound to follow existing law or precedent, the former if it's unconstitutional and the latter because it just doesn't have to. What it is bound to follow is the text of the Constitution, where Obama apparently believes "regulat[ing] commerce ... among the several States" means regulating the behavior of individual citizens who aren't even participating in the commerce.*

The mandate is good policy and makes perfect economic and rational sense. Unfortunately it's bad law and exceeds Congress's regulatory authority. Not to mention violating a first principle of American constitutional government: that the federal legislative department is designed with cognizable limits. It was a big mistake to rely on the Interstate Commerce Clause to justify this policy. But somehow somebody or other decided this was a gamble with decent odds.

The scenario unfolding toward the conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court's next term in late June, 2012 — which more and more people are beginning to perceive, including even some liberals — presents Obama's worst nightmare, of which he has owned the majority share of credit:
Obama has championed the individual mandate as a major accomplishment of his presidency.
He might want to stop doing that if he hasn't already.

Meanwhile, liberal denial remains firmly entrenched:
Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor, predicted Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy both would likely end up voting to uphold the individual insurance mandate.
And he's got to be hallucinating.

* All it takes is "mental activity," according to this court.

Poll: Wisconsin Democrats safe as milk

Double-digit leads in today's final two races, reports David Nir.

Commenter Mike points out that Public Policy Polling, cited for the double-digit leads above, has compiled an impressive scorecard in predicting the first seven of this summer's nine State Senate recall elections. The Republicans are running a Chicago corporate attorney who presumably and for whatever reason must be seeking about a 75% pay cut and is reportedly being investigated for providing domicile to a non-compliant sex offender from Minnesota,* and a far-right paranoid and author of a firearms manual for three-year-olds. Nevertheless, local wing-nut Steve Prestegard calls these two characters "obvious choices."

For all the same reasons why they're obviously very poor choices.

* See out-of-State agitators.

August 15, 2011

O ye foul Heretic! No deviation shall be tolerated.

Two religion professors at Calvin College had written scholarly papers suggesting that evidence of genetics and evolution raised questions about the traditional, literal reading of Genesis . . .
Yes this really is taking place in the 21st century.

Koch outfit friend of the [Wisconsin Supreme] court

"This relationship is one of those thumbs on the scale." "Prosser should step aside now." "It's a bad idea to stay on the case."
Herewith a "friend of the court" brief filed by the Institute for Justice, Minnesota chapter (a.k.a. "out-of-State agitators"), in the case of Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Gordon Myse, a challenge to a State of Wisconsin campaign financing rule. The Institute for Justice was "initially funded" by the Bros. Koch and is sustained by 2.4 millions of dollars in Milwaukee's own Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation generosity.

Wisconsin Prosperity Network is one of ten petitioners to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which ten also includes such local right-wing luminaries as Republican candidate for Senate Kim Simac, the shouting Tea Party preacher "Apostle" David King, the Koch Bros. front group Americans For Prosperity, and the MacGyver Institute, which maintains what it calls — in what just has to be an ironic, postmodern jape — a "news service."

All are represented by oft-celebrated WISGOP counsel, James Troupis, along with our friend Rick Esenberg, known to profess the law — and lay effusive bouquets on the Bradley Foundation — at Marquette University.

Which is all fine and dandy, I'm sure, quite apart from the fact Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, to whose considered deliberation the petition now falls, retained one James Troupis to preserve Justice Prosser's bid to maintain his position among the "conservative" majority of that court, for the next ten years, and for which Mr. Troupis did zealously advocate (and did promptly bill a cool seventy-five thousand).

Notwithstanding its dubious provenance, is the Koch/Bradley amicus brief meritorious? Perhaps. The First Amendment is — and should be — an imposing barrier to restrictions on political speech. After all, it was none other than Justice Prosser who ruled that a State Supreme Court may not oblige its members, through a reasonable code of ethical judicial conduct, to refrain from slandering their colleagues without offending the First Amendment (a ruling that offends the intelligence).

Nevertheless it's worth noting that one of Justice Prosser's colleagues, Mike Gableman — for it was his unethical shenanigans to which the aforementioned ruling was designed to protect* — publicly interrogated a Wisconsin attorney for her alleged ties to the Open Society Institute, which for present purposes might be seen as a "liberal" corollary to the Koch/Bradley consortium. We thank Justice Gableman for providing the illumination upon his vague paranoias, but we don't expect any similar grilling of the petitioners' counsel during oral argument Setpember 6.

Another unique feature of this case dates to last August, when Justices Prosser and Gableman literally rewrote the Wisconsin constitution.

They did so to articulate a power of theirs which they had just divined, the power to prevent the two other equal branches of government from operating. This they did before even deciding whether the petitioners — or "Apostles," in at least one instance — had even bare standing to sue.

Whereas Article VII of the Wisconsin constitution empowers the Supreme Court to "issue all [injunctions] necessary in aid of its jurisdiction," the two self-advertised conservatives inserted language to the effect of "necessary in aid of deciding whether or not we have its jurisdiction."

More detail here and here.

There's a pretty decent argument to be made that Prosser/Gableman were way out of line, in terms of what "in aid of its jurisdiction" means in the Wisconsin constitution. It contemplates a jurisdiction that has been taken, a case that has been accepted in compliance with the judiciary's enumerated powers of jurisdiction. It doesn't contemplate empowering the court to slap injunctions on the executive branch prior to making any other judicial determinations at all, including whether or not the court itself has jurisdiction over the action in the first place.

If you haven't the jurisdiction, then how can you issue the injunction?

And it wasn't the last time the duo fabricated a novel judicial power.

I have no idea what's so "conservative" about either of them, frankly.

Except that they're "pro-life," or something.

* Here's a short film of Gableman, J. returning the favor, featuring Gableman denouncing, inter alia, "out-of-State influences." Seriously. Special disapprobation is reserved for Jesse Jackson, for some reason.

The best WPRI story of all times

From the archives:

Its thinking tanked, sez 7th Circuit panel

Note Reagan-appointed judges Posner, Ripple, and Kanne:
Although the authors of the WPRI Report argue that "[m]ost of the empirical research done on retail gasoline markets suggests that the primary problem in the market is not predatory pricing, but rather a propensity towards price collusion," there is no evidence in the WPRI Report of any actual collusion in the Wisconsin motor vehicle fuel market.
Conclude all three:
The lack of evidence in the record supporting Flying J’s allegations of collusive conduct by gasoline dealers is fatal to its claim that the motor vehicle fuel provisions of the Act are preempted by the Sherman Act.
On teh web: WPRI.

Kim Simac: An extreme Republican generating fear

I found her knowledge of economics, taxation, health care, education and governance to be incomplete and often inaccurate.
Kim Simac a conversational narcissist, sez Northwoods libertarian

Funny thing is, none of that will detract Republican voters tomorrow.

In fact, it will likely make her an even more attractive choice.

August 13, 2011

Justice Prosser will hear his own attorney's case

Who happens to be — you guessed it —James Troupis:
"This relationship is one of those thumbs on the scale." "Prosser should step aside now." "It's a bad idea to stay on the case."
Say three different legal ethicists.

This space pointed to the Prosser/Troupis connection four months ago.

The parties and attorneys are like a rogues' gallery of WISGOP swells.*

Looks good, huh?

* Plus a few out-of-State agitators.

In concert: Kim Simac and the Tea Party Express

Not a music post I'm afraid, but this is of interest.

Especially because Abe Sauer is saying this.

No, corporations are not people

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the corporations to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. — The Second Mitt Romneyment
Even Ezra Klein was duped by Mitt Romney.

For some limited purposes, corporations are "persons," according to the federal courts, but corporations are not people. Outside of legal jargon it may sound the same but it can't be the same because the U.S. Constitution refers to both "persons" and to "people" in different places throughout the document. Unless, of course, you're really, really cynical:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the Corporations of the several States ...

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the corporations.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the corporations.*

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the corporations thereof ...
Well okay, maybe not cynical, just realistic.

* This, by the way (the Tenth Amendment), is the easiest defense to ill-formed comparisons between "Obamacare" and "Romneycare."

Just because Congress can't force the PPACA's individual insurance mandate that doesn't mean Massachusetts can't. But when even Chris Wallace, the Fox "News" Network's top "newsman" doesn't understand federalism, the fundamental American constitutional principle, I wouldn't expect the "Obamneycare" comparisons to melt away any time soon.

Sex offender splits from WISGOP candidate's home

"I had no way of knowing."
WISGOP candidate Jonathan Steitz said he could not have known his tenant had a record as a sex offender because the man was a minor when the offense occurred and the records are sealed.
That may be the case in Wisconsin, but in Minnesota if the offender was 16 and if the offense was felony-grade, then the court's records are available for public inspection. Mr. Steitz, who is an attorney, shouldn't just assume that court records laws are equivalent from State to State.
I thought it was kind of a joke but then I heard about it on WisEye and asked about it and he's well known for going to fish fries and things like that. — WISGOP candidate Jonathan Steitz
Hello? In Wisconsin, that's like mocking the guy for being a Packers fan.

Or loving his mom and her apple pie.

Also: WI Senate = Massive pay cut?

So that's what a marriage amendment is

Republican State lawmaker Phillip Hinkle, who is married, voted this year in favor of a State constitutional amendment defining marriage as being only between one man and one woman.
With a little paid m4m action on the side.

August 12, 2011

Progbum's FriTunes

h/t Folkbum.

Robin Vos clears the way for Mike Gableman recall

Robin Vos, a Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly, wants to amend the State constitution so that politicians* may only be recalled from office for specific offenses. Evidently he's upset because Democrats just picked off two of his Republican counterparts in the State Senate. We haven't seen Vos's proposed constitutional language yet, but according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, one of Robin Vos's bases for recall would be "if they are found guilty of an ethics violation." What could that mean?

The judicial branch of government already has its own process for disciplining its members for ethics violations. Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler, for example, was "found guilty of an ethics violation" and publicly reprimanded in 2008. So according to Robin Vos's reported contemplations, Justice Ziegler would be subject to recall in addition to the public reprimand, which is arguably a species of double jeopardy.

On the other hand, Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman was "found guilty of an ethics violation" by a three-judge panel in 2009, but ultimately was not reprimanded. So Vos is paving the way for his recall?

The Wisconsin constitution provides for the right of the people to recall their elected officials after those officials have served a year in office. Furthermore the Wisconsin constitution specifically provides that "no law shall be enacted to hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall."

Yet that is exactly what Robin Vos wants to do, "hamper, restrict [and] impair" a constitutional right of the people. Which come to think of it is perfectly in consonance with the FitzVanWalker regime's general agenda.

Anyway it's unlikely anything will come of Rep. Vos's petulance.

Why would the people vote to restrict their own rights? That's irrational.** Vos may be irrational, but presumably the people aren't.

* In Wisconsin, the justices of the Supreme Court are very decidedly politicians. In fact recent history has demonstrated that some of the justices are even more politician than are the traditional politicians.

** In the Lockean, "rational actors" sense. The people may be otherwise irrational in different contexts (see, e.g. the election of Robin Vos).

August 11, 2011

Terence Evans's last published opinion

Georgia-Pacific v. Kimberly-Clark

Clear, clever, and droll. Judge Evans passed away suddenly last night.

Condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Wisconsin: Let's be honest here

Kim Simac is a fairly presentable candidate. Steve Walters doesn't engage Simac on any of her wackier views but this interview shows her as a credible GOP candidate who's got the schtick down pretty good.

August 10, 2011

Correlation not causation

Pope Benedict XVI spoke to International Space Station astronauts, who filled the spacecraft Johannes Kepler with garbage and urine and sent it falling earthward.
Harper's "Findings," August 2011.

Congratulations, Wisconsin Governor Dale Schultz

And welcome to the Dark Side?
Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz said this week he was "decoyed" on Feb. 17 by Gov. Scott Walker into missing a key chance on the Senate floor to put in play a compromise on Walker's plan to eliminate most union bargaining for public employees. — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 08.04.11
The lone Republican critic of Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill issued his most blistering words yet, accusing his colleagues of "classic overreach." — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 03.03.11
While Democrats and their supporters failed last night in their bid to flip the Wisconsin Senate to their favor (it stood at R-19 to D-14 yesterday; this morning it's R-17 to D-16), there remains Dale Schultz, who was not exactly enamored with his party's collective bargaining rights policy. That policy was revealed in February, after Republicans took control of both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion on the heels of a political campaign that studiously avoided mentioning any plans to do so.

This morning conservatives are claiming vindication — and they have some reason to: the results last night are fairly convincing,* albeit they lost two Senators in defense of and on their very own turf — but if we retrofit the present composition of the Senate to the circumstances in February, things would have played out quite differently than they did.

There's apparently much contention among the left over what the issues driving — present tense: there are two more of them next Tuesday — these recall elections are. While it's true that the left bears a panoply of grievances against the Walker regime it cannot be denied that what birthed that conflagration was specifically the regime's objective of disempowering public employees of their rights to collective bargaining.

At least, it shouldn't be forgotten, as the distinction between demanding specific wage and benefits concessions from workers — which the Walker regime did separately and to which the public employees' unions conceded without struggle — and the right simply to participate in the process in a mutually equitable manner is a substantial distinction.**

Sen. Schultz by his appearances perceives that distinction and while it may be an irrelevant intellectual exercise to retroject August into March, among the myriad takes on yesterday's results everybody with a account is bound to pronounce, it's worth contemplating.

Divining voter intent en masse is the dodgiest of "science" in political science because individual voters are ultimately uncomparable, driven as they are by the disparate personal experiences that necessarily color their perceptions of policy issues and the interplay among those issues' relative importance to them with partisan affiliation — or lack thereof — which in turn may be either confined by or independent of this country's unique two-party system. Which is an admittedly unwieldy way of saying that two diametrically opposed conclusions may be just as equally valid.

So if it is the case that Wisconsin electors prefer their government with at least some marginally substantive Democratic representation as compared to wholesale control by Republicans — which last night's results might well legitimately indicate, as voters just replaced one-third of the Republican incumbents presented to them, kept on one Democrat two weeks ago, and will most likely affirm the incumbency of two more Democrats next Tuesday — then it's not a total fantasy to imagine how things would have played out in the spring were there to be some quantitative resistance to Scott Walker's union-busting "bomb drop."

Especially considering the fact that those electors were kept unaware of Walker's specific plans when they (marginally) awarded him his office last November. Nevertheless and in any event, Sen. Dale Schultz (R-17th) is probably the most powerful politician in all Wisconsin today.

* The vote totals of all six of last yesterday's elections give the WISGOP a six-point margin, 53% to 47%, but all six were Republican seats going in. Those who mock any continued efforts to recall Walker himself shouldn't take too much solace from those figures, however, because obviously they're to be expected from (formerly) exclusively GOP strongholds, allowing for the consideration of which they're not impressive at all.

** And yes I'm aware of the differences between employers whose revenues are raised from the public and those whose are derived from sales in the private sector. I'm approaching the controversy from a philosophical position where rights exist in the abstract and in this case, are not colored by how the employer fills its coffers. You can challenge that premise or assumption and I understand it's a legitimate challenge.

August 9, 2011

Alberta Darling is the second most vulnerable

That's what Craig Gilbert's numbers show.

Arrest these six Wisconsin Republicans today

1. arrest v. — seize someone and take them into custody
2. arrest v. — stop or delay progress or a process
On March 3, 2011, these six Wisconsin State Senators, Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Randy Hopper, and Dan Kapanke, endorsed a resolution by their legislative leader, Scott Fitzgerald, to issue arrest warrants, in the sense of definition 1. above, for 14 of their political rivals. They did so on the flimsiest of alleged legal bases, and in fact on legal bases manufactured from the deliberate misreading of an adverse decision issued by an Oconto County court.

And amazingly, they did this not in the Soviet Union but in America.

Today, many Wisconsin voters have the opportunity to arrest the six named Republican Senators, not according to the lawless means by which those Senators acted, but in the sense of definition 2. above, to impede the progress of a radical Republican agenda in which all three branches of State government — including the highest court — are complicit.

Also in March, Republican legislators broke the law — and admitted they broke the law — by convening a twilight gathering in clear violation of the State's open meetings statutes, which give effect to the Wisconsin constitution's guarantee of public access to government proceedings.

On June 14, in perhaps the most radical act of the current regime, the State Supreme Court, by a bare majority of Republican judges and in an unsigned, unexplained order, invented a novel form of judicial authority through which they blessed the illegal acts of the Republican legislators.

Some, including the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the State's biggest newspaper, have complained that today's elections misuse and betray the spirit of the people's constitutional power to recall their elected representatives. They complain that the constitutional recall mechanism should be reserved for more serious misdeeds in office, not just for disagreements with those representatives' policies.

But Wisconsin voters have to wonder, what more serious misdeeds of office can there be than ordering State law enforcement officials to arrest their political rivals? What more serious misdeeds of office can there be than violating a collection of statutes intended to guarantee the people of Wisconsin merely the barest access to the deliberations of their government? What more serious misdeeds of office can there be than cheering on a court to fabricate its own unprecedented authority?

I can think of none. Arrest them. Or else just arrest any three of them.

See also: Alberta Darling's deliberate indifference to suffering


August 8, 2011

Penultimate handicappin' with WisPolitics, whose reporters are generally pretty comprehensive and attentive, does not have the best news on offer for the Wisconsin GOP. Of the six incumbent Republican Senators facing recall elections tomorrow, WisPolitics considers two, Robert Cowles and Sheila Harsdorf, safe. Of the other four, two appear doomed and two are toss-ups.

Two doomed plus just one of those toss-ups will turn the trick. On the other hand, losing both toss-ups will be among the most deflationary events in political history, for the Democrats and their supporters.

Tomorrow is an enormous gamble on the part of those latter factions.

[That's enough understatement. — ed.]


Secret of how Charlie Sykes stays so honest

It's paid GOP hacks in spurious "news service" clothing:
Charlie Sykes is an unabashed fan of Media Trackers.
We noticed, a long time ago.

"They'll keep all of us in the media honest." — Charlie Sykes

Charles Franklin, a political scientist at UW-Madison, said everyone at least knows where these groups are coming from.
He's dreaming, if he believes that. But hopefully they will, soon enough.

Alberta Darling's deliberate indifference to suffering

On Friday the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a 2010 decision of Federal District Court Judge Charles Clevert of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, which found Wis. Stat. § 302.386(5m) to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The statute banned State funding of therapy for Wisconsin prisoners medically diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. One of the cosponsors of the original bill banning the treatment (2005 Wisconsin Act 105) was Alberta Darling, the conservative Republican Wisconsin State Senator who faces a highly contentious recall election tomorrow.

Undecided voters — reportedly there are a few out there — take heed.

Darling was joined in this Act of compassionate conservatism by her counterparts Luther Olsen and Robert Cowles, two other Senators who tomorrow face similar fates. Another was our friend Scott Fitzgerald.

The unanimous Seventh Circuit panel was likewise unequivocal.

In affirming the district court, the three panelists wrote that Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials "acted with deliberate indifference in that [the officials] knew of the serious medical need but refused to provide hormone therapy because of Act 105" despite the inmates' "suffer[ing]," which is known to include "severe physical effects such as muscle wasting, high blood pressure, and neurological complications."

At the time Alberta Darling and her conservative Republican colleagues cosponsored the bill, they knew of exactly two inmates among a population of thousands, upon whom the Wisconsin DOC had expended "approximately $2,300 on hormone therapy." Indeed, at trial before the district court in Milwaukee, the DOC testified that "the cost of providing hormone therapy is between $300 and $1,000 per inmate per year."

Meanwhile Scott Fitzgerald can blow twenty-seven grand in a few days.

Additionally, wrote the Seventh Circuit, "[t]he district court concluded that DOC might actually incur greater costs by refusing to provide hormones, since inmates with [Gender Identity Disorder] might require other expensive treatments or enhanced monitoring by prison security."

Thus does this case put the lie not only to so-called compassionate conservatism — "deliberate indifference to serious medical need" — it moreover blows from the water Darling et al's alleged commitment to "fiscal conservatism." Then there are the costs of the appeal, obviously, and another potential appeal to the Seventh Circuit sitting en banc.

Behold your Kulturkampf, citizens, waged by conservative Republicans like Alberta Darling and the other original sponsors of the bill, who also included the usual suspects like Glenn Grothman and several other of our self-advertised Soldiers of Christ. As has been mentioned before at this space, gender — like sexual orientation, in fact — exists on a continuum.

It's a function of the "intelligent design" the culture warriors claim their Creator has imposed on "his" Creation, which Creator's gender and orientation apparently being less indeterminate than these patients'.

The supernatural is more familiar to them than the observable reality.

Here is the Seventh Circuit's decision: Fields v. Smith. Read the whole thing; it's only 19 pages. And pay particular attention to the medical testimony. Personally I don't care whether or not these folks are prison inmates, which is most evidently the status that raised the intuitive ire of our brave Republican lawgivers. That Alberta Darling and her pals in the Wisconsin legislature literally forced the denial of medical treatment to legitimate sufferers is a disgrace, but especially because of this here:
The [DOC] doctors testified that they could think of no other state law or policy, besides Act 105, that prohibits prison doctors from providing inmates with medically necessary treatment.
Only in Wisconsin, and thanks to State Senator Alberta Darling.

You can help return her to her secluded River Hills mansion tomorrow.

August 7, 2011

Who needs a blog

When these guys do it for you:


Graeme Zielinski is spot on, as far as I'm concerned, and I'll be more than happy to assist him in exposing these right-wing hacks and trolls.

"Reporter" my arse.

They actually had the nerve to headline their extended weepy-fest, "Wisconsin Democrats threaten Wisconsin Reporter." The implication had its intended effect for at least one loyal reader, who replied:
One last thing. If these People send their Goon Squad At You for Intimidation, The Gloves come off. We will show up and Beat the living snot out of this scum.
Whereas the only thing Zielinski "threatened" to do was write letters.

New face of crazy

Click me.


August 6, 2011

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

With Steve Benen, from Saint Reagan to the present day:
There have been several instances since the mid 1990s in which I genuinely believed Republican politics couldn’t possibly get more blisteringly ridiculous. I was wrong; they just keep getting worse.
The Grand Old Party, gotta love it.

Randy Hopper has two mistresses now

[Randy Hopper's] charm is infectious. He is a handsome, fit man of 45 with a chin like Buzz Lightyear's, white hair, and fashionable, dark-rimmed glasses. — WPRI "fellow" C. Schneider
Jaysus. Get a room.

So this is why the PD runs out of money every March

Six hundred and twenty-eight billing entries for work lawyer didn't do
"You were able to get away with that repeatedly because the system depends on the trust and honesty of lawyers to make it work, and you violated all that," said Judge Nicholas McNamara.

A pox on you and your so-called facts

Some people actually gave this reader comment the "thumbs-down":
rightwing1 — How did she replace her Y chromosome? First, she may not have had any. One in 300 people born looking male aren't 46XY. Second, she could have had a bone marrow transplant from a 46XX donor, and after 5-7 years, most of her cells would be 46XX too. See "Bone marrow-derived cells from male donors can compose endometrial glands in female transplant recipients," by Ikoma et al in Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;201(6):608.e1-8. And third, it's not necessary. One in 650 women are not 46XX. "A 46XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis." — J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9. Most of what you think you know about biological sex is just the child's simplified version. The one in 60 people who are Intersex and the one in 3000 who are Transsexual are exceptions to the approximation you were taught at school, and which some now hold as quasi-religious belief.
Complete with citations even! Or of course it could have been that the thumbs-down were directed toward the unnecessary qualifier, "quasi."

On teh web: Gender is a continuum.

TeAA+ Party

That's a good one, whoever came up with it.

To which one might add, TeAA+ Party vs. Socialist Hell, CanadAAA.*

On teh web: Ron Johnson's hip (replacement) musings.

* Also, FrAAAnce.

August 5, 2011

"The charges are nonsense."

Citizen Action of Wisconsin's Robert Kraig writes:
This week, the Republican Party leveled charges that the nonprofit grass-roots organization I lead has "coordinated" with Sandy Pasch's campaign. The accusation has been backed up with not one shred of evidence of the charge as it is defined in campaign law. Nonetheless, many media outlets ran with the story, and it even rated an editorial in the Journal Sentinel. The charges are nonsense and will be dismissed after the election.
This is true. The WISGOP's complaints are laughable for their lack of substance. What is less laughable is the Journal-Sentinel helpfully regurgitating every baseless claim served up by paid conservative Republican operative/hacks masquerading as objective news sources like the MacGyver Institute, Media Trackers, and Wisconsin Reporter.

Theirs is a sleazy game, and the Journal-Sentinel a willing accomplice.