Friday, March 23, 2018

Walker, WisGOP go full on Banana Republican to avoid holding elections

You may have heard this week that our Fair Governor got slapped down by a judge he appointed for failing to call special elections in two vacant seats in the Wisconsin Legislature. But what you may not have heard (or recalled), is the ridiculous argument that Scott Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel tried to put in front of Dane County's Josann Reynolds.
The law states elections must be called if they occur before the second Tuesday in May in an election year. Walker argued that only covers vacancies that happen after Jan. 1 of the same year as the election, and since these happened on Dec. 29, 2017, he’s under no requirement to act. Plaintiffs contend the requirement applies to vacancies at any point prior to the second Tuesday of May in the election year, not just the same year as the election.

“That is textbook voter disenfranchisement,” plaintiff’s attorney Elisabeth Frost said. “I can’t imagine a more clear case of disenfranchisement of the right to vote.”

The judge agreed. Reynolds said Walker’s interpretation of the law “flies in the face of reason,” ‘’violates basic rules of grammar” and would lead to an “absurd result.” She said voters would clearly suffer harm if the seats were vacant all year, noting that Walker could be forced to call a special election if the U.S. Supreme Court orders Wisconsin lawmakers to redraw political boundary maps in a redistricting case awaiting a ruling.
Seems straightforward enough, but Judge Reynolds made the error of not ordering the elections herself, and for some reason trusting these scumbuckets to do the right thing now that the courts had spoken.

To little surprise to those of us who have paid an ounce of attention in this state for the last 7 1/2 years, Walker and WisGOP aren't going to do the right thing. Instead, they want to change the law so that they can mess with the open seats as they see fit.
Fitzgerald said he wants to "clean up the statutes" before the special elections would be held. The Senate could come in next month to take up the legislation, he said. He did not offer specifics about what the proposal would look like, but said special election timelines should align with the existing elections that are already on the calendar.

"We are very concerned where this whole thing is headed," he said.

In a joint statement issued Friday afternoon, Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said they will call an extraordinary session to take up the legislation.

"A D.C.-based political group wants to force Wisconsin taxpayers to waste money on special elections at a time when our Legislature is ready to adjourn for the year," Walker said in a statement. "Nomination papers for any special elections called now would circulate around the same time nomination papers circulate for the November elections. It would be senseless to waste taxpayer money on special elections just weeks before voters go to the polls when the Legislature has concluded its business."

Walker said he will sign the legislation once passed by the Legislature.

A sickening, amoral troll

First of all, let me introduce these a-holes to a concept called ex post facto. It's in Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution (you know, that document that Republicans claim they're all about following and never changing because they don't believe in "activism"), and is defined as thus.
1st. Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3d. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender.
Parts 1 and 4 sure seem to apply- you don't get to change the laws on special elections retroactively and then say "We're all good" just because you failed to follow the rules the first time.

And also, these are the same guys who were jamming through dozens of bills in an all-night session just to get out of town. Now these guys don't need to go on a 9 1/2 month paid vacation to take care of one more shot at rigging democracy in Wisconsin? And it kinda blows up Walker's whole spin of "Why are we having elections if the legislature is adjourning?", because apparently THEY'RE NOT ADJOURNING.

Just to review, here's the law that goes over the situation that occurred after those two legislators resigned on December 29, 2017. And I am going to emphasize the key parts that should be applying here.
(a) The date for the special election shall be not less than 62 nor more than 77 days from the date of the order except when the special election is held to fill a vacancy in a national office or the special election is held on the day of the general election or spring election. If a special election is held concurrently with the spring election, the special election may be ordered not earlier than 92 days prior to the spring primary and not later than 49 days prior to that primary. If a special election is held concurrently with the general election or a special election is held to fill a national office, the special election may be ordered not earlier than 122 days prior to the partisan primary or special primary, respectively, and not later than 92 days prior to that primary.

(b) If a primary is required, the primary shall be on the day 4 weeks before the day of the special election except when the special election is held on the same day as the general election the special primary shall be held on the same day as the partisan primary or if the special election is held concurrently with the spring election, the primary shall be held concurrently with the spring primary, and except when the special election is held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of an odd-numbered year, the primary shall be held on the 2nd Tuesday of August in that year.
December 29 was 54 days prior to the Feb 20 Spring primary, and 96 days before the April 3 Spring election, plenty of time for Walker have the election held when Rep. Kevin Ripp and Sen. Frank Lassee resigned to cash in. And IT WOULDN'T HAVE COST AN EXTRA DIME TO THOSE COMMUNITIES, because there already was going to be an election for the Supreme Court in this state.

All Scott Walker and the complicit WisGOP Legislature would have had to do is FOLLOW THE FUCKING LAW, and there wouldn't have been any problems. Instead, they decided to play games, spend taxpayer dollars trying to defend the indefensible, and then (like all abusers do) turn around and blame the people who dare to issue consequences to the Rethugs for not following the law.

If this mentality sounds familiar, it should. This is the exact type of garbage these people tried to pull during the recall elections of 2011 and 2012, when Scott Fitzgerald and Scott Walker encouraged GOP hacks to enter recall races as Democrats to force primaries and delay the elections for 4 more weeks. After the recalls, Robbin' Vos had the nerve to complain about the cost of the extra elections that were caused by the "divide and conquer" act by Scott Walker and the ALEC-GOPs .

And as a Dem candidate for Governor noted, it sure shows you what these GOP "public servants" truly find important.

These people truly do not believe in a concept of "consent of the governed", and clearly do not trust their own ideas to win out in a fair fight. They cannot be allowed to pull this shit any more.

Hey WisGOPS, you better pray that the only price you pay is at the ballot box for this disgusting abuse of power, and don't end up in the clink for contempt of court. You'd better let democracy take its course, and accept your losses like men. Because if you don't allow the democracy option to work out, the other option won't allow you to pull wingnut welfare paychecks after they're out of office. Do you really want that to happen?


  1. I thought we had checks and balances with co-equal branches of government. I must be wrong.

    Just wondering. If the GOP changes the rules after being told to hold the election, is there a consequence? I am not sure anything will happen. Arrested? Lose their sea? Contempt of court?

  2. The modus operandi here is that of the schoolyard bully. "I and I alone am in charge," says Scott the Fitz, puffing out his chest. In this instance, Robin the Landlord goes along, seeing a gain for himself as well: another way to show those Dane County know-it-all that he, too, will not be trifled with, nor made to apologize for his ill-considered comments about the judiciary. The bully triumvirate is completed with Sleepy-Eyed Scott the Walker (aka Scott the Jet), agreeing to follow his pals along this road. Because three bullies are better than one, you know.

    Funny thing about bullies. They rarely act like real men -- or real women for that matter. Just like people who feel entitled to be at the front of the line no matter when they arrived at the picture show. Contemptible, every one of 'em.

    1. Well stated JB. These arw very small, mediocre men who have gotten "ahead" mostly because they will sink to depths that decent people will not sink to.