An annual gathering of the state big business lobby has been a must-make stop on the campaign trail for conservative candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. According to One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin, the curious no-show of right-wing court candidate Brian Hagedorn looks like another sign his extremism is proving too much for even staunchly conservative organizations.
[T]he governor’s executive order directs the Department of Transportation to develop and implement a plan for expanding accessibility to DOT facilities that provide citizens of Wisconsin with identification required to vote.“The cornerstone of American democracy is the right of the people to choose their representatives,” Gov. Evers said. “Through my budget proposal that calls for automatic voter registration, and through actions like today’s executive order, we are working to make it easier for people to obtain the identification they need to vote. I am committed to making sure every single vote counts, and that there is an opportunity for all Wisconsinites to participate in our democracy.”
MADISON, Wis. — In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 state Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn was paid thousands of dollars and received gifts from an anti-LGBTQ hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). In response to media revelations about his hate group windfall, Hagedorn said he was compensated for giving speeches while a state court judge but has refused to release copies or recordings of his remarks.
MADISON, Wis. — In response to calls from the family of the victims of sexual assault who Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce outed in a $1 million ad campaign for Michael Screnock, WMC has taken down the list of its board of directors from its website.
“The family of the children who were victims of sexual assault who WMC outed demanded WMC’s ad come down and in response WMC took down the names of its board of directors,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “This shows that in their desperation to try and win an election WMC knows it did something hideous and now they are trying to hide.”
We’ll see if this trend of large amounts of school referenda in recent years starts to fade with both the aid increases, and because of a provision in the state budget that limits schools to 2 referendum questions a year, and limits the dates those referenda can take place. But the continued large amount of referenda (66 questions on Tuesday) shows that one pre-election bump by the Governor hasn’t come close to filling in the gaps of 6 prior years of state cuts to K-12 education and limits on property taxes to make up the difference.
I find no issue with trying to avoid disenfranchising voters. And certainly the logistics in these cases is always problematic but Wisconsin has done hundreds of these special elections over the years under very similar circumstances. I read somewhere else that there might be about 100 such voters who may be affected. But there was never any concern shown or voiced for the tens of thousands of voters disenfranchised by NOT holding the special elections…all of those Wisconsin residents who live in the affected districts. Those residents who don’t have representation.
On-campus voting places will be open for the election on Tuesday, April 3, and resources will be available for students to register to vote.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. On-campus polling places include Memorial Union, Red Gym Memorial Library and Eagle Heights Community Center. To find out where to vote, go to https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/FindMyPollingPlace.
When it comes to figuring out what the electorate may look like for Tuesday’s Supreme Court election in Wisconsin, I think it’s instructive to look at three different sets of Wisconsin electorates.
1. The primary election in February.
2. The April election in 2017 – where Tony Evers easily won the School Superintendent race with a Dem-leaning electorate, and then contrast with the 2013 April election where now-Chief Justice Pat Roggensack cruised to a win with a GOP-leaning electorate. April 2016 is a bad example because of the much higher turnout due to contested presidential primaryies going on for both parties.
3. The November elections of 2016 and 2014, to give an idea of the difference between a November electorate and an April.
On March 24, two days after Dane County Judge Josann Reynolds, (Branch two), ordered Scott Walker to call two special elections, and one day after Republicans vowed to enact legislation blocking the judicial order, the Wisconsin State Journal ran a banner, 3/4-inch headline reading “State GOP seeks swift action” in its print edition.
This March 24 headline misleads readers with the undefined “seeks swift action,” omitting the fact state Republicans scrambled to continue to block elections, (as the news piece reports).
While justices have been known to change while serving on a high court, most tend to conform to the record of their past legal career. Dallet’s career has been that of a mainstream prosecutor and judge who has been endorsed by more than 175 judges in Wisconsin. She seems most like the late moderate conservative justice Patrick Crooks, who was tough on crime, but parted with the Wisconsin Supreme Court on key issues like recusal rules and campaign coordination.
As for Screnock, he has already let us know he will emulate Gableman, an aggressively right-wing justice who operated as a rubber stamp for the conservatives who now rule this state. That’s how Screnock operated as a lawyer, and nothing in his campaign has suggested he sees any reason to change.
MADISON – At Monday’s Milwaukee Bar Association debate, Judge Michael Screnock was presented with multiple opportunities to commit to behaving ethically on the state Supreme Court. He declined to commit to recusing himself from cases involving his major donors at every turn.
Wisconsin’s largest corporate lobbyist, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, has spent more than $1.35 million in its attempts to elect Michael Screnock. This is particularly important because WMC and its member corporations frequently are party to cases before the Supreme Court. This spending would present Screnock with a massive conflict of interest should he be elected to the Supreme Court.
The entire state has only two contests to be concerned about.
Justice candidate Rebecca Dallet
One is electing Rebecca Dallet to the state supreme court. She is the only acceptable candidate, demonstrated by the desperation of the ads against her (arguing not that she let anyone go but followed the family and prosecution’s advice in sentencing).
She is also the first step in restoring balance to the court.
In 2019, Shirley Abrahamson’s seat is up, and though she has not announced if she is running again, her legendary distinction will carry liberal weight. In 2020, before the next presidential election, it is the unknown justice under the gun – Daniel Kelly, appointed by Walker to fill out David Prosser’s term. He has never faced the voters at any level, serving mainly as litigator and conservative hired gun on gerrymandering. Dallet will be the start on turning the high court back to normalcy.
The other important vote is No on eliminating the office of state treasurer. This is simply a power grab by the executive against the state’s banker, who should be examining in a watchdog role billions of dollars in common aid to schools and libraries while also serving a key role on the commission for public lands.
State appellate judge Paul Reilly, (a Waukesha Republican), humiliated Scott Walker in denying Walker’s desperate motion by pointing out, “Representative government and the election of our representatives are never ‘unnecessary,’ never a ‘waste of taxpayer resources.'”
If Reilly were trying to edify Scott Walker, he would have better luck shouting at the wind.