June 30, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court quote of the day

Justice [Louis] Butler was a popular member of the court and a person who was somewhat successful in building bridges among the members of the court. — Attorney Lester Pines
Nice going, WMC/Gableman. And wouldn't you know, it is exactly that contingent now complaining about lack of leadership on the court.

Link to video. Lester Pines is on from 37:00 to 45:00, speaking truths.

Next up is James Troupis, who says of allegations David Prosser grabbed Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck with both hands: "You do have to chuckle about that." Is that so? Troupis was Prosser's attorney during the aftermath of the April 5 Supreme Court election, incidentally.

I suppose that could be the quote of the day, but for different reasons.

Your Wisconsin Republicans in the news

Johnson calls on Weiner to resignactual Associated Press headline

First up, embattled State Senator Dan Kapanke is a comical liar. The absurd claims of Wisconsin Secretary of Building Maintenance Mike Huebsch were thoroughly debunked ages ago, yet Kapanke repeats the lies to members of his Tea Party constituency, which is even insulting to the intelligence of the Tea Party constituency, because at least the Tea Party constituency pays attention and follows the political news.

Next, James Troupis, Republican lawyer-for-hire, participates in a panel devoted to restoring the appearance of civility on the Supreme Court, reports @WisPolitics. Troupis filed a frivolous suit in Oconto County he had no chance of winning, and then mischaracterized the court's order in a legal memorandum to Republican State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, who Troupis & Friends advised to capture a seven-months-pregnant woman and have her "carried ... feet first" into the Capitol building. Then Troupis billed the State $27K for his and his associates' labors.*

Incidentally Fitzgerald did indeed issue 14 ersatz "arrest warrants" pursuant to Troupis's legal advice, which none other than Dan Kapanke endorsed. No word on whether Kapanke voiced concerns over scuffing a limestone pier with the prone body of a seven-months-pregnant woman.

Finally our old pal Oshkosh millionaire Ron Johnson, who's raised some eyebrows with millions in "virtually interest free" loans Ron Johnson's company made to Ron Johnson, but before Ron Johnson decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Johnson got famous last year when it was learned he'd secured millions more in government-underwritten bonds, which also guaranteed Ron Johnson favorably below-market interest rates.

Then Ron Johnson got more famous as a gigantic hypocrite when he attacked his political opponent, Sen. Russ Feingold, for favoring precisely the same type of government largesse from which Johnson's plastics company benefited, and within precisely the same industry as Johnson's.

(Johnson's staff now includes erstwhile JRN calumnist Patrick McIlheran.)

This has been your Wisconsin Republicans in the news.

Boehnerus: Ohio Republican who "tested positive for Viagra" in the news

Visit the Archiv:
Industrial revenue bonds

* Never did find out what the heck's the difference between a $290-an-hour Republican lawyer and a $295-an-hour Republican lawyer.

Scott Walker said what?

Walker also said "long-term, it's worth looking at" an appointed Supreme Court, instead of an elected one, in Wisconsin. — J-S
Holy shit. Well as long as it's not Walker doing the nominating. I wonder what judges in other jurisdictions are thinking when they encounter a citation to a recent Wis. S. Ct. decision in the briefs to their courts. Probably less persuaded by it if they've been reading the newspapers too.

June 29, 2011

Daniel is Suhr tenacious, I'll give him that much

[Good grief man.]

Mr. Suhr, thank you for taking the time. I must say I have always found kibbutzing with you on the internets a source of considerable amusement and I am sincerely grateful for that as well.

However, please have a look one more time at § 809.71, which refers back to and incorporates by that reference § 809.51. A person seeking a supervisory writ under § 809.71 (e.g., petitioner Mike Huebsch [a.k.a. Scott Walker] who, incidentally, ended up getting something he never sought by dint of the punctuational jurisdiction invented by Justice/Gableman) must file "in accordance with s. 809.51." Thus does "the court" in § 809.51 mean the Supreme Court, in perfect consonance with the wise and premonitory guidance set forth in § 809.01(4).

So to continue to insist, as you are doing above, that "the court" in § 809.51 can mean "only" the Court of Appeals is, as the saying goes, absurd. Again: I am not misapplying § 809.51 but rather reading it in its alternate context, following the direction of § 809.71.

The only thing in § 809.51 that § 809.71 does not incorporate by reference is, obviously, the former's language, "or its original jurisdiction," which is where your superfluity analysis would apply, as the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction is addressed separately, in § 809.70.

And these have been my contentions from the outset: that original and supervisory jurisdiction are separate and distinct forms of judicial authority, and that there is no constitutional basis for Justice/Gableman's creation of an alternatively convenient source of judicial power by forward slash.

(Setting amusement aside for a moment, your main post here at the Marquette University Law School faculty blog embodies an unwarranted criticism of my writing and I can only hope that your readers continue on throughout this comments thread for the fuller explication. However, experience teaches me that that is not something upon which I can depend, if you're picking up what I'm throwing down.)

By the way, a not dissimilar question of construction arose at the time the Walker administration attempted vainly to claim publication of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 while publication was temporarily enjoined. A provision might have two different meanings, or two different applications, depending upon how it may be incorporated by reference into other statutory provisions.

You can read all about that little brouhaha at my own wildly popular blog, illusory tenant, in a post entitled, "Wisconsin statutes, a couple three of them," of March 26, 2011. Or, if you prefer, Prof. Fallone's compelling epistle of March 28, at this present location, [*] which covers much of the same ground (as Prof. Fallone was most generous to acknowledge).

Have a good one, Mr. Suhr, and keep those FedSoc recruits coming.

* That is, the Marquette University Law School faculty blog, to whence the above comment was submitted. Should be posted in a day or two.

June 28, 2011

Everybody's a Wisconsin political expert now

Via WisOpinion [?]:
Bradley started it by shaking her fist at Bradley and pushing herself nose-to-nose . . . — Megan McArdle, The Atlantic
Um, okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

Reminds me of watching the DC elites "tweet" the Canadian election. What a horrorshow that was. The elite Journolist crowd was beside itself because the Liberals only won 34 seats in the House of Commons. Apparently they were never aware of the Conservatives winning two.

They say stick to writing what you know. 'Twas an object lesson.

P.S. Fox's Greta Van Susteren is horrified Justice Bradley "leaked" emails to the press. Of course if Van Susteren had been paying attention to the Wisconsin Supreme Court some time before today, she would have seen both Justices Prosser and Roggensack "leaking" sheafs of similar correspondence to the press — on television. They're all experts now, eh?

How many sharks can one Shark jump?

Clearly, an infinite amount.

Sometimes I swear WisOpinion.com, the local aggregator of Wisconsin's "opinion leaders," links to stuff just for giggles, much like Jerry Falwell used to get invited on the Sunday morning chat shows so the producers and news editors could chuckle at him. Case in point, Rick Esenberg's pretend lament at the state of affairs on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Recall that Bill Lueders broke the story Saturday morning. None of Lueders's sources were named, but he obviously had them. By Saturday evening, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had managed to obtain a statement from Ann Walsh Bradley, a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, confirming the substantive details of Lueders's story. The Journal-Sentinel also obtained a statement from the accused, David Prosser, that did not deny some physical altercation had taken place, but rather simply varied from the perspective of Justice Bradley's account.

Peake fantasy

Furthermore the Journal-Sentinel obtained statements from two anonymous sources — who remain anonymous as of this writing — neither of which deny some physical altercation but, as does Prosser, present a different perspective of the alleged altercation. So what does Rick Esenberg, an actual professor of the law, make of all this?

Well, first of all, he denounces Lueders for "an embarrassingly bad piece of work" despite the fact that Lueders's report was confirmed by a justice of the Supreme Court who went on the record to confirm it.

What's embarrassing or bad about it exactly, he doesn't deign to reveal, but the professor's unsupported assertions suit perfectly the obfuscatory narrative Esenberg and his fellow travelers are seeking to forward.

And despite even the fact of Justice Bradley's affirmations, Esenberg pronounces her allegations "fantastical," conveniently overlooking Justice Prosser's self-admitted history of aggressiveness toward Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, whom he had previously threatened to "destroy," and who is relatively small in stature and who is nearly a decade the elder of Prosser. Moreover Bradley had warned against Prosser's behavior in emails she released to a Journal-Sentinel reporter months ago.*

Now all of a sudden the latest in an apparent pattern of reckless and intemperate behavior is "fantastical," like a Mervyn Peake novel.


But what is most remarkable — outrageous, really — about Esenberg's own reckless missive is that he suggests the Wisconsin Judicial Commission back off from carrying through its investigation:
[T]he worst thing, I think, would be to frustrate the will of the voters by the imposition of discipline based upon controverted allegations. That would smack of a coup. It would undermine the legitimacy of the Court. [**]
Let's review a couple of things here.

Justice Prosser would be the third consecutive Wisconsin Supreme Court justice subject to an investigation by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, all of them self-advertised "conservatives," and all of them members of the court that just two weeks ago abandoned bedrock principles of legal procedure, invented from whole cloth a novel fabrication of the court's jurisdictional authority, imported into its written order and opinions alleged facts that were never even mentioned by any party or court as the case wended its way toward the Michael/Gableman Four, and for all intents and purposes untenably reprimanded a careful, review-proven conservative circuit judge for — ironically — supposedly abusing her authority, a reprimand meted out by the same court that had just moments before whipped into existence its own purported authority.

The allegations Esenberg is talking about are those of Justice Bradley who, it bears again repeating, went on the record to confirm the pertinent details of Lueders's "embarrassingly bad" report. And the "controversions" Esenberg is talking about are those anonymous sources quoted by the Journal Communications, Inc. flagship daily newspaper.

Blinka job safe

Not only does Esenberg accord the latter equal weight, he accords them such countervailing authority that, Esenberg reasons, they should not only drive the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's investigation but in fact discourage the Commission from proceeding. All one might say to that is, thank gods Esenberg is not teaching the law of evidence over there.

Esenberg's "will of the voters," it needs also to be recalled, is Justice Prosser's 0.46% margin of victory over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who for her part realized double-digit (not double-decimal point) surges in popular support between February's primary contest and the April 5 general election — especially in the State's most conservative counties.

Thus would it "smack of a coup" were the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which is charged by State statute to investigate unprofessional behavior among the State judiciary, to pursue its mandated obligations.

It's quite the amazing performance by Rick Esenberg, who has a long and fairly well documented history of amazing performances. It's . . .

Ta Da! Ol' Prof. Rick is right about one thing though:
Lawyers have been worried about the divisions on the Court [**] for some time now. ... No one likes to say too much about it in public for fear of alienating the people who may decide their clients' matters.
Oh, but I'm sure they would like to say plenty about it, and what they would mostly say Esenberg probably wouldn't want to hear. Because the current divisions on the court are directly traceable to Mike Gableman, who none other than Rick Esenberg championed by defending some of the most disgraceful attacks on former Justice Louis Butler's reputation, character, and professionalism, and whose own then-research assistant's gibberish Esenberg is still publishing at the Marquette LS faculty blog.

Esenberg's "worried lawyers" ain't going to forget. It's one thing to get along — and a good thing — but it's quite another to abandon principles because some partisan ideologue is boo-hooing like a sad crocodile.

Your humble correspondent may not be the disinterested academic ivory tower dweller Rick Esenberg is presented as by Journal Communications, Inc.'s panoply of media dispensaries but I surely do know that much.

* There was some considerable right-wing pearls-clutching over Justice Bradley's handing over the emails to the reporter. However, go have a look in the WisconsinEye.org video archives for the court's open administrative conferences and you will find both Justices Prosser and Roggensack releasing sheafs of interchambers emails to the press.

The political right's shameless hypocrisy is quite the spectacle to behold.

** You do not capitalize court here. Capitalizing court here would be a signal for the United State Supreme Court. This from a professor of law.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, relative giantess

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, shown with two representative members of family Hominidae for physiometric purposes. Reportedly right-wing commentators, led by alleged law professor Ann Althouse and Milwaukee radio belligerent Charlie Sykes, are engaged in proposing an alternate theory to Justice Bradley's allegations against Justice David Prosser, that the latter is a frail, elderly man and the former an imposing, aggressive threatenor. Of course it's ridiculous, but what do you expect from them.

h/t Anonymous 8:46 A.M. (Welcome Firedoglake readers!).

Prosser on True Threats

Justice David Prosser was once considerably less tolerant of threatening language than six of six colleagues. 13-year-old Douglas D. was "a troubled young man" who wrote in a creative writing assignment that he was going to cut off his teacher's head with a machete.
The court concludes that a true threat is determined using an objective reasonable person standard. "A true threat is a statement that a speaker would reasonably foresee that a listener would reasonably interpret as a serious expression of a purpose to inflict harm, as distinguished from hyperbole, jest, innocuous talk, expressions of political views or other similarly protected speech." . . .

Today our country is consumed by the outbreak of violence in public schools. Threats of violence in schools must be taken seriously. Almost inevitably these threats produce fear among students and teachers. They inflict harm and impair the atmosphere for learning. Sometimes they create panic. ... The potential for panic suggests an alternative analysis that the parties and the courts in this case have not explored. . . .

Because of the epidemic of violence in public schools, threats against students, teachers, and administrators in a school setting should not be afforded First Amendment protection. Based upon a "falsely shouting fire in a theatre" or "panic" analysis, school threats are incendiary per se. Whether these threats also violate some criminal statute depends upon the evidence in each situation. . . . I respectfully dissent.
State v. Douglas D., 2001 WI 47

The "panic" analysis is Prosser's own. I don't know about you, but I panic in a sense when I read these stories about the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

This is the best post that you will read today*

Wisconsin Court Supremely Slippery by Brendan Beery

Informed, concise, and entertaining.

* Until this here blargh's next offering, obviously.

June 27, 2011

Procedure is the true conservative's polestar

Here's Ed Fallone and Rick Esenberg talking about Petition of Walker.

Prof. Fallone is foursquare on the money: the Gableman court usurped procedure, invented jurisdiction, and unwarrantedly scapegoated a circuit court judge who followed both the spirit and the letter of the law (in fact the Open Meetings Law's spirit is clearly delineated in its letter).

There are also a couple of hilarious moments of vintage Esenberg, once where he perishes figuratively at the thought of anybody impugning the competence of any circuit court judge, himself having literally sneered on public radio at Judge Sumi not that long ago, and another where Esenberg, who once upon a time complained mightily that Judge Sumi failed to sufficiently explicate her temporary restraining order to Rick Esenberg, now merely sighs and handwaves away the Mike Gableman court's inability to properly elucidate its judical fiat. I'm not sure how to characterize Prof. Rick's comical disingenuousness, but whatever it is it lies somewhere between naked double standards and pure hypocrisy.

No wonder Esenberg's broken into Fox News. He makes the perfect fit.

And maybe we can help get Gableman his own show on Fox Business.

Forward [Slash]!

Ann Althouse, like Justice Prosser, sniffs a turd

According to alleged professor of law Ann Althouse, Bill Lueders, who broke the story Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly seized a colleague, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, by the neck with both hands, Governor Scott Walker's momentous budget-singing ceremony "was overshadowed by the gigantic turd Lueders felt moved to drop at exactly that moment." Althouse seems hell-bent on discrediting Lueders's reporting, despite the fact Justice Bradley herself has since affirmed it.

Most rational actors would reverse course at that point.

Perhaps Althouse is too demure to outright call Justice Bradley a liar and instead has been busying herself with attempting to discredit Lueders's confirmed reporting and failing rather spectacularly at that project.*

The alleged law professor's scatological metaphor is especially entertaining when one recalls Prosser's election-time fauxtrage at coming upon a reader post at Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg's Facebook, which read, "Stop the turd, vote Kloppenburg."

"Now, am I the turd?," Justice Prosser had actually inquired.

Apparently so, albeit not Althouse's "gigantic turd," as Althouse also assures us Justice Bradley is "significantly larger" than Justice Prosser.

I've heard students at the University of Wisconsin Law School go out of their way to avoid enrolling in Althouse's classes. That's not surprising.

* WPRI's Christian Schneider lauds Althouse for doing "yeoman's work."

eta 01: Fortunately for the rest of us Ann Althouse is not in charge of the Dane County Sheriff's Office. Justice Bradley's allegations may constitute a felony charge. They need to be taken seriously, contra the alleged professor of law's wild and frivolously idiotic speculations.

eta 02: As they are taken by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission.

As mentioned here previously, the Supreme Court is charged with overseeing the ethical behavior and education of the State's attorneys, an authority that is becoming less and less possible to take seriously.

And I don't believe it was ever possible to take Ann Althouse seriously.

Marquette law school's honorary faculty, Daniel Suhr

I see our friend Daniel Suhr is up to his risible tricks* at the Marquette University Law School faculty blog, accusing me of "fail[ing] to note" that the Wisconsin Supreme Court is a court of appeals, or something.

In a nutshell, and in reference to this post, Mr. Suhr claims Wis. Stat. § 809.51 applies only to these courts of appeal and thus does not direct attentive readers of the law to §§ 809.70 and 809.71, which distinguish between the two types of jurisdictional authority, supervisory and original (the two that Gableman & Co. conjoined with a forward slash).

The hapless Mr. Suhr is either unaware that the Supreme Court is itself a court of appeals or else failed to read the set of definitions provided at the outset to Chapter 809 of the Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations:
"Court" means the court of appeals or, if the appeal or other proceeding is in the supreme court, the supreme court.
It's a mystery why the faculty continues to publish Mr. Suhr's claptrap.

Frankly, it's embarrassing to other, competent MULS alumni.

At least he might read the law prior to leveling his absurd accusations. I most certainly do, and furthermore see no need to reiterate each and every jot and tittle of it in a blog post, particularly those provisions that are so blindingly obvious to everyone save the "research assistant" Suhr.

Lord, make me a vessel of Your patience.

* See also Ed Fallone's comment. My own is "awaiting moderation."

Here it is, just in case:

Thanks Prof. Fallone.

Evidently Mr. Suhr himself "failed to note" § 809.01(4): "[In this chapter] 'Court' means the court of appeals, or if the appeal or other proceeding is in the supreme court, the supreme court." So clearly § 809.51 does indeed "carry forward" to §§ 809.70 and 809.71, contrary to Mr. Suhr’s unique rationalizations. Now perhaps Mr. Suhr would be so kind as to withdraw his accusation that I misapplied § 809.51.

June 26, 2011

Ann Althouse's famous "NIG" pajamas

I believe these are pajamas that say "good night" all over them, but the letters "NIG" are set apart by a fold in the fabric.
h/t Mutaman.

Fitzgerald on Huebsch v. Dane County Cir. Ct.

Said the law breaker of the law inventor:
The Supreme Court is crazier than the Legislature apparently.
h/t Mary Spicuzza.

"In turbulent times, courts are expected to act with fairness and objectivity. ... They should not insert themselves into controversies or exacerbate existing tensions." — Prosser, J., choking concurring.

Top blogger Ann Althouse gets her source

Inexplicably popular blogger and alleged professor of law Ann Althouse "tweeted" yesterday that reports Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser seized a colleague, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, around the throat were "unsourced." However they were not unsourced but anonymously sourced, a crucial distinction that should have been immediately apparent to a self-styled media critic such as Althouse and furthermore one who is surely familiar with the traditional discretion of the justices' law clerks, who are often privy to the court's private conferences.

The alleged professor of law went on to warn "you people" on Twitter they may be subject to a defamation action, apparently either unaware or forgetful of the substantial burden imposed on public figures (e.g., Prosser) which requires proof a defendant acted in "actual malice."

And all of that addlepated nonsense packed into one "tweet."

Anyway, now Althouse has her source:
"The facts are that I was demanding that [Prosser] get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold," Justice Ann Walsh Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.
Prosser denies everything.

Following which report Althouse adds, "From what I have heard, Bradley is significantly larger than Prosser." What, she's never even seen them?

It's strange that Althouse, who allegedly professes the law in Madison, Wisconsin, has not attended a hearing at the State Supreme Court, which also sits in Madison (just a brief sashay down State St. in fact).

Justices Prosser and Bradley sit side by each (second and third from the left,* respectively, where the latter appears no larger than the former).

And damn near everybody is "significantly larger" than Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson,** who Prosser previously threatened to "destroy."

Althouse could measure their physical attributes as they ascend the bench, in order to confirm her own "unsourced" assertion that "Bradley is significantly larger than Prosser," whatever that's supposed to mean.

Did not David slay Goliath?

Moreover, Althouse might do well to revisit the law of self defense, if that is indeed among the topics she allegedly professes to law students.

You don't get to strangle somebody who merely raises their hands.

* Conservative hero Mike Gableman is on the far right, where he invents the Supreme Court's jurisdiction from whole cloth and forward slash.

** Not only have I seen the Chief Justice, but I have met her, more than once, and I'm not even an alleged University of Wisconsin law professor.

eta: Much, much more from Wis. Atty. Briane Pagel.

June 25, 2011

Your conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin Manufacturers o' Jurisdiction

Just in case you're keeping score, of the four Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who determined that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi exceeded her judicial authority,* we have one, Annette Ziegler, who copped to numerous ethical violations and was publicly reprimanded for same, another, Mike Gableman, who committed ethical violations and defied and fought the matter all the way back up to the Supreme Court (where his three conservative colleagues supported his "free speech" defense), and now yet another, David Prosser, who is facing what appear to be very serious allegations of having committed battery, and not just any battery, but battery to a sitting Supreme Court justice.

Mike Gableman's ethical violations (a.k.a. lying) were also in service of targeting a sitting Supreme Court justice and all three were sitting as State judges at the moments of their real and alleged performances.

Ladies and gentlemen, your heroically "conservative" Supreme Court. And this is the same court that is charged with ensuring the ethical behavior and education of Wisconsin's attorneys. Seems a bit ridiculous doesn't it.

* For the crime of following the Wisconsin legislature's black letter law. Scapegoating, is the word for what the conservatives did to Judge Sumi.

More adventures in original jurisdiction


Perhaps the State Bar of Wisconsin's character and fitness evaluation should be administered periodically, starting with the Supreme Court.
"The actions of [Judge Maryann Sumi] exceeded the court's authority and must be vacated." — Prosser, J., concurring.
"We suspect that the court's problems will improve markedly after the heat of this election ... We recommend Prosser." — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial page, 04.02.11.

Remarkable prescience, says blog commenter.

Imagine, though, if Prosser resigns and Walker appoints Mac Davis.


June 15, 2011

A corporation, but not a Gableman, is a person

A person may request the supreme court to take jurisdiction of an original action by filing a petition which may be supported by a memorandum. — Wis. Stat. § 809.70
Bet you didn't know that person could be Mike Gableman.

Until yesterday, to be sure, when neither did anybody else.
A person may request the court to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction or its original jurisdiction to issue a prerogative writ over a court and the presiding judge, or other person or body, by filing a petition and supporting memorandum. — § 809.51
That is, § 809.70 or § 809.71. Either one or the other. Not and. I refer the reader to the small catalog of propositional operators contained in any introductory text on logic, beginning from Aristotle's (c. 360 BCE).

Now Huebsch (by his counsel the Department of Justice) is a person:
§ 809.71 — State ex rel. Michael D. Huebsch, 04.07.2011
Yet the following appeared at 4:45 p.m. on June 14, in an unsigned order of the court but reputedly the handiwork of Mike Gableman:
On June 6, 2011, this court ... heard argument addressing whether the court should accept either the certification or the petition for supervisory/original jurisdiction or both; the court also heard argument on the merits of the pending matters.
The certification was a separate case, and was dismissed. The forward slash conjoining 'supervisory' to 'original' is a fabrication from whole cloth. So-called conservative jurisprudence by typographical insertion.

In the Wisconsin statutes, the distinction between the court's supervisory and original jurisdictions is codified by their separate numberings:
§ 809.70 and § 809.71. The Department of Justice chose the latter.

It would not have occurred to the Department of Justice to petition the court to take jurisdiction of an original action because Ozanne v. Fitzgerald could not, obviously, be an original action for the purposes of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction. Hence the supervisory petition.
¶7 This court has granted the petition for an original action ...
No such petition existed, until the Gableman court manufactured it.

WMC's Mike Gableman, who a three-appellate-judge panel found in 2009 to have violated two separate provisions of the Wisconsin code of judicial ethics (Gableman was a judge on an "inferior court" — as Kevin St. John would have it — at the time) campaigned on a political platform of "strict constructionism" and the faithful adherence to legal texts.

Evidently those were lies as well.

And this is not the first time that Gableman has conjured a creative interpretation of the Supreme Court's jurisdictional authorities. The present instance is not of judicial activism, but of judicial arrogance.

Ironically, Gableman's cohort Justice Prosser purports to justify the court's exercising original jurisdiction by mysterious reference to the State constitution, according to an apparently broad reading of that document, or precisely that manner of reading denied to the people of Wisconsin, who sought only a reasonable — indeed, a practically de minimis — access to the legislative activities of their representatives.

The Republican legislative leaders betrayed even that.

Of course the largest irony of all is that the Gableman court attempts to validate its fiat on separation of powers grounds, but yesterday's decree indicates nothing except an amalgamation of partisan, political powers.

This space will return at the end of the month, fully recharged.

Adventures in original jurisdiction "with teeth"


June 14, 2011


Item: WisDems stop taking @PolitiFactWisc's calls

From the archives:

09.18.10 A Milwaukee paper's Bizarro World PolitiFact®
10.10.10 @PolitiFactWisc: Thanks for clearing that up
10.12.10 @PolitiFactWisc does it again
10.18.10 PolitiFactWisc: Words don't matter after all
10.19.10 At PolitiFactWisc, where false means true

Shh! Charlie Sykes and the grown-ups are speaking

Actual "conversation" from Charlie Sykes's Sunday Insight, the weekend morning teevee show that Journal Communications, Inc. foists on unsuspecting Milwaukeeans as allegedly informed political commentary:
Charlie Sykes: What will they [the Wisconsin Supreme Court] do and when will they do it?

Brian Fraley: Because it is imperative, that Judge Sumi gets slapped down. Because she acted without legal precedent, she doesn't have jurisdiction, and it's important that it's determined throughout the State that Dane County judges can't subvert the will of the Wisconsin legislature to follow its own rules and to follow the law. [smug face]

Sykes: What will happen and when will it happen?

Fraley: Uh, it will happen soon and I think that she will be slapped down and I think the law will be enforced.
The vehemence and alacrity with which Brian "Critical Thinking" Fraley speaks of "slapping down" a State judge almost makes you want to petition the DA for an investigation into conspiracy to commit battery. You really have to see it and hear it to believe it. Or not, so stupid is it.

These people have a television show.*

Then Charlie Sykes turns to WPRI "senior fellow" Christian Schneider.
Sykes: What is going to happen?

Schneider: The Supreme Court's gonna vacate her, uh, her, uh, Judge Sumi's ruling and, uh, the law's gonna stand.
Then Sykes says the Supreme Court will vacate the circuit court first thing Monday morning, which was yesterday, and which it didn't, and which chances now are nil, thanks to Sykes's dear friends the WISGOP.

And obviously none of them can explain why the court will do what.

The end.

* Then again, so does this guy.

June 13, 2011

How much did the Kloppenburg recount cost again?

Because this WISGOP dishonesty is setting the State back $428K.

Where's all yer big fauxtrage at now, WISGOP?

"Same propaganda, different name on paycheck."

Patrick McIlheran to leave MJS for spot Ron Johnson's staff

Nice government job, and with a hypocrite too. Perfect.

Make room for up-and-coming wing-nut Steve Prestegard.

Please visit the Patrick McIlheran archive / jamboree of dissembling

ASSGOP leader Jeff Fitzgerald blows it

Successful vote would moot the court case
Republicans: We will add collective bargaining to budget if court doesn't act by TuesdayWisconsin State Journal
If there was any lingering concern that the Wisconsin Supreme Court exercising its supervisory authority over Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi would be, at this point, itself an inappropriate judicial intervention into the affairs of the political branches, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald just sealed the deal. There ain't no turning back now.

If the court "rules," it looks like just pure Republican politicians.

And isn't voting what Judge Sumi's been telling the Bros. Fitzgerald to do for months? Yes, yes it is. So why didn't the Bros. do it months ago?

They sure could have saved everybody a lot of grief, and expense.

WMC boo-hooing about some chalk drawings

The state's largest business lobby is denouncing a "graffiti attack" to its building and its statue over the weekend, but Madison police said no damage was done.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent millions of dollars tearing down an honorable man's character and reputation, and we're supposed to be troubled at some chalk drawings on their HQ? Give me a break.

The mud is more à propos, however, considering WMC's sleazy tactics.

I'm sure it looks damn good on 'em. And certainly well deserved.

@PolitiFactWisc appeals to a dubious authority

As Jay Bullock notes. "Photo ID laws do not directly bar anyone from voting," asserts PolitiFact. They sure do if you don't have the photo ID.

Is this thing a fact check or a WISGOP apologetic?

Hello again, Huebsch

How was your weekend? Mine was great, thanks fer askin'!

I see from the old Google Analytics on the wall we had a couple of visits again over the weekend from service provider "state of wi dept. of administration." Maybe we'll start a regular feature: "Huebsch Hitsh."

Last week we enjoyed 256 visits. Amazing they get any work done.

Journal-Sentinel encouraged by Walker budget

Even as, the Journal Communications, Inc. daily organ admits, 'the burden of this budget will most likely fall heaviest on children, workers, poor women, and municipalities.' Meanwhile the Journal-Sentinel reports that "what will happen with the collective bargaining measure is still unknown." But yesterday Journal-Communications, Inc. marquee wing-nut Charlie Sykes told his ironic and non-ironic viewers — assuming Charlie Sykes even has any of the latter viewers — that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will exercise its supervisory power over Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi this morning.* Which would be great timing because Secretary of Capitol Building Maintenance Supervision Mike Huebsch says there will be thousands of protesters in Madison today.

But obviously Charlie Sykes has no idea why the high court would so act.

* The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will release one opinion tomorrow, June 14, but it isn't "In re Petition of Scott Walker" either.

June 12, 2011

Appalled Glenn Grothman is appalled

Dept. of Selective Fauxtrage
"I think there is a class of people who lives to get a disorderly conduct ticket. It is a badge of honor of certain leftists in Madison, and they do disrupt things," Glenn Grothman said.
Boo hoo. I'll be impressed when Grothman is appalled by his WISGOP colleagues — including the Republican governor and top Republican legislative leaders — who broke the law and violated the constitution.

June 11, 2011

Blargher Kevin Binversie turns eight years old

According to WisOpinion.com's "featured blogs" feed. That seems about right, mentality-wise. But in fact Binversie turns seven days old at 1:41 p.m. today, as I read the statute and the USPS delivery confirmation.

Perhaps he believes I was kidding, or have forgotten. Nope to both.

WISGOP just gives up on defending policies

Reports the Journal-Sentinel:
Republicans and their backers could spend millions of dollars beating up on the "legitimate" Democratic challengers in the attempt to keep them out of the general election, and the incumbent targeted for recall could just sit out the primary.
Because the Republicans are the grown-ups, the Party of Ideas.

I don't understand why anybody would fall for this underhandedness. Evidently the WISGOP has a low opinion of Wisconsin voters' intelligence.


June 10, 2011

Local blogger obsessively high-F5'd by Huebschians

I was just checking my Google Analytics stats and noticed that service provider "state of wi dept. of administration" visited here 256 times over the past week. Of course I don't know whether those are friend, foe, or indifferent, but read in conjunction with Dane101's report that a State "emergency response team" is "monitor[ing] protest related activity on social media sites," honestly, it's a little bit of creepy.

And it's 23% more than the 208 visits from service provider "university of wisconsin madison," that notorious hotbed of revolt-fomenting.

Just so you know, I'm not exactly Abbie Hoffman over here.

R.I.P., the One and Only Imants Krumins

I'm very, very sad to learn that Imants Krumins, a legend to those of us who had the pleasure of knowing him, has passed away. If you happen across this blog via Googling his name, please feel free to leave a remembrance or a Krumins story in the comments. I haven't seen Imants in ages (at least 20 years) but to this day still laugh out loud when I think of him. Krumins was always laughing, always joking, and always cracking up everybody who was around. He was quite an extraordinary fellow.

From his obituary:
Imants was hugely respected for his knowledge of music and his contribution to the local music community.
So true.

And by music community they mean the alternative, underground, noisy-punk music community, which is remarkable in part because Krumins — when I knew him, at least — was a bank manager and perfectly suited the part: straightest looking character you ever saw. He once arranged a bank loan for another friend of ours so he could travel to New York City to see some band, which I thought was hilarious.

For a while he hosted a midnight radio show at the university station, where he'd spin the most obscure punk records, some of which I'm sure he was the only one other than the band who had a copy, or had ever heard of. He'd play two records that were pretty much indistinguishable noise to me, and then pronounce the one "great" and the other "shit."

That still cracks me up.

Below is a link to a decade-old Imants Krumins appreciation:
IMANTS invented Punk Rock.
I believe it was for the Pig Paper that Krumins authored his celebrated advice-to-the-lovelorn column, Imants on Romance, in which Krumins adopted a sort of Fred Blassie pose (Krumins was a big pro wrestling fan). Following a plaintive, sincere expression from some heartbroken correspondent, Imants on Romance would reply, "Ah, shut your neck."

But he wasn't like that at all in real life. Imants will be sorely missed.

By a lot of people all over the place, that is for certain.

eta: More Imants Krumins encomiums here. See what I'm sayin'?

Wisconsin Supreme Court accepts five new cases

But none of them is "Petition of Walker."

WICourts.gov news release.

One is of a part to the ongoing Miranda warning wrangle, however.

Which reminds me, on Monday, Deputy AG Kevin St. John declared that "the Open Meetings Law is not a rule of constitutional law," by way of claiming the requirements of the OML are not explicitly mandated by the Wisconsin constitution. According to the identical reasoning, Mr. St. John might further argue that neither is the Miranda warning "a rule of constitutional law." However, we know that it is indeed a rule of constitutional law because former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (and formerly of Shorewood, Wisconsin) William Rehnquist told us so in the celebrated Miranda case, 2000's Dickerson v. United States.*

Thus if we apply the reasoning of Dickerson to Walker's predicament, the governor and his Republican friends and counsel don't fare so well.

So in retrospect maybe he/they didn't want to go there.

* This was a pretty good blawg poast, if I do say so meself.

Scott Walker and the separation of WISGOP powers

Advertisement: Please visit the CAPITOL KAOS archives
[Wis. Stat. Sec.] 165.25(1) [The department of justice shall] appear for the state and prosecute or defend all actions and proceedings, civil or criminal, in the court of appeals and the supreme court, in which the state is interested or a party, and attend to and prosecute or defend all civil cases sent or remanded to any circuit court in which the state is a party.

165.25(1m) If requested by the governor or either house of the legislature, appear for and represent the state, any state department, agency, official, employee or agent, whether required to appear as a party or witness in any civil or criminal matter, and prosecute or defend in any court or before any officer, any cause or matter, civil or criminal, in which the state or the people of this state may be interested.
Here's another interesting and thus far overlooked tidbit from last Monday's marathon session of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, wherein Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John concedes directly to the Chief Justice that the Department of Justice is appearing not on behalf of Secretary of Capitol Building Maintenance Mike Huebsch, but on the explicit direction of the governor, Scott Walker. And what Walker is complaining about is, ironically, a separation of powers violation.

During St. John's oral presentation, the Chief Justice is engaging the lawyer on some procedural posturings. Recall that while the hearings were underway in Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi's court in Ozanne v. Fitzgerald, Judge Sumi issued a temporary restraining order. A TRO is not a "final judgment" and the difference between a TRO and a final judgment is determinative of how Scott Fitzgerald and the other defendants may attack a judge's disposition, be it final or temporary.

In Wisconsin there exists a right to appeal final judgments, but if the defendant Republican legislators here wish to attack the TRO, they must be granted permission to do so by the court of appeals. Thus did the Department of Justice file a motion for permission to appeal a non-final order (the TRO) on March 21 with the District IV Court of Appeals.

The court of appeals declined to entertain that motion, but rather certified ("passed on," or "kicked upstairs," in the vernacular) the DOJ's petition to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court announced nothing further with regard to that petition until June 3, when it issued an order consolidating it with the DOJ's petition for a supervisory writ, as in the interim between scheduling oral arguments on whether to entertain the supervisory writ, Judge Sumi did indeed issue a final judgment.

So the Chief Justice is wondering about from whence comes the DOJ's authority to bring the petition for a supervisory writ (a writ is a court order, and in this case the DOJ is seeking an order vacating Judge Sumi's disposition based on the Supreme Court's supervisory authority over the circuit courts). The petition for a supervisory writ was filed in the name of Mike Huebsch, but what the record transcribed below reveals is that the order came directly from Governor Walker himself, something Mr. St. John appears to be distinctly uncomfortable with admitting.

The exchange between the Chief Justice and the deputy AG, related to the foregoing issues of who gets to do what and when begins at 00:43:10 of Wisconsin Eye's video of the oral arguments and the CJ gets to the Walker's Point at 00:45:10. The ellipses are pauses, not edits.
CJA: Under what authority does the State bring this proceeding?

KSJ: The State brings this proceeding under [Wis. Stat. Sec. 165.25(1)(m) — see above].

CJA: 165 ... yes.

KSJ: 165.25, sub. 1m.

CJA: Point 25, one ...

KSJ: 1m.

CJA: What does that say, counsel?

KSJ: That provides, that says that the attorney general and I ... quote the statute [KSJ retrieves Volume 3 of the Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations] ...

CJA: 165 ... 25 ...

KSJ: It needs to be read in conjunction with sub. 1, but 1m provides that if requested by the governor or either house of the legislature ...

CJA: Okay.

KSJ: ... may ...

CJA: Did the governor make any request?

KSJ: Yes.

CJA: Is that on record?

KSJ: It's not part of the record for petition [for a supervisory writ]. The State appears in many actions at the request of the governor or on the legislature and wouldn't file that with the court. We'd be happy to do so if that were required.

CJA: Therefore, and represent the State. Okay, the court will take that under advisement. Is that what you're relying on, 'If requested by the governor, appear for and represent the State'?

KSJ: Mm hmm. In any matter in which the State or the people of this State may be interested. There's been a determination made ...

CJA: Oh wait, what about the sentence, "whether required to appear as a party or witness"? That clause.

KSJ: Mm hmm. In any ...

CJA: Well ...

KSJ: And prosecute or defend ...

CJA: Are you required to appear here as a party? Here?

KSJ: Uh, there's no requirement ...

CJA: Okay. So you're going on to, "and prosecute in any court," right?

KSJ: That's correct.

CJA: "In which the State or the people may be interested."

KSJ: That's correct.

CJA: Okay. This is one of the things that is ... and on page four of your Ozanne you rely on 165.25, but there you say only that the AG decides whether what's the best interest of the State so now you're relying on the governor, is that it?

KSJ: There is authority in this case from the governor, there is also authority in this court's precedent that says that the attorney general may appear before this court with or without the governor's approval to advance an interest of the State.
He goes on. But he's already admitted to the Chief Justice, who is more interested in the express language of the State statutes, that in this case what he's relying on is a request from the governor, Scott Walker.

So you have Republican Scott Walker, the chief executive branch officer, petitioning the Republican-controlled Supreme Court,* the top entity within the judicial branch, to in effect discipline a lower court because it ruled against his Republican pals and allies in the legislative branch. And what Walker is complaining about ultimately is a violation of the doctrine of constitutional separation of powers. That is one not-too-subtle irony.

Deputy AG St. John's pursed "mm hmms" indicate he was none too comfortable with the Chief Justice's line of inquiry. Witnesses at trial who answer "mm hmm" rather than "yes" are often admonished by the court for not speaking up clearly and affirmatively. I wonder why St. John was so reticent at providing this information, that the Department of Justice is acting on the direct order of Governor Scott Walker.

Because the named petitioner clearly has no idea what's going on.

Since Monday a slew of additional documents were filed with the State Supreme Court, but this space doesn't know whether Walker's directive to the DOJ is among them. It may well be quite an edifying read.

* Let's dispense with the "nonpartisan" façade for a moment. Everybody knows how many millions of dollars (and thousands of logically fallacious and unethical teevee ads) Republican-affiliated outfits have produced and spent to ensure and protect the current make-up of the court.

June 9, 2011

What Wis. Admin Sec. Mike Huebsch believes

Simply amazing:
"The court can remove the temporary restraining order, say the law is in effect and allow the Department of Administration to implement," WI Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch said.
There is no temporary restraining order. There is a final judgment. A final judgment needs to be appealed, and there is no appeal pending.

Does Huebsch not even know why he filed for a supervisory writ instead?
This is a final Judgment for purposes of appeal as to the validity of the actions taken on March 9, 2011. This Judgment supersedes previous orders made in this case. — BY THE COURT [05/26/11]
And has Huebsch even read the decisions or orders he's challenging?

At least he admits his case rests on "philosophical issues," not the law.
If [the Wisconsin Supreme Court doesn't] act quickly, Huebsch said, the Legislature is prepared to put the plan in the state budget and pass it before the end of the month.
Well then, Just Do It [/Mike swoosh].

Shorter Scott Walker v. Dane County Cir. Ct.

From here:
[S]ix hours of oral argument before the Wisconsin Supreme Court has failed to identify any factual or legal finding of the circuit court that was plainly wrong. — Marquette law prof Ed Fallone
Exactly so. And indeed the closest any of the justices came to implying that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi had done anything even approaching abusing her discretion came from Justice Annette Zeigler, who asserted elements of Judge Sumi's disposition were "unusual."

Well, it's an unusual case. The disposition is straightforward as can be.

Hardly grounds for the Supreme Court to exercise its supervisory authority over the trial court. Mr. Huebsch's petition* must be denied.

* It's actually Scott Walker's petition, as we shall see momentarily.

Milwaukee kids catch the sulfurous waft

MPS responds to art class drawings of Gov. Walker as 'devil'

Turnabout's fair play, I reckon, as wing-nut high priestess/devout Christian Ann Coulter just released a book on liberals called "Demonic."

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial "bizarre"

Says it — or they, or she, or he — of this week's Wisconsin Supreme Court marathon oral arguments, characterizing as among Governor Scott Walker's lawyer's various claims and assertions:
... the bizarre argument articulated Monday by Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John, who said during a state Supreme Court hearing that courts could not invalidate a statute because lawmakers violated the open meetings law.
While St. John's hour-long ramble was indeed occasionally bizarre to the extent the ethically-challenged judge Mike Gableman had several times interruptingly to leap from the bench — albeit not literally — to come to the attorney's assistance, the argument St. John was attempting to make is that courts could not invalidate a bill until it had become law.

Moreover, St. John is in denial over whether Republican lawmakers violated the Open Meetings Law (which they very clearly did: one of St. John's own colleagues admitted it on the record, leaving the trial court no choice but to enjoin the WISGOP shenanigans). What is bizarre is the Journal-Sentinel editorial board's reliance on the organ's own report of the proceedings, which claims Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi "was allowed" to file a brief in an action brought by (purportedly) Walker's right-hand building maintenance supervisor Mike Huebsch.

"Normally, judges don't file briefs in cases with the Supreme Court," reports the J-S, which is true as a general matter, I suppose, except in this case, the Dane County Circuit Court, Judge Sumi presiding, was named as a party to the action,* so it would be abnormal if a party to an appellate court case didn't file a brief. But the facts of the matter — which bear repeating once again — are that Judge Sumi was ordered to file the brief, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 809.51(2) and pursuant to the Supreme Court's order of May 4, 2011. Those are just the plain facts.

And those would be kind of important points.

"Normally, Wisconsin circuit court judges don't flagrantly disobey orders of the Wisconsin Supreme Court," is more like it, and accurate.

* "Respondent," to be exact, which of itself should be self-explanatory.

June 8, 2011

JRN's Charlie Sykes, Father of Twits

"MikeTateWatch" is the Twitter account of some kook up north who's obsessed with stalking the Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair and devoted to posting his own deranged fantasies on the internets. There is exactly as much truth to the above claim as there was to Charlie Sykes's repeated insistence that the WI Dems were behind JoAnne Kloppenburg's demand for a Statewide recount of the April general election ballots.

That is, none whatsoever. But look to the far-right of the retweeters and see who was the first to spread this falsehood among his wing-nut discipleship: None other than the so-called "blogfather," Charlie Sykes.

Not that it wouldn't be a fine idea, mind you.

And that Mike Gableman gave anybody a lesson in the law, harsh or otherwise, is as ridiculous as law professor to the wing-nuts Rick Esenberg alleging this space's legal knowledge is limited to "horn books."

I happen to be aware of several readers prominent in the Wisconsin legal community who would say and indeed have very kindly said otherwise.

Incidentally, Charlie Sykes has your humble correspondent "blocked" on Twitter, despite my not even "following" him, the poor paranoid sod.

As if I would, although Sykes is probably why they named it "Twit-ter."

Glossary: JRN = Journal Communications, Inc.

June 7, 2011

Wisconsin: More about those anarchists

My friend and object of admiration Emily Mills. And my Bible, Bob Marley, who said Chant Down Babylon, not shout down Bob Jauch.

Gonna trod until Babylon falls *

* As the pavement-pounding recall signature-collectors might say.

Shorter Huebsch v. Sumi

If you don't have time to watch yesterday's entire marathon Wisconsin Supreme Court oral arguments, just watch these three lawyers.

Wisconsin Eye Part 2 of 3:

01:07:44 — Robert Jambois, counsel for Rep. Peter Barca
01:33:12 — Lester Pines, counsel for Sen. Mark Miller
02:05:18 — Roger Sage, counsel for Sec. of State Doug La Follette

Mr. Sage's presentation might be said to be optional, as he is addressing the question of whether 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 was published in the constitutional sense, and you already know all about that. In fact many of the issues raised by Messrs. Jambois and Pines would already be familiar to regular readers of this here blog. And while the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that the justices "expressed skepticism" toward the reasoning contained in Judge Sumi's temporary and final rulings, which is true to some extent, you won't hear much skepticism from the bench during either the Jambois or the Pines presentations.

And while the Journal-Sentinel reports* that "the most aggressive questioning came from Justice Michael Gableman," it came during the presentation of Dane County DA Ismail Ozanne (00:01:18) who, with all due respect, is probably less used to addressing the structural constitutional questions at issue in these two consolidated cases.

Last night apparently there were some rumors circulating that the court was preparing to vacate Judge Sumi's ruling, which would have the effect of codifying 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.** If that were to come to pass, I suspect the law might again be enjoined immediately, on the same factual grounds its publication was enjoined in the first place. And the said codification would have the effect of rendering Gableman's objections moot almost in their totality, insofar as those objections were grounded in the beloved 1943 case Goodland v. Zimmerman, which teaches that a court may not interfere with the legislative process until a bill becomes law (that is, in Wisconsin, once its publication is made).

Gableman's apparent objections appear to presume that the trial court, where Judge Sumi presides, is a rule-making authority rather than a circuit court making a narrow decision based only on the facts presented in evidence to that particular court.*** In other words, the concerns expressed by Gableman and appearing in the lead paragraphs of the Journal-Sentinel report are representative of a slippery slope fallacy.

Generally courts do not make rulings grounded in logical fallacies.

But you never know, with this one.

In any event, the guy you have to watch is Justice Patrick Crooks, who raised concerns similar to those of my friend Bill Tyroler, who suggests that the authority conferred on the district attorney by the Open Meetings Law to challenge the constitutionality of the legislative process is itself an unconstitutional delegation of power by the legislature to the executive branch, under which auspices the district attorney operates.

As this space has been observing practically since the outset of this controversy, it seems to me the only way the court can vacate Judge Sumi's very conservative, very restrained reasoning is to find the provisions of the Open Meetings Law upon which Judge Sumi relied to be themselves violative of judge-made — or at least judge-inferred — constitutional law doctrine. Why the Wisconsin Department of Justice is pursuing the objective of restricting public access to the operation of State government is either a mystery or completely typical and expected of the Republican Scott Walker administration and its disciples and allies.

* And once again, it is simply not correct to say that Judge Sumi was "allowed" to file a legal brief further to building maintenance supervisor Mike Huebsch's petition to the Supreme Court for a supervisory writ directed at Judge Sumi. Judge Sumi was ordered by the Supreme Court to file the brief. And now she is being criticized for not disobeying that order. This is how absurd the Wisconsin Department of Justice, under the direction of Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John, has become.

** a.k.a. "legislating from the bench."

*** Among the more amusing moments during yesterday's proceedings was when Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson directed Deputy AG St. John to cease and desist from referring to the circuit court as an "inferior court." The circuit court's function is different; it is not "inferior." And indeed the expression "inferior court" is plucked from federal law — which has no bearing on the cases at bar — where it appears in the federal Constitution. In fact, as this space has pointed out previously, despite the U.S. Constitution's reference to "inferior courts" which may be created from time to time by the Congress, the Article III judicial power inheres equally among the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeal, and the United States District Courts (the parallel entities to the State circuit courts). Shirley is the best.

St. John, like many a right-wing ideologue, is a devotee of ad hominem.

June 6, 2011

Club for Grothman files complaint against Sumi

Reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

It would be nice if the Journal-Sentinel reported Sumi was ordered to submit the legal brief the Club for Grothman is complaining about.

(The link is to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's calumnist Patrick McIlheran flat-out lying about Judge Maryann Sumi's decision and order.)

It's a ridiculous complaint filed by ridiculous people, going nowhere.

Here's another one:

Barca's attorney says GOP intended to break meetings law

But Robert Jambois said no such thing. In fact the trial court's record showed that the Republicans in the legislature tried to cut the Open Meetings Law requirement of two hours notice as close to the bone as possible. Which is actually worse, because it demonstrates that the Republicans knew they had to provide a minimum of two hours notice and then they screwed up big time. The rest is post hoc rationalization.

Read the (non-wingnut) blogs, not the paper.

By the gods, what a freakin' wiener!

My local Pick 'n Save just started carrying Nathan's hot dogs.


If you were after the other wiener, check the elite DC pundits. They're obsessed.

Wisconsin Supreme Court schedules goat rodeo

SCOWI oral argument preview: Mike Gableman is "tireless, indefatigable and brilliant." — Justice David Prosser 04/18/11
In re: 2011AP000765-W and 2011AP000613-LV

This morning's line-up:
State ex rel Mike Huebsch: 50 minutes (Maria Lazar [?])
Dane County Circuit Court: 15 minutes (Dean Strang)
Dane County District Atty: 15 minutes (Ismail Ozanne)
State Rep. Peter Barca (D): 10 minutes (Bob Jambois*)
State Sen. Mark Miller (D): 10 minutes (Lester Pines)
Sec. of State Doug La Follette: 10 minutes (Roger Sage)
Huebsch rebuttal: 10 minutes [Misc. DOJ]
The festivities commence at 9:45 a.m., Central Standard Time.

Now maybe the Wisconsin Department of Justice will explain how and why Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law is unconstitutional, complete with citations to relevant 17th century English parliamentary common law.

Livetweeting (hopefully).

* Jambois should feature among the highlights.

eta 01: Deputy AG Kevin St. John appeared for State ex rel Huebsch and Dean Strang's law firm colleague Marie Stanton appeared for the Dane County Circuit Court (Judge Sumi). Those are all the attorneys the court heard from by 12:10 p.m. before adjourning for lunch until 1:30, so that's only two lawyers down and five to go. Gonna be a looong day.

Hard to say where things are going to shake out at this point but — and, real superficial observation here — the court's so-called conservatives appear to be more inclined to sympathize with the DOJ's demand for what is essentially judicial activism and legislating from the bench.

eta 02: "17th century English parliamentary common law." Think I was joking eh? St. John actually invoked it, without being prompted. It's supposed to override the laws of Wisconsin. This is how the DOJ argues.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Randy Hopper wants to "mount" ASAP

But WISGOP says Hopper needs more time to "mount"

Maybe not the best choice of words?
"Let me freakin' be done," Randy Hopper said.
That can probably be arranged.

See also: Sen. Randy "Bed" Hopper threatens WI citizen (Audio NSFW)

June 5, 2011

Wisconsin anarchists have Roland Garros to thank

File under: lolz
French open preempts hippie punching on SYKES INCITE this a.m. #wiunion
h/t Brew City Brawler.

Puzzled Journal Communications, Inc. is puzzled

Journal Communications, Inc.'s daily organ the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is puzzled as to where Scott Walker got the idea to stomp all over Wisconsin workers' rights to collectively bargain and negotiate the terms of their contracts. "Speculation persists," announces the organ.

Actually, no. As Scott Walker himself explained, it came from Jesus.

Interlude: Son Of A Preacher Man (Joss Stone)

June 4, 2011

And now here's some law for Cindy Kilkenny

Please try to pay attention for a change:
No person may ... make a representation that he or she is authorized to [engage in the practice of law in Wisconsin] unless the person is currently licensed to practice law in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and is an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. — Wis. Supreme Court Rule 23.02(1).
Don't you wing-nuts understand I know this stuff, having sworn to it?*

Your baseless presumptuousness is positively daft. See also SCR 23.01, "Definition of practice of law," especially sub. (5), "Any other activity determined to be the practice of law by the Wisconsin Supreme Court."

Be my guest. Put your money where your mouth is. Fill yer boots.

Otherwise kindly mind your own business instead of mine.

* Before none other than WaukCo. favorite Justice David Prosser.