Monday, March 26, 2012

Brad Blog dissects the 29 GOP Ethics Complaints against Wisconsin Judges.

When Brad Blog's pursuit of fair elections and voting rights protections takes notice of the rank hypocrisy and phony outrage of the Wisconsin GOP, you know we've got a real problem. They detail  how Republicans are trying to have it both ways, in this recent article edited for space:
In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP's polling place photo ID restriction ("Act 23"), after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution's guaranteed right to vote. Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.

(After) Neiss' permanent injunction one week later, (and) a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions.

While the WI Code of Judicial Conduct prevents judges from endorsing political candidates, it does not prevent them from voting. Monroe County Judge J. David Rice, who signed a recall petition himself, states that he did so only after Jim Alexander, the executive director of the WI Judicial Commission, informed him that doing so would not violate the code. Those rules note: "Complete separation of a judge from extrajudicial activities is neither possible nor wise; a judge should not become isolated from the society in which the judge lives."
Here’s where the Republican Party poses the biggest problem to law and order in this country; they are perfectly fine with manipulating and making exceptions when it’s to their convenience. And the following two examples are BIG EXCEPTIONS:
In Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002), the GOP argued, and the GOP-appointed majority on the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, that the MN "Supreme Court's canon of judicial conduct prohibiting candidates for judicial election from announcing their views on disputed legal and political issues [violated] the First Amendment" rights of those seeking judicial office.

And as Bradblog points out: On one hand, the WI GOP is outraged enough to file an ethics complaint against a judge who signed a petition to recall a politician … On the other, the same WI GOP trumpeted their support for WI Supreme Court Justice David Prosser as he signaled his intent, during his re-election bid last year, to facilitate the Walker administration's political agenda by promising to advance "conservative values" from the bench.

But then, perhaps today's WI GOP believes that the rights afforded by the First Amendment, as affirmed in the 2002 U.S. Supreme Court case, only apply to Republicans.

Hard-right American billionaires, like the Koch brothers, operating through front groups like the Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), seek nothing less than to dismantle our constitutional, representative form of democracy and to replace it with an autocratic and plutocratic, corporate security state. Landmark Legal Foundation President, far right-wing talk radio host Mark Levin, has compared "President Obama to Hitler and referred to the National Organization for Women as the 'National Organization of Really Ugly Women.'"

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