Friday, January 18, 2019

Desperate GOP Lame Duck Laws Struck Down: Early Voting and Politician Twitter Block!!!

Wisconsin's hard core Republican extremist legislature needs a little continuing education in civics and constitutional law.

Power didn't just corrupt, it also made Republicans forget who they were elected to serve. Oh, and gerrymandering also made it impossible for Republicans to claim the voters chose them when in fact it was the other way around.

The GOP's lame duck legislation is coming apart at the seams in the courts. 

And Scott Walker's legacy? Well, he signed off on this illegal stuff, and he'll be remembered for it:  

It's a big victory for now Attorney General Josh Kaul, who at the time, represented One Wisconsin Institute and Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund. Is there any question at this point Republicans don't want people to vote, or even believe in the idea of elections themselves? 

Moving swiftly, a federal judge struck down limits on early voting that Republican lawmakers approved last month in a lame-duck session. In a five-page ruling, U.S. District Judge James Peterson concluded the new limits on early voting are invalid because they so closely mirror ones he struck down as unconstitutional in 2016. His decision also threw out parts of the lame-duck laws affecting IDs and other credentials that can be used for voting.

"This is not a close question: the three challenged provisions are clearly inconsistent with the (2016) injunctions that the court has issued in this case," Peterson wrote. Peterson also ruled that temporary voting credentials will be valid for 180 days instead of 60 days, as Republican lawmakers wanted. The credentials are given to people who have difficulty getting state ID cards because they lack birth certificates or other documents. Peterson's ruling also requires the state to allow students to use expired college IDs to vote. Republican lawmakers wanted college IDs to be accepted only if they had not expired.

No Brainer First Amendment Violation: A judge overturned a Twitter block by 3 Republicans legislators. Thanks to Trump, twitter accounts by politicians are now public and subject to the First Amendment. Irony? 

Federal District Judge William Conley ruled that three Wisconsin state legislators - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, and former Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer of Kewaskum - violated the free speech rights of a liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, when the lawmakers blocked the group from their respective Twitter feeds.

Scot Ross, the group's executive director, called the decision a victory for "open, transparent and accountable government. Elected officials can’t exclude people from public forums just because they don’t agree with their political views or don’t want to hear what they may have to say," Ross said in an email.

Conley wrote that the case presented a "novel question of law for this court: is the interactive portion of a government official’s Twitter account a designated public forum?
While there is no settled law on whether a government actor’s social media account is a designated public forum, two federal district courts have now held that government officials’ social media accounts can constitute public forums," Conley wrote, adding that the lawmakers presented no reason for blocking One Wisconsin Now, "except by vague innuendo or by claiming that they must have had a valid reason but can no longer remember why they did so."

Conley's ruling follows a decision from a federal judge in New York, who in May said President Donald Trump is not permitted under the U.S. Constitution to block people from his Twitter feed. In that case, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, determined that Trump's Twitter account is considered a "public forum" under the Constitution because it is an interactive space where Twitter users can dialogue directly with him and other users. She also found that by blocking people from it, Trump was discriminating against them based on their viewpoint.

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