If there was any doubt as to the importance of the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the outrageous ruling by rogue Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess should vanquish it. The leftists have shown that they are willing to use the power of the judicial branch to advance their radical agenda without scruples or remorse. Against such an onslaught, a Supreme Court comprised of strict constitutionalists serves as the last bastion against the judicial usurpation of our representative government.
In the waning days of the last legislative session, the Legislature passed a series of laws to shore up their gains of the previous eight years before the Democrats assumed control of the executive branch. In a clear violation of the separation of powers principle and a gross overreach of judicial authority, a single, lowly Dane County judge ruled that the entire extraordinary season was unconstitutional, and thus, all of the laws duly passed during the session are unconstitutional. In his ruling, Judge Niess ignored the clear wording of the Constitution, the statutes, and decades of legislative practice by both major political parties. Judge Niess’ ruling was not based on law. It was based on advancing a liberal political outcome.
If you wondered what that outcome was, Democrats Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul quickly confirmed it as they moved swiftly after the ruling to withdraw the state from the federal Obamacare lawsuit and begin the process of replacing the 82 people appointed by Gov. Scott Walker who were confirmed in that session.
The ruling is such an egregious overreach that if it holds, it would invalidate hundreds of laws passed over the past several decades. The Legislature has been meeting in extraordinary seasons for years, as is their prerogative, to pass legislation. The most recent extraordinary session was to listen to Governor Evers’ budget address. But before that, taxpayer funding for Fiserv Forum, redistricting, campaign finance laws, government funding laws, and much more have been passed in extraordinary sessions.
In all, the Legislature has held over two dozen extraordinary sessions over the previous two generations for the purpose of passing laws supported by both Democrats and Republicans. If extraordinary sessions are themselves unconstitutional, as Judge Niess’ preposterous partisan ruling states, then all of those laws would be unconstitutional.
Thankfully, Dane County Judge Niess’ ruling will likely be stayed by an appeals court this week before being completely overturned. If Dane County voters have any fidelity to the rule of law, Niess will be run off the bench for his blatant abuse of power. He is a disgrace.
The judicial system is designed to correct for rogue and incompetent judges by allowing bad decisions to be appealed through multiple higher courts. But if the same rabid partisanship that infects Judge Niess is permitted to spread to the Supreme Court, the Legislature and governor will be relegated to merely being entertaining political theater because the austere tyrants in black robes will make all of the real decisions.
Judge Niess, Governor Evers, and Attorney General Kaul tipped their hands to how they will neuter the power of the Republican-led Legislature if the radical leftists take control of the state Supreme Court. They will follow the path of the leftist horde after Governor Walker was elected. They will get a fellow traveler on the Dane County bench to rule laws they do not like as unconstitutional, and then act by judicial and executive fiat. Except this time, instead of the Supreme Court overturning bad rulings and showing deference to the Constitution and the tenets of representative government, a leftist-dominated court will set the leftist agenda into stone.
On April 2, or anytime this week via early voting, it is critically important that Wisconsin elect Judge Brian Hagedorn to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He has demonstrated the appropriate humility, firm adherence to the Constitution, and deference to representative government necessary to protect the individual rights of Wisconsinites. If the Supreme Court is to remain a bulwark for individual liberty and representative government, we need to elect justices like Brian Hagedorn who believe in those principles.
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