Here is my full column for the Washington County Daily News that ran earlier this week.
Early voting for the spring election is in full swing and the future of Wisconsin sits on the razor’s edge. If Daniel Kelly is elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the court will retain its slight lean to the left with changeling Justice Brian Hagedorn siding with the court’s liberal bloc more often than not on 4-3 rulings. If Janet Protasiewicz is elected, then expect the court’s new majority liberal activist bloc to abandon any pretense of government restraint and run roughshod over citizens’ rights.
It is regrettable that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has had to serve as the last bastion of defense against government overreach, but that has increasingly been its role as government officials progressively don the mantle of a ruling class. In just the last few years, the court has often (not often enough) stood athwart the path of government tyranny. During the pandemic, Gov. Tony Evers went to extraordinary lengths to exert government control over our lives. Even after it was clear that the virus was not nearly as lethal as originally thought and was primarily a threat to the elderly and immunocompromised, Evers sought to extend his personal arbitrary rule over our lives by suspending regular order with perpetual emergency health orders.
Under the threat of using the violent power of government, Evers illegally extended his emergency dictatorial orders to force citizens to stay in their homes, close their businesses, restrain their freedom of movement, force everyone to wear masks, and close their schools. In a ruling that should have been unanimous, only four of the court’s seven justices ruled that Evers had violated the law and returned the state to constitutional rule and the rule of law. How much more damage would Evers’ have illegally wrought had the court not stepped in?
With all of the other overreaches, we scarcely remember that Governor Evers also tried to suspend Wisconsinites’ right to self-governance. Just three years ago, Evers ordered that Wisconsin indefinitely delay the April election, thus denying citizens the right to elect their leaders in a despotic abandonment of democracy. Again, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had to act to ensure that the election would be held and that democracy would not be suspended by the orders of a single man.
Governor Evers’ attempts to enact dictatorial rule to the cheers of elected Democrats is the most dramatic recent example of the Supreme Court protecting citizens from government overreach, but there are dozens of other examples.
For decades, Wisconsinites have trembled at the regulatory despotism of the Department of Natural Resources.
Whether hunting, fishing, farming, or simply trying to enjoy a lake cottage, the DNR has long stretched its statutory mandates into private lives and properties. The Supreme Court has stepped in a number of times to check the DNR’s overreaches.
Last decade, the DNR tried to extend its public-trust jurisdiction to include non-navigable waters and land and to use “scenic beauty” as a benchmark for regulation. This overreach would have the DNR exercising authority over virtually all private property and able to base regulations on the agency’s aesthetic preferences. In 2013, the court ruled that the DNR did not have this authority.
Similarly, the DNR attempted to use its regulatory power to unilaterally change pier permits even after a pier had been installed. This had the impact of forcing homeowners to spend thousands of dollars to comply with arbitrary and shifting regulations. In 2019, the court ruled that the DNR was overreaching again and is not allowed to issue ex-post-facto regulations.
Wisconsin’s leftists have be unrestrained in their glee for using the court to unbind the overreaching claws of government by electing Protasiewicz to the high court.
Everything is on the table. Unrestrained tax increases by invalidating Act 10. Making it easier to cheat in elections by striking down voter ID. Disarming citizens by ignoring Second Amendment rights. Unleashing regulatory agencies like the DNR or Department of Transportation by allowing them to interpret their own authority. Liberating criminals at the expense of victims. Democratic gerrymandering on the scale of Illinois. Crushing business with regulations in the name of equity. Forced unionization by striking down right to work. Unrestrained indoctrination and abuse of parental rights through our government schools.
It is all on the table.
The question to be decided next week is whether Wisconsin will try to continue on the messy road of representative government and constitutional restraint, or whether it will take the road of arbitrary rule of unrestrained government by judicial decree.
Vote for Daniel Kelly. Vote for the continuation of this grand experiment in self-governance.
Well, the liberal won in the Supreme Court in Wisconsin and and extremist win wins Chicago.
Glad I don’t live anywhere near Wisconsin and Chicago.
Elections have consequences