Boots & Sabers

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1719, 13 Oct 23

Wisconsin Supreme Court begins assault

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week:

After the new leftists majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court launched an aggressive interbranch offensive against the legislative branch, the Legislature appears poised to return fire. It is going to get messy.


Our Wisconsin state government, modeled after the national government, is designed with three co-equal branches. Each branch is empowered with specific powers to check the other two branches. The structure is designed to prevent any single branch from becoming preeminent, or tyrannical, at the expense of the other two branches. The checks are designed to preserve the balance.


When Janet Protasiewicz was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April, she tipped the balance of the court from conservative to leftist. Normally, such changes in the past have been frustrating for the losing side, but not dramatic. Liberals dominated the court as recently as 2008 and they had held that majority for decades.


This time is different. Both Protasiewicz and her fellow judicial leftists made it very clear during the election that they planned to use their majority power on the court to advance their leftist political agenda. Protasiewicz campaigned at length on topics like abortion, Act 10, and legislative maps. This is a significant change from a time when judges promised to rule on the facts of cases that might come before them to overtly advocating for changing policy from the bench. It is a blunt usurpation of power for the Supreme Court to take upon itself the power of creating and changing laws. That power is reserved for the legislative branch with approval of the executive branch.


We see events playing out as predicted by this column. Taking the Judicial Junta up on their offer to invalidate the legislature and make law from the bench, a group of leftist special interests filed a lawsuit asking to redraw Wisconsin’s political maps. Last week, the court agreed to bypass all of the lower courts and take original action on the case.


The post-census decennial apportionment of legislative boundaries is exclusively a power of the legislative branch as detailed in Article IV, Section 3, of the state Constitution. Despite the fact that the maps were duly debated, passed, challenged in several courts, and affirmed as legal and constitutional by state and federal courts, this group is challenging them again. The only thing that has changed since the maps were decided is that a Judicial Junta took over the court with the election of Protasiewicz. The law has not changed. The Constitution has not changed. The facts have not changed. We have had several elections with these maps. None of that matters to this court. They have a legislative agenda to pass.


Furthermore, despite the fact that Protasiewicz repeatedly called the maps “rigged” while campaigning, thus prejudging any case regarding the existing maps that are coming before the court, Protasiewicz has abandoned judicial ethics and agreed to sit in judgment on the case. Given that Protasiewicz has prejudged the case and the other three members of the junta are equally excited about abandoning judicial objectivity and restraint in order to advance their Marxist agenda, the outcome is already determined. We will get some judicial theater to keep up appearances, but the final act is already written.


The Supreme Court’s orchestrated attack on a direct constitutional power of a co-equal branch of government is why constitutional checks were created. The legislative branch has a number of options. The Legislature could use the power of the purse to defund the Supreme Court until they cease their constitutional assault. Such a move would be vetoed by the Judicial Junta’s fellow traveler in the executive branch. Gov. Tony Evers has been cheering the destruction of constitutional government. To be fair, Evers may not fully understand the consequences of unbridled judicial rule. He wouldn’t be the first useful idiot to be consumed by his own ideology.


Another tool in the Legislature’s belt is impeachment. Article VII, Section 1 of the state Constitution allows the Legislature to impeach, convince, and remove from office any official, “for corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors.” Is Protasiewicz corrupt for prejudging a case and refusing to recuse herself ? It is a judgment call. “Corrupt” is a vague word that covers a broad range of unsavory behaviors. I would argue that she is corrupt and pairs that corruption with the kind of bumptiousness that would make Hunter Biden raise an eyebrow.


Should the Legislature remove Protasiewicz from office, the actual effect may be negligible since the governor will appoint an identical replacement, but that does not mean that the Legislature should shy away from exercising their constitutional check to defend its own power. This court and its controlling junta is just getting started. They are not going to slow down. If anything, they are accelerating and will not change direction unless someone makes them.


In sport, checking an opponent does not always change the outcome of the game, but it does put them on notice that actions have consequences. This Supreme Court needs a supreme check.




1719, 13 October 2023


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