Category Archives: Law

Bump Stocks Made Illegal

This is clearly unconstitutional. Irrespective of your opinion about bump stocks, the 5th Amendment specifically prohibits the government from seizing private property without due process of law and just compensation. This isn’t about the 2nd Amendment. It’s about the 5th.

The bump stock — the attachment used by the killer during the 2017 Las Vegas massacre to make his weapons fire rapidly like machine guns — will become illegal on Tuesday in the only major gun restriction imposed by the federal government in the past few years, a period that has seen massacres in places like Las Vegas; Thousand Oaks, California; Sutherland Springs, Texas; and Orlando and Parkland, Florida.

Unlike with the decade-long assault weapons ban, the government isn’t allowing existing owners to keep their bump stocks. They must be destroyed or turned over to authorities. And the government isn’t offering any compensation for the devices, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Violators can face up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Dane County Judge Blocks Legislation

If there is anything that should get conservatives off of their collective asses to vote for Hagedorn for Supreme Court, one would hope this would be it.

MADISON – A Dane County judge on Thursday blocked a series of laws that limited the powers of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Within hours, Evers and Kaul used the decision to try to get Wisconsin out of a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act that their Republican predecessors joined. Until the judge’s ruling, Republican lawmakers were able to prevent them from doing that.

This ruling will be overturned… eventually. If the Appeals Court doesn’t do it, the Supreme Court will. We saw this exact pattern over and over again after Walker assumed office. Law passes. Liberals sue. Dane County judge rules against law. Appeals Court or Supreme Court overturns Dane County Judge.

That is, of course, assuming that the activist liberal judges don’t take over the Supreme Court. If that happens, then you will see a series of lawsuits where concealed carry, right to work, etc. are all thrown out by an activist Supreme Court. And if you think that Attorney General Josh Kaul will defend Wisconsin’s laws, think again. Look at what he just did. Liberals are perfectly happy ruling by judicial fiat.

Vote for Hagedorn.

Legislature to Defend Life

Excellent.

The GOP-controlled Legislature is seeking to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s abortion laws because Republican lawmakers don’t have confidence Attorney General Josh Kaul will defend the laws adequately.

The intervention, which is pending a committee vote, reflects a broader strategy Republicans are taking to circumvent a Democratic attorney general they distrust to defend the state’s laws faithfully. Kaul in a court filing in February said the Department of Justice would represent the state in the lawsuit, and his spokeswoman previously signaled he would defend state law.

Republican lawmakers have already said they plan to participate in other contentious cases challenging the state’s political maps and the state’s lame-duck laws curbing some of the governor’s and attorney general’s powers.

Kaul has already made it abundantly clear that his liberal activism will trump (pardon the pun) his duties to defend properly passed Wisconsin laws. This way, we at least know that Wisconsin’s laws will get a robust defense. And if Kaul surprises us and offers that muscular defense, then it’s no harm done, right?

School Choice Under Assault

In Evers’ budget proposal and on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Vote for Brian Hagedorn.

Wisconsin’s very successful and popular school voucher programs are currently under assault by Democratic Governor Tony Evers who last week called for a freeze in the voucher program. For now, the legislature – led by Republican leadership – will stand firm against Evers.

But, depending on the outcome of the upcoming elections, school choice could face a much bigger threat – the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Wisconsin has an incredibly successful school voucher program; around 40,000 low-income, predominantly minority students use a school voucher to attend a private school of their choosing. In Milwaukee, 84 percent of private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program are identified as religious. Many of those schools are incredibly successful, and according to a study, Catholic and Lutheran choice schools outperform traditional Milwaukee Public Schools on the state mandated math and reading tests. Religious education works in Milwaukee for many low-income students.

But, liberal judges and attorneys, for decades, have argued that school vouchers are unconstitutional and a violation of the Establishment Clause, which, in short, prohibits government from “respecting an establishment of religion.” This includes Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson who previously dissented in cases about the constitutionality of vouchers on those grounds.

So, given how Judge Lisa Neubauer has embraced the legacy and ideology of Abrahamson, voters deserve to know whether Neubauer believes the school voucher program is unconstitutional and should be ended for religious private schools.

DPI Ordered to Release Open Records

This is the cultural norm in Wisconsin’s government education establishment. Delay, deflect, deny.

According to the lawsuit, WILL first requested three sets of ESSA-related records in August 2018, then sent a follow-up email the following month. A DPI employee said the request was in progress on Sept. 21, 2018.

WILL deputy counsel Thomas Kamenick followed up again on Nov. 12, and the request was partially fulfilled the following day. Portions of the request were denied for being “insufficiently specific” and “unreasonably burdensome,” and WILL send a narrowed request the following month, which DPI acknowledged on Dec. 13.

The most recent update from DPI, according to the lawsuit, was on Jan. 4, to notify WILL that the request was being worked on as a “priority,” but had been delayed due to the holidays and the election.

Federal Court Stays Execution Because Murderer Couldn’t Have Imam in the Room

This is an interesting case which illustrates why people hate lawyers.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked the execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama after the state refused to allow his imam to be at his death instead of a Christian prison chaplain.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit granted an emergency stay of execution for 42-year-old Domineque Ray one day before he was scheduled to be put to death for the rape and murder of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville more than two decades ago in Selma, Alabama. The Alabama attorney general’s office has asked the United States Supreme Court to vacate the stay and let it proceed with the execution scheduled for Thursday evening, according to court documents.

“The central constitutional problem here is that the state has regularly placed a Christian cleric in the execution room to minister to the needs of Christian inmates, but has refused to provide the same benefit to a devout Muslim and all other non-Christians,” a panel of three district judges wrote in their decision Wednesday.

[…]

The Alabama Department of Corrections has agreed to exclude the prison chaplain from the death chamber, but a district judge on Friday denied Ray’s initial request for a stay of execution. The judge wrote that Ray waited “until the eleventh hour” to make his legal claim, it’s a matter of safety and security, and Ray’s imam, who is not a department of corrections employee, is “untrained, inexperienced and outside the state’s control.”

So the issue is that the prison has traditionally provided the condemned with spiritual comfort with a Christian chaplain in the death chamber. In this case, the condemned is Muslim, so he wanted an Imam. Fair enough. The prison said that the Imam can be in the visitors’ gallery, but not in the death chamber because he isn’t an employee and isn’t trained. That seemed like a reasonable accommodation, right? That wasn’t good enough for the Appeals Court, so justice will be delayed again.

What’s going to happen here? The prison only has two options. Either they can hire a spiritual leader from every faith or they just stop offering the condemned any religious comfort whatsoever in the room. Given the impracticability of the former, they will do the latter.

Meanwhile, the family of the poor little girl who was butchered by this beast will have to wait even longer for justice to be served because a bunch of lawyers are jerking around with something that could have been solved in a conversation.

Elect Hagedorn to protect Wisconsin’s conservative revolution

Here is my full column that ran yesterday in the Washington County Daily News.

Wisconsin’s era of conservative reform came to an end with the election of Gov. Tony Evers. With a liberal governor, the conservative majorities in the Legislature are relegated to a rearguard action to defend the magnificent gains made in the last eight years. But the Legislature’s rampart might be flanked if Wisconsin’s liberals are able to seize control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. They could do that next year unless Judge Brian Hagedorn is elected to the court this April.

When Scott Walker was elected in 2010, Wisconsin’s liberals made it clear that they could not abide the will of the people and allow conservatives to govern. A familiar pattern emerged: Republicans legally pass conservative legislation into law; liberals sue; Dane County judge invalidates conservative law; after appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns the Dane County judge and allows the law to take hold. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has consistently thwarted the liberals’ attempt to overturn conservative laws through the courts, so the liberals are determined to get the court back under their control.

Right now, four of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Justices are judicial conservatives. That means that they think the role of the court is to strictly interpret the law as written and respect the rights and responsibilities of the other two branches of government to enact the will of the people through legislation. By contrast, three of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court justices are judicial liberals, meaning that they take a more expansive view of the role of the court to enact their own wills to right wrongs, as they define them, with little regard for judicial restraint.

One of those three judicial liberals, Justice Shirley Abrahamson, is retiring and the election this April is to replace her. At first glance, this may appear to be a relatively inconsequential election. The balance of the court is not on the line. If the people of Wisconsin elect a judicial liberal, the balance of the court will remain the same. If the voters elect a judicial conservative, then the judicial conservatives strengthen their majority to a 5-2 split. Without much on the line, why worry, right?

The key is to look to April of 2020. In that election, incumbent Justice Dan Kelly will likely run for reelection. Kelly is one of the judicial conservatives on the court. The challenge for Kelly is that the presidential primary will be on the same ballot. President Donald Trump is unlikely to face a serious primary challenger, so Republican turnout will be light. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary for president portends to be hotly contested, so Democratic turnout will likely be massive. That does not bode well for a conservative judicial candidate on the ballot. Kelly faces a steep uphill climb that has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the rest of the ballot.

If Wisconsin’s voters replace Abrahamson with another judicial liberal and retain a 4-3 judicial conservative majority, it is exceedingly likely that the election of April 2020 will flip the court to a judicial liberal majority. If that happens, liberals will sue to overturn every conservative law passed in the previous decade and have the Supreme Court on their side. They cannot turn back the clock through the representative democratic process, so they will turn to the courts instead. Act 10, concealed carry, school choice, the repeal of prevailing wage, the Wisconsin REINS Act, voter ID, right to work, castle doctrine — all of it is at risk if judicial liberals gain control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.

That is why Wisconsin must elect a judicial conservative to the Supreme Court this April. That judicial conservative is Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn.

Hagedorn has served in a number of legal capacities since graduating from the Northwestern University School of Law. After three years in private practice, he worked as a law clerk for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman before going to work as an assistant attorney general. He worked as Gov. Scott Walker’s chief legal counsel from 2011 to 2015 during the time when many of Wisconsin’s most significant reforms in generations were passed into law. Since 2015, Hagedorn has been serving as a judge on Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals.

Hagedorn’s judicial philosophy is one of restraint and humble respect for the individual rights and the will of the people. As he says, “justices wear neutral robes, not capes.” That is exactly the kind of attitude Wisconsin needs on the court to protect our liberties and uphold constitutional laws that were dutifully passed by the representatives of the people.

Elect Hagedorn to protect Wisconsin’s conservative revolution

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Log on or pick up a copy for the whole thing. Here’s a sample:

The key is to look to April of 2020. In that election, incumbent Justice Dan Kelly will likely run for reelection. Kelly is one of the judicial conservatives on the court.The challenge for Kelly is that the presidential primary will be on the same ballot. President Donald Trump is unlikely to face a serious primary challenger, so Republican turnout will be light. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary for president portends to be hotly contested, so Democratic turnout will likely be massive. That does not bode well for a conservative judicial candidate on the ballot. Kelly faces a steep uphill climb that has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the rest of the ballot.

If Wisconsin’s voters replace Abrahamson with another judicial liberal and retain a 4-3 judicial conservative majority, it is exceedingly likely that the election of April 2020 will flip the court to a judicial liberal majority. If that happens, liberals will sue to overturn every conservative law passed in the previous decade and have the Supreme Court on their side. They cannot turn back the clock through the representative democratic process, so they will turn to the courts instead. Act 10, concealed carry, school choice, the repeal of prevailing wage, the Wisconsin REINS Act, voter ID, right to work, castle doctrine — all of it is at risk if judicial liberals gain control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.

That is why Wisconsin must elect a judicial conservative to the Supreme Court this April. That judicial conservative is Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn.

Unions Sue to Centralize Government Power in the Executive

Now that the Executive Branch is controlled by Democrats

The plaintiffs include Service Employees International Union, Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers, American Federation of Teachers and Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. Nine individual plaintiffs also are listed, including state Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Mason.

The suit contends the laws violate the state constitution by stripping powers from the executive branch. It asks a judge to bar state officials from implementing or enforcing the challenged provisions.

The laws are “a clear attempt by one branch, the Legislature, upset by an electoral outcome affecting another branch, to undo the separation of powers” in the constitution, according to the complaint.

US Charges Huawei For Fraud and Theft

Good.

The US Justice Department has filed a host of criminal charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

The charges against the world’s second largest smartphone maker include accusations of bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology.

The case could ratchet up tensions between China and the US, and impact the firm’s global expansion efforts.

Both Ms Meng and Huawei deny the allegations.

Ms Meng was arrested in Canada last month at the request of the US for allegedly evading sanctions on Iran.

“For years, Chinese firms have broken our export laws and undermined sanctions, often using US financial systems to facilitate their illegal activities. This will end,” said US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

UW Uses Federal Money to Pay off Loan

Argh.

The University of Wisconsin System will use federal money to pay off bank loans taken out by the UW-Oshkosh Foundation, according to agreements released Friday.

The UW System paid $6.3 million to banks using federal money designated for administrative costs — meaning no state taxpayer money or tuition dollars, according to UW System spokeswoman Heather LaRoi. This money comes from reimbursements for administrative costs already incurred by the UW System related to federal grant activity at UW campuses.

At the close of fiscal year 2018, the UW System had about $9.5 million in federal money from this fund that had accrued over the last decade, according to LaRoi.

UW-Oshkosh will pay back the UW System $3.825 million in annual installments of $191,250 from January 2020 through July 2038, according to the agreement. The annual payments will be made with money from the Witzel biodigester, which turns organic waste into energy. The UW System Board of Regents assumed ownership of the biodigester along with the UW-Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.The payments related to the bankrupty case stem from a building projects controversy surrounding the university’s foundation, a nonprofit organization primarily funded through private donations and investments to help the university.

Remember that this is all because the former chancellor illegally backed loans by a private institution with taxpayer money. That private institution, the UW) Foundation, subsequently bought his house for way above market price. And in the end, who pays? The taxpayers. Meanwhile, take note that the UW System continues to horde slush funds.

This is also yet another example of how much of our money the federal government pisses away. Why in the world are they handing out millions to a university system for “administrative costs?”

SCOTUS to Hear 2nd Amendment Case

I’m struggling to understand how New York City can pass laws for things that people do outside of their jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will take up its first gun rights case in nine years, a challenge to New York City’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits.

[…]

Joining in support of gun rights, 17 states said the court should break its years-long silence and use the case to define the scope of gun rights under the Constitution and the level of scrutiny, or skepticism, judges should apply to gun laws.

New York’s ordinance allows people licensed to have handguns to carry them outside the home to gun ranges in the city. The guns must be locked and unloaded.

The city residents who filed suit want to practice shooting at target ranges outside the city or take their guns to second homes elsewhere in New York state.

Saudi Arabia Modernizes

Sort of.

Saudi Arabian courts will notify women by text message when their husbands have been granted divorces under a law that took effect Sunday.

The initiative is aimed at concerns that Saudi men were increasingly neglecting to tell their wives they were divorced.

Lawyer Somayya Al-Hindi told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that Saudi courts in the past heard many cases of Saudi women still living with their ex-husbands without realizing they had been divorced.

Citizens Resist Boulder’s Gun Registry

Good for them. Now they need to vote the fascists who passed this ordinance out of office.

BOULDER, Colorado — Boulder’s newly enacted “assault weapons” ban is meeting with stiff resistance from its “gun-toting hippies,” staunch liberals who also happen to be devoted firearms owners.

Only 342 “assault weapons,” or semiautomatic rifles, were certified by Boulder police before the Dec. 31 deadline, meaning there could be thousands of residents in the scenic university town of 107,000 in violation of the sweeping gun-control ordinance.

“I would say the majority of people I’ve talked to just aren’t complying because most people see this as a registry,” said Lesley Hollywood, executive director of the Colorado Second Amendment group Rally for Our Rights. “Boulder actually has a very strong firearms community.”

The ordinance, approved by the city council unanimously, banned the possession and sale of “assault weapons,” defined as semiautomatic rifles with a pistol grip, folding stock, or ability to accept a detachable magazine. Semiautomatic pistols and shotguns are also included.

Current owners were given until the end of the year to choose one of two options: Get rid of their semiautomatics by moving them out of town, disabling them, or turning them over to police — or apply for a certificate with the Boulder Police Department, a process that includes a firearm inspection, background check and $20 fee.

Trump Bans Bump Stocks

Banning these won’t stop a single killing. It’s stupid and useless.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration Tuesday banned bump stocks, the firearm attachments that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns and were used during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The regulation gives gun owners until late March to turn in or destroy the devices. After that, it will be illegal to possess them under the same federal laws that prohibit machine guns.

I also believe that implementing the law in this fashion would be a violation of the 5th Amendment: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Madison Schools Want More Control of Police on Campus

Here’s a name that’s a blast from the past.

School Board President Mary Burke said she wants to work collaboratively with MPD on the contract.

“We take very seriously the fact that as a school district, we are ultimately responsible for the adults who interact with our students, and in the unlikely event that an issue arises, we want to be able to work collaboratively with MPD to address it,” Burke said in an email. “We believe that is a reasonable and responsible request, and we’re looking forward to further discussion.”

Here’s what they are fighting over:

Though the Madison School Board approved an amended contract Monday that would keep police officers in the city’s four main high schools, Police Chief Mike Koval said Tuesday that he’ll never agreed to the new language.

“We had never agreed (nor will I ever agree) to language regarding the ability to remove an officer for ’cause,'” Koval said in a blog post. “The School District floated this language out last week and it was made unequivocally clear that I would not agree to this language.”

The School Board voted unanimously to adopt the amended language, which would give the district the authority to remove a police officer — described in the contract as a school resource officer or SRO — from school if they found cause. The amended contract itself was approved by a 4-2 vote.

“I will reiterate that the processes for disciplining or assigning officers are governed by state law and labor contract, and these rights cannot be bargained away in an agreement with a third party,” Koval wrote. “We have always worked cooperatively with MMSD to select our resource officers and to address any areas of improvement. However, the law does not permit us to pre-determine discipline through the contract language that was suggested.”

Judge Strikes Down Unconstitutional Obamacare

Good news!

A federal judge in Texas said on Friday that the Affordable Care Act’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law must also fall.

[…]

In his opinion, District Judge Reed O’Connor said the “Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause—meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional.”

He also held that the individual mandate is “essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA.”

Chicago Politicians Quiet After Burke Raid

The Corruption Party has had one party rule in Chicago for decades. Nothing is changing.

No one represents Chicago’s old-school machine politics — or what’s left of it — more than City Hall’s longest-serving and most powerful alderman, Ed Burke.

But in the wake of federal agents raiding Burke’s City Hall and 14th Ward offices Thursday, the 21 candidates running for Chicago mayor — most of them on a proclaimed platform of reform — had very little to say about one of the most astonishing political developments in the city’s recent memory.

There were no news releases, few tweets and little professed outrage.

That’s because many of the race’s front-runners have some form of exposure, serving alongside Burke in the city’s political hierarchy, or counting him as a friend or mentor. And as the Burke investigation plays out in the final months of the Feb. 26 mayor’s race, the political fallout will leave some grasping for how to reconcile their self-professed desire to change City Hall with their ties to an iconic Chicago politician in the crosshairs of federal investigators.

On Friday, at least, few of them were talking.

Border Forces Repel Attempted Incursion

Thankfully, it looks like no Americans were injured in repelling this foreign incursion.

Mexico will deport up to 500 migrants who attempted to storm the US border, according to its interior ministry.

The group were rounded up after trying to cross the border “violently” and “illegally” on Sunday, the ministry said in a statement.

Video footage shows dozens of people – including women and children – running towards the fence that separates the two countries near the city of Tijuana.

They were repelled by tear gas used by US border officers.

Mexico’s interior ministry said in a statement that a group of “nearly 500 migrants” had “tried to cross the border in a violent way”.

Those identified as having taken part in these “violent events” would be deported immediately, it said.

The ministry added that, “far from helping their objectives”, the migrants’ actions had violated the legal migration framework and could have led to a “serious incident”.

ICE Does Its Job

I didn’t know that church sanctuary was still a thing. In any case, hats off to ICE for finally catching the scofflaw.

An immigrant who sought refuge from deportation in a North Carolina church, staying there for 11 months, was arrested on Friday after arriving at an appointment with immigration officials.

The arrest led to protests and the arrest of some supporters of Samuel Oliver-Bruno, the 47-year-old Mexican national who, according to a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) news release, was detained at a Raleigh-area immigration office.

An advocacy group, Alerta Migratoria NC, said in a statement Oliver-Bruno went to have fingerprints taken so he could apply to stay in North Carolina with his wife and son.

He has been living in CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham since late 2017, to avoid the reach of immigration officers, who generally avoid making arrests at churches and other sensitive locations.

Ice said Oliver-Bruno, who has lived in North Carolina for two decades, had no legal basis to be in the US and had exhausted his “extensive” appeals. In 2014, according to court documents, Oliver-Bruno pleaded guilty to using false documents to try to re-enter the US in Texas.