Category Archives: Law

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Local Lockdown Orders

Yes, they are unconstitutional. We have to nip in the bud the notion that our government can completely strip us of our civil rights based on a health scare – or anything else for that matter.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Business owners, candidates for office, a pastor and one of the organizers of last month’s “reopen Wisconsin” protest at the Wisconsin Capitol have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that local stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed by 17 Wisconsin residents Wednesday in federal court in Milwaukee, challenges the local orders that took effect after the state Supreme Court last week tossed out Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide “safer at home” order as unconstitutional. The new lawsuit names 21 state and local Wisconsin public safety and health officials, including Evers and all members of the state elections commission, as defendants.

The lawsuit asks the judge to declare the local orders unconstitutional and void them all.

Lawless bureaucrats must be held to account

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty disgusted how high-level bureaucrats in Washington and Madison are never held accountable when they break the law. Shouldn’t losing their job be the least thing that should happen when they abuse their power and break the law? I think so and argue the case in my latest column for the Washington County Daily News today. Here’s a taste. Go pick up a copy!

What happens now? When a normal Wisconsinite is caught breaking the law, they are fined or jailed. When Palm’s illegal order was being enforced, Wisconsinites were being ticketed and arrested for doing things as simple as eating in a restaurant or playing basketball in a park. Will Secretary-designee Palm be held accountable for breaking the law?

Will her boss, Governor Evers, take responsibility for his employee’s blatant flaunting of the Constitution and the law?

So far, neither Evers nor Palm have indicated that they will accept any responsibility for violating the law. They will continue to cash their full paychecks and direct their opulent staffs courtesy of the very citizens they sought to oppress. They have committed to continue on without a modicum of contrition for their unlawful actions.

As an elected official, the voters will have to decide if Governor Evers should be held to account at the next election or sooner. But as an unconfirmed appointed secretary, the Wisconsin state Senate should immediately move to reject Palm’s confirmation so that the people of Wisconsin will no longer be subject to her lawless proclivities. She is clearly unfit for public service.

Rwandan Genocide Fugitive Captured

Wow. It’s good to see some justice.

PARIS, May 17 (Reuters) – Rwandan genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, whose arrest on Saturday ended 26 years on the run, was a frail, elderly man who said little to neighbours and who would take a stroll most days outside of his apartment in a well-off suburb of Paris.

Kabuga, 84, Rwanda’s most wanted man with a $5 million bounty on his head, had been living under a false name in a five-storey apartment block in Asnieres-sur-Seine with the help of his children, according to France’s justice ministry.

Police detained him early on Saturday.

“I would see this man going out, maybe once a day, alone or with someone,” said Jean-Yves Breneol, 72, a resident in the same block where Kabuga lived. “He wouldn’t say a word, nothing.”

Breneol said he thought Kabuga might have lived in the building for four or five years.

[…]

A Hutu businessman, he is accused of creating and making contributions to a fund that raised finances to pay the youth militias that would slaughter some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, as well as importing huge numbers of machetes, according to the UN tribunal’s indictment.

Local Governments Rescind Unconstitutional Orders

Some sense is prevailing outside of Milwaukee and Madison.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some local health officials in Wisconsin rescinded their stay-at-home orders Friday after attorneys warned they could be vulnerable to legal challenges after the state Supreme Court wiped out Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide order.

But the Wisconsin Counties Association said after Wednesday’s ruling that it was unclear whether whether local orders mimicking the statewide mandate would stand up in court. By Friday, health officials in Kenosha, Brown, Manitowoc and Outagamie counties had dropped orders, as did the cities of Cudahy and Appleton. State Department of Health Secretary

“While the WCA and outside legal counsel did not opine that counties were outright prohibited from taking such actions, they did indicate that overall, the legal basis to do so is likely weak,” Brown County’s attorney, David Hemery, said in a letter Friday to the county’s health officer, Anna Destree.

Wisconsin’s largest and most liberal counties, Milwaukee and Dane, home to about 1.5 million of the state’s 6 million residents, left their orders in place.

“Emergency Order 28 is declared unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.”

Hey look. The Supreme Court agrees with me. Go about your business, folks.

IV. CONCLUSION

¶58 We conclude that Emergency Order 28 is a rule under the controlling precedent of this court, Citizens for Sensible Zoning, Inc. v. DNR, 90 Wis. 2d 804, 280 N.W.2d 702 (1979), and therefore is subject to statutory emergency rulemaking procedures established by the Legislature. Emergency Order 28 is a general order of general application within the meaning of Wis. Stat. § 227.01(13) which defines “Rule.” Accordingly, the rulemaking procedures of Wis. Stat. § 227.24 were required to be followed during the promulgation of Order 28. Because they were not, Emergency Order 28 is unenforceable.21 Furthermore, Wis. Stat. § 252.25 required that Emergency Order 28 be promulgated using the procedures established by the Legislature for rulemaking if criminal penalties were to follow. Because Palm did not follow the
law in creating Order 28, there can be no criminal penalties for violations of her order. The procedural requirements of Wis. Stat. ch. 227 must be followed because they safeguard all people.

¶59 We further conclude that Palm’s order confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel and closing businesses 21 This decision does not apply to Section 4. a. of Emergency Order 28.  exceeded the statutory authority of Wis. Stat. § 252.02, upon which Palm claims to rely. By the Court.—Palm’s Emergency Order 28 is declared unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.

Most disappointing is that Justice Hagedorn voted in the minority with a ridiculous rationale. This comes after he went lefty on taking up the ballot issue a few months ago. Make no mistake, once Justice Kelly leaves the court, this is now a 4-3 LIBERAL Supreme Court.

Wisconsin’s Constitutional Problem

This is the heart of the problem with Governor Evers’ power grab.

“There is a constitutional problem with the Legislature giving away this much power to an unelected cabinet secretary,” Bradley said. “The people never consented to a single individual having that much power.”

Whether or not you think the order is a good idea or not, Americans have purposefully divided power in their government to prevent the concentration of power.

Think about how this power could be abused (if you don’t think it’s being abused already). Imagine that they declare smoking a health crisis and the Health Secretary orders anyone caught smoking (tobacco or Mary Jane) or vaping to be imprisoned. Or perhaps too much screen time is declared a health emergency so the government regulates your screen time from the ISP. Or having large groups of kids together spreads disease so a bureaucrat closes all public schools. I’m struggling to come up with a farcical example because I could see any of these things being done if we concentrate that much power in the hands of a few… or one.

We are a self-governing people and our Constitution was constructed precisely to prevent something like this. Separate, coequal powers; checks and balances; elected officials making laws; Rule of Law; etc… these are the roots to which we must return.

Evers Agrees To Follow Law

It’s not just on shutdown orders where the Evers Administration is breaking the law. He truly doesn’t think that the law should apply to him.

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration will hand over 10,000 pages of records to Republican Rep. John Nygren to settle an open records lawsuit he filed in November.

Under the terms of the settlement reached by the Department of Justice, the state will pay $40,000 in fees to Nygren’s private attorneys.

Nygren, R-Marinette, sued Evers in November to compel his office to turn over records related to farmer mental health programs run by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection his office had denied in full. Nygren had requested the records in August. Senate Republicans ended up firing Evers’ agriculture secretary for criticizing them about the funding for those programs.

Nygren’s lawsuit was one of several instances where Evers has come under fire for his open records practices. In filing his lawsuit, Nygren — who has himself come under fire over transparency — chided the governor’s records denial as shameful.

This was a pretty routine open records request and the law is clear. Despite that, Evers concealed, fought, and eventually cost the taxpayers tens of thousand of dollars to defend Evers’ vanity.

City Reverses Mask Order After Citizenry Gets Uppity

Good. I hope that all municipal governments and police departments remember who they serve.

An Oklahoma city has reversed an emergency proclamation requiring shoppers to wear face masks due to threats of violence.

Stillwater, located about 65 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, started to reopen businesses on Friday morning as part of the state’s phased-opening program. That included salons, barber shops, restaurants, gyms, museums and movie theaters.

The city had required customers to wear masks in stores and restaurants. But the mayor quickly amended that policy on Friday afternoon after employees were “threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse” in the span of three hours, Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. There was one threat of violence using a firearm, he added.

And if you want to wear a mask, then by all means… wear a mask.

Supreme Court Takes Case. Will Hold Hearings on Tuesday.

Ugh.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday said it would take up a controversial case that could result in the suspension of Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order, implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The 6-1 decision is a setback for the Evers administration, which wanted the court to throw it out. Now, attorneys for the administration and Republican Legislature, which brought the lawsuit, will present their arguments via videoconferencing on Tuesday, after which the court could rule.

It frustrates the hell out of me that the court moves so slow. For most of the court’s business, time is not of the essence. They are deciding on some legal issue about an incident that is long over and the immediate impact of that decision impacts very few. But when there is something going on RIGHT NOW that requires a decision, the people deserve for them to act faster.

In this case, we have a rogue executive branch that is seizing dictatorial powers to usurp the power of the legislature and rule by decree. The governor is violating every Wisconsinite’s civil rights and causing incredible irreparable harm to the economy and lives of millions of citizens. If there was ever a time that required swift action by the court to restore the division of powers and uphold the people’s rights, this is it.

The court showed that they can at swiftly when required. Just a few weeks ago, they acted within hours of Evers’ unconstitutional attempt to move the election. Why can’t they do that here? That’s the wrong question. They can do it here. Why are they choosing to plod along?

Supreme Court Rejects Teachers Union’s Attempt to Intervene

I was deeply amused by the court’s order:

A motion to intervene, both as of right and with the permission of the court; an alternative motion for leave to file a non-party brief, amicus curiae; a proposed brief in response to the petition for leave to commence an original action and the accompanying motion for temporary injunctive relief; and an affidavit of counsel in support of the proposed brief having been filed by the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, et al.;

IT IS ORDERED that the motion to intervene is denied; and

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion for leave to file a non-party brief, amicus curiae, is denied. The court’s April 21, 2020 order expressly stated that a non-party brief, which must be attached to a motion for leave to file it, “shall not exceed 20 pages if a monospaced font is used or 4,400 words if a proportional serif font is used.” The proposed non-party brief submitted with this motion fails to comply with this order as it is 74 pages in length.

Notice that the brief was not rejected because of any of the content or some arcane legal rule. It was rejected because they didn’t follow instructions on the format! The TEACHERS. They didn’t follow the formatting instructions. Bwhahahahaha.

And it’s not like it was some minor technicality like screwing up citing in APA format or anything. It was supposed to be no more than 20 pages and they turned in SEVENTY FOUR PAGES!

That’s hilarious…

Madison Protests End Peacefully

A tip o’ the hat to the Capitol Police for not enforcing the governor’s unconstitutional orders on what was clearly an exercise of the people’s First Amendment rights.

According to Capitol Police, about 1,500 people gathered at the event and there were no arrests or citations issued.

Racine Sheriff Defends Civil Rights Against Tyrannical State Government

Excellent.

4/17/2020 I want to take this opportunity to notify Racine County citizens of our position on the enforcement of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services public health emergency orders. Wisconsin law gives the Governor and the Wisconsin DHS the authority to develop emergency measures and enforce rules and orders to protect the public during a health crisis. However, state law does not have the power to supersede or suspend the Constitutional rights of American citizens. I urge the Wisconsin DHS to develop a workable plan that balances the safety of our citizens while at the same time acknowledging the fact that there is a way for business to operate even during the current health situation. I have all the confidence in Racine County business owners that they can make the appropriate adjustments in the way they operate during this difficult time to accommodate for the safety of their employees and guests. The overreaching measures taken by State government will have dire lifetime consequences for businesses, homeowners, and families. I took an oath to uphold the constitutional rights of our citizens and I can not in good faith participate in the destruction of Racine County businesses or interfere in the freedoms granted to all of us by our Constitution. Wisconsin law gives the authority and the responsibility for investigating and enforcing public health violations to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and local health departments. We will leave the enforcement of public health orders to the health department experts. It is important that we stay focused on our obligations and responsibilities to those areas of the law that we are charged with enforcing. We have and will continue to concentrate our resources and efforts at keeping our roads safe and protecting our citizens from criminal activity. COVID-19 isn’t going to go away any time soon. I strongly encourage all of us to start thinking of our new “normal” way of doing business. Let’s get Racine County back on its feet again and move ahead. I understand the seriousness of the current health situation and I urge all Racine County citizens to continue to be responsible and to follow the social distancing, mask and hygiene recommendations of the CDC and the Wisconsin DHS. Let’s continue to look out for our neighbors and those less fortunate around us. Brighter days are ahead. Sheriff Christopher Schmaling

SCOTUS Upholds Election Laws

Excellent. A two-fer today.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin’s spring primary by six days because of the coronavirus.

The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access.

The Supreme Court’s decision came shortly after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-2 on Monday that Evers lacked the authority to move the election on his own.

It’s not about whether or not when we should have the deadlines for voting, absentee ballots, etc. It’s about who gets to decide. The People through their elected representatives and a legislative process? Or a single man in a black robe? In this case, as in the case of Evers, the People get to decide these things through our elected government. We are not subjects. We are citizens.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Thwarts Evers’ Unconstitutional Power Grab

Good.

MADISON – The Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated Tuesday’s election Monday, five hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called it off because of the widening coronavirus pandemic.

In a brief 4-2 ruling, the court undid an emergency order that Evers issued that would have closed the polls. Their decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers.

Monday’s on-again, off-again election triggered chaos across the state as election officials told clerks to continue preparing for an election because they did not know whether the polls would open.

Before the court acted, at least two local government leaders as of Monday afternoon issued their own orders to block in-person voting.

The high court’s ruling fell along ideological lines. Four conservatives — Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justices Rebecca Bradley, Brian Hagedorn and Annette Ziegler — were in the majority. Liberal Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet were in dissent.

What should worry you is that despite the fact that, by Evers’ own admission, it was very clear that Evers was usurping power, the two liberal justices used their power to try to ignore the constitution and the law in favor of influencing a political outcome. That is why we need to make sure that Dan Kelly remains on the court to protect the people from judicial rule.

Republicans Call for Religious Freedom During Pandemic

And Evers said “no.”

Assembly Republicans are calling on Gov. Tony Evers to allow in-person services for Easter and Passover amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“It is more important than ever that we allow Wisconsinites to observe their individual faiths,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the other members of the Assembly GOP caucus wrote in a Friday letter to Evers. “To that end, we ask that you work with Wisconsin churches and temples to allow them to hold Easter or Passover services, even if it’s outside.”

Evers declined the request.

“As a state and as a nation, we are heading into the worst of this public health crisis,” Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said. “The governor understands that for many Wisconsinites their faith is a source of comfort, especially in these difficult times, but in order to protect the health and safety of all Wisconsinites he will not be rolling back the provisions of the Safer at Home order.”

Jenna Ellis has some interesting thoughts on this at The Federalist.

Church is essential, and the free exercise of religion is specifically enumerated in our First Amendment because the founders understood how essential spiritual activity and religious liberty are to people and society. For a state government to take any action that specifically distinguishes churches as “non-essential” is contrary to the First Amendment’s purpose. It’s a dangerous precedent that government could consider itself the arbiter of private essential services.

Government’s action to prohibit mass gatherings, including church gatherings, is constitutionally sound for the temporary timeframe that the Wuhan coronavirus provides a compelling state interest rationale for stay-at-home orders. The virus is highly contagious, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations are the best-known ways to stop its spread. Because the virus does not distinguish between mass concert gatherings and mass church gatherings, the government can properly issue a neutral order that does not intentionally target religious groups.

 

 

Police Interrupt Church Service on Palm Sunday

This is tyranny. Hat tip to Matt Batzel.

The church was live streaming their service. The people involved in the service were there, but the pews were empty. After getting a call from someone, the West Bend Police actually interrupted the service.

Our freedom of religion and our freedom of assembly are being oppressed. This is unconscionable and the West Bend Police Department should be ashamed of themselves.

Judge Leaves April Election Alone

Good decision. The decision to monkey with the election is for the legislative and executive branches. This wasn’t a judge’s call to make and I’m glad that he exhibited the judicial modesty required by the situation.

U.S. District Judge William Conley told attorneys for the Democratic National Committee and a host of liberal-leaning groups that they haven’t shown how the pandemic has truly hampered people’s voting rights. He said infections look ready to spike in Wisconsin but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders don’t feel the crisis is severe enough to stop the election.

“I’m not sure it’s my place to to assume the steps taken by the state or not taken by the state is an impingement on an individual’s right to vote. That’s what I’m struggling with,” Conley said.

Tuesday’s election includes the state’s presidential primary, a state Supreme Court race and hundreds of local races.

It will be interesting to see what turnout is. I expect it will be in line with normal April elections, but not as high as Dems were hoping with a contested presidential primary. However, given that the primary is all but settled, the Dems’ hopes for a massive Dem turnout were already dashed.

Go vote!

Dan Kelly for Supreme Court

I wrote a column last September advocating that folks vote for Dan Kelly for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In that column, I wrote:

With the liberals’ resurgent interest in trammeling our civil rights, it is important that all of us make a firm statement in the voting booth that we will not tolerate such an assault on our rights. In April, Wisconsinites will have the chance to affirm that we insist that our government remain restrained by our state and federal constitutions by electing Justice Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

After spending a career in private practice, Justice Kelly was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Walker after Justice David Prosser resigned from the court in 2016. In his almost three years on the court, Justice Kelly has honored his promises and honored his commitment to be a humble defender of the rule of law and our individual rights.

Governor Evers may consider assailing our rights and seizing our guns, but he and his fellow liberal travelers will never be able to do it as long as judicial conservatives sit on the Supreme Court. Electing Justice Kelly to a full term on the bench is our next chance to make our will known at the ballot box.

Boy, doesn’t that ring even more true today? Many of the overreaching actions that are being taken by the governor are likely to be challenged and find their way to the Supreme Court. The same is true for the unconstitutional actions being taken by liberals in Dane and Milwaukee Counties to violate our election laws and steal our elections. Given everything taking place these past few weeks, it is more important than ever to make sure we have Justices on the Supreme Court who will uphold the Rule of Law. We need Justices who do not think that our Constitution should bend to a virus or our civil rights should be surrendered to panic.

Elect Dan Kelly. Go vote. Now.

Chicago Mayor Threatens Arrest for Being Outside

This is, by definition, a police state.

Lightfoot added that spending long periods of time outdoors, anywhere, is not allowed. And neither is going into closed spaces, like playgrounds.

“You cannot go on long bike rides. Playgrounds are shut down. You must abide by the order. Outside, is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks. I can’t emphasize enough that we abide the rules.”

[…]

“The public health order is not an advisory. It is a mandate. If you violate, it your are subject to a fine of $500. If you continue to violate it, you will be subject to arrest,” Beck said.

[…]

But Lightfoot reiterated that not following the stay at home order will bring serious consequences.

“At worst, we will take you into custody.”

Dane County Clerk Violates State Law to Enable Voter Fraud

Outrageous

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell on Wednesday gave all Dane County voters the go-ahead to indicate they are indefinitely confined to avoid having to upload their voter ID when requesting an absentee ballot.

The recommendation, which he said is legal, comes as some older voters have complained they aren’t able to upload their photo IDs electronically, which is a general requirement to request an absentee ballot.

It’s not clear whether McDonell’s recommendation is actually legal, however. Wisconsin law says people can certify they are indefinitely confined due to “age, illness, infirmity or disability.”