Category Archives: Law

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


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.”

Washington County Sheriff Schulteis Reacts to Governor’s Shutdown Order

Hats off to Sheriff Schulteis. This is a solid, measured, constitutionally correct way to respond to the Governor’s order.

I am also here to assure you that the words in my leadership direction matter. My staff and I are committed and dedicated to protecting your constitutional guarantees. This order has not suspended the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. We are not under “martial law.” You will not be stopped without reasonable suspicion that a violation of law has occurred. This is the same standard that existed prior to this order. You will not be detained or questioned as to why you are leaving your house or questioned as to if the purpose of your travels falls under the essential travel portion of the order. You do not need any documentation to approve travel.

We will investigate and take enforcement action on blatant violations of this order that put our community at great risk. We are asking for voluntary compliance with this order so we can move forward and defeat this enemy. I want to end by thanking the people of Washington County for their compliance, understanding, and great personal sacrifice. Like most law enforcement agencies, we have had to change how we operate during this pandemic. I am here to assure you that the entire Washington County Sheriff’s Office is standing ready to protect and serve for you

Democrats Sue to Weaken Election Laws

Never let a crisis go to waste.

Democrats are asking a federal judge to extend deadlines for absentee voting in a new lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission ahead of the April 7 spring election and presidential primary.

The lawsuit, brought by the Democratic National Committee and Wisconsin Democratic Party in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, also seeks to waive the voter ID requirement for absentee voting and proof of residence requirement for voter registration. The suit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Democrats are seeking to roll back the requirements to make voting absentee easier for an April election that is nearly guaranteed to be upended by a global pandemic beginning to ravage the U.S.

This should, I repeat, should be thrown out immediately. The fact that there is a pandemic does not make a law any more or less constitutional. If the legislature wants to change the laws in response to the pandemic, that’s their prerogative. But a judge has no standing here. We’ll see if the Rule of Law can withstand an aggressive assault by Democrats during a crisis.

Judge Adelman Opines

It appears that Jill Karofsky comes from the Adelman school of judging.

Yesterday, I blogged about a law review article by Judge Lynn Adelman. My post drove a news cycle. Judge Adelman was praised on Slate and Above the LawLaw 360 and the ABA Journal rounded up other coverage. Plus Fox News.

And the Washington Post actually got Judge Adelman on the phone. Judges should never answer calls from reporters about matters of public concern. Alas, Judge Adelman has already demonstrated his lack of discretion. Here is an excerpt:

In a phone interview with The Washington Post Tuesday, Adelman was unapologetic. “I think it’s totally appropriate to criticize the court when there’s a basis for it,” he said. “Judges are encouraged to comment on the law because we have a particular interest, knowledge and familiarity.”

Senator Schumer Threatens Supreme Court Justices

Hmmm… what could he possibly mean by that?

The Democrat said: ‘I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price.

‘You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’

That earned a rare public statement from Roberts.

‘Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest level of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous,’ he said in a statement released late in the afternoon.

‘All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.’

Madison Appeals Court Supports Lawlessness by Government Agency

This reminds me of why people are getting upset with the NFL… you just don’t know what the rules are anymore. In this case, the written law could not be more clear, but this court just decided that a government agency could ignore it. Even if this goes to the Supreme Court and they rule correctly, the uncertainty and undermining of the rule of law has been done. We are becoming a country in which it doesn’t matter what the law actually says. All that matters is if you can find a judge somewhere that agrees with you.

MADISON – A Wisconsin appeals court Friday struck down an Ozaukee County judge’s ruling that thousands of people had to be quickly removed from the state’s voter rolls because they are believed to have moved.

The appeals judges also unanimously overturned a finding that state election officials were in contempt of court for not taking people off the rolls.

The ruling comes a month after the District 4 Court of Appeals in Madison temporarily blocked the decisions by Circuit Judge Paul Malloy. Friday’s ruling puts a more permanent block on the effort to take voters off the rolls, but those who brought the lawsuit promised to ask the Supreme Court to reverse the latest ruling.

The appeals decision affects more than 200,000 voters who were targeted to be taken off the rolls in one of the most closely watched states for this year’s presidential election. State officials believe the voters have moved, and supporters of the lawsuit argued they must be taken off the rolls until they re-register to vote.

Friday’s ruling was issued by Judges Michael Fitzpatrick, JoAnne Kloppenburg and Jennifer Nashold. No dissents were noted.

Reporting Child Abuse is a Tricky Business

This is really a minefield for parents.

The hospital’s guidance advised doctors to notify the Child Protection Program of even small bruises found on infants who are not yet “cruising,” or pulling themselves up on furniture. Such bruises, the guidance warned, are “sentinel” injuries that can signal possible child abuse. Knox helped to write the policy, basing it on “national guidelines and practice,” Russell said.

The Siebolds offered several innocent explanations for Leo’s bruises. Perhaps they came from Leo’s “Army crawling” over toys on the wooden floor of the family home — or from Leo’s struggle with Brenna Siebold and ER staff during the examination a day earlier. Knox and physician assistant Amanda Palm rejected those theories. The hospital reported the bruises to authorities as “unexplained.”

Mount Horeb Police officers Susan Zander and Jenn Schaaf interviewed the Siebolds at the hospital; one officer knew Brenna Siebold personally. They quickly discounted the allegations, writing in a one-paragraph police report that the bruises were “caused by medical staff.”

After a two-month investigation, the Dane County Department of Human Services also concluded there was no evidence of abuse.

Minor bruises could spark even more investigations under a bill introduced in 2019 by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin. It would create a $10 million demonstration program on how to use “sentinel injuries” in children 7 months and younger, including minor bruises, to detect — and prevent — child abuse and fatalities.

Child abuse is terrible and everyone (almost) wants to see it discovered, reported, prosecuted, and prevented. This creates a huge incentive for people – especially medical professionals – to report even their smallest suspicions to law enforcement. And because child abuse is so horrendous, even the accusation can ruin the lives of parents and pull apart families.

The problem is that some kids get hurt is weird ways, some kids bruise easily, and some kids lie. Even if the authorities never prove that there was child abuse or actually conclude that there was no child abuse, the accusation will still linger. People will doubt. Employers will wonder. Family members will question. Nobody wants to be the person who did not report suspected child abuse if there actually is child abuse. And nobody wants to let their kids go to little Timmy’s house when his dad is an accused child abuser.

I don’t have any good answers. The amount of scrutiny for child abuse is appropriate given our collective concern for the welfare of children. But once that accusation is made, it can’t be retracted even if it is disproven. Be very careful before you accuse.

Students Sue Principal Over Gun Shirts

It’s a shame that they have to go to court over this. Sadly, it’s necessary. Do you see how infringement of the 2nd Amendment leads to infringement of the 1st?

A pair of sophomores at Kettle Moraine High School sued their principal in federal court a day after she told them they had to cover the T-shirts they wore to school because the shirts depicted guns.

Their lawsuit, filed in federal court last week, contends the First Amendment protects their right to show support for the Second Amendment and asks a judge to order the school not to prevent them from wearing the shirts.

A week earlier, a middle-schooler sued his assistant principal in Neenah over the same issues, but a different gun-themed shirt.

Both cases come a few months after Markesan High School settled a similar case that made national headlines in 2018. After a judge granted the students a preliminary injunction, the principal agreed not to restrict Matthew Schoenecker from wearing shirts with guns or weapons if they don’t advocate or imply violent or illegal use of guns.


WI Carry Inc., a gun-rights advocacy group, supported all four plaintiffs. President Nik Clark said he was surprised Kettle Moraine and the Neenah middle school didn’t take notice of the outcome from Markesan.

“There is so much demonization of guns by public schools (these prohibitions as just one example) but also public schools SANCTIONED multiple walkouts the past couple years to call for gun control, but a kid can’t wear a shirt showing his gun pride?” Clark said in an email.

Kelly and Karofsky Advance

The results exactly reflects where Wisconsin is… divided electorate, Dane County liberal turnout balanced against WOW Counties conservative turnout. Turnout for the general election should be much larger, but the patter remains.

Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly and Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky will advance to the April 7 election to compete for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Kelly and Karofsky, both judges, were the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s statewide primary, besting Marquette Law School professor Ed Fallone by significant margins. The results pit Kelly, the conservative-backed incumbent who has served on the court since 2016, against a Dane County local, backed by liberals, who was first elected as a circuit court judge in 2017.

With 97% of the precincts in, Kelly, of North Prairie, got the most votes, at about 50%, while Karofsky finished second, with 37%. Fallone was a distant third, at 13% support.

Vote for Justice Dan Kelly

It’s election day in Wisconsin! In my city, the only thing on the ballot if the primary for Wisconsin Supreme Court. It’s important that you get out and vote for Dan Kelly. It’s so important that I even put on pants, emerged from the basement, and squinted at the giant ball in the bright in the sky to go meet the guy.

NEWS: If You Let Crooks Off Easy, They Commit More Crimes

This is a very long story, but very good. Go read the whole thing. Essentially, Cook County implemented “reform” where they let more crooks out without bail. The judge in charge proceeded to cook the books to show that there were no negative consequences. After pressure from the Chicago Tribune, they found the underlying data to be flawed and there were, in fact, significant negative consequences. This is a good insight to the consequences of criminal justice reforms being considered in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans for months has defended the bail reform he ordered by citing an analysis produced by the office he runs.

His report, released in May, noted that Chicago saw no increase in violent crime after judges began implementing those reforms by reducing or eliminating monetary bail for many pretrial defendants. Far more of these defendants were released from custody, yet only “a very small fraction” were charged afterward with a new violent offense, the report states.

But a Tribune investigation has found flaws in both the data underlying Evans’ report and the techniques he used to analyze it — issues that minimize the number of defendants charged with murder and other violent crimes after being released from custody under bail reform.

One central conclusion of Evans’ analysis was that only 147 felony defendants released from custody in the 15 months after bail reform went on to be charged with new violent crimes, or 0.6% of the total. He has called this a “rare” occurrence.

But Evans’ definition of violent crime, while acceptable to criminologists under some circumstances, was limited to six offenses and excluded numerous others, including domestic battery, assault, assault with a deadly weapon, battery, armed violence and reckless homicide.

Hundreds of these charges were filed against people released after bail reform took effect, according to data Evans provided after the Tribune filed a public records petition to the Illinois Supreme Court. If those charges were included in the analysis, the total would be at least four times higher, the Tribune found.

The report’s underlying data also was flawed in multiple ways that led to an undercount of murders and other violent crimes allegedly committed by people out on bail.

In one example, the Tribune identified 21 defendants who allegedly committed murder after being released from custody in the 15 months after bail reform. Evans’ report said there were three.


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Sheriff Tom Dart and other law enforcement officials have championed the intent of Chicago’s reforms. But they also have warned that there are consequences when judges release people with violent charges and backgrounds into neighborhoods already shaken by crime and gunfire.

“The low bails give those dangerous criminals a sense of impunity and make their victims less likely to cooperate with police,” Lightfoot said at a news conference as she stood beside police after the July 4 weekend, when 66 people were shot, five fatally.

Girls Sue to Compete Against Girls

This should be interesting.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The families of three female high school runners filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to block transgender athletes in Connecticut from participating in girls sports.

Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School, Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School and Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School are represented by the conservative nonprofit organization Alliance Defending Freedom. They argue that allowing athletes with male anatomy to compete has deprived them of track titles and scholarship opportunities.

Justice Thomas Explains Judicial Conservatism

Spot on.

Judges must not bend rulings to their own racial, religious or partisan preferences and instead uphold the rule of law even when it leads to unpopular decisions, the US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas said on Tuesday.

“Each time a judge sidesteps or manipulates the law to achieve his or her desired outcome, the rule of law suffers and is undermined and eventually compromised,” Thomas said in Atlanta, during the dedication of a judicial centre that will house Georgia’s supreme, appeals and business courts.


“Our decisions should not be driven by a desire to be revered or lionised for reaching certain outcomes,” he said. “We are not mass media icons. We are judges, nothing more and nothing less.”

Governor Evers Uses Heavy Hand of Government to Quash 1st Amendment


MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers is standing by his child services officials who warned a reporter he could face jail time if he reported information from a confidential child abuse investigation.

Evers said Tuesday the Department of Children and Families acted appropriately by sending an NBC News reporter a cease and desist letter threatening legal action, a move that media law experts say is likely unconstitutional.

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“I believe it’s appropriate that DCF protects the kid in this case. Somebody’s got to stick up for that young kid who was deemed to be abused,” Evers told reporters Tuesday. “Somebody’s got to stand up for the kid, and we did and I support that.”

DCF officials sought to block NBC News reporter Mike Hixenbaugh from publishing information from a confidential child abuse investigation file, saying reporting such information would violate state law and could result in six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

As we put more and more privacy laws from HIPAA to FERPA to others, this is becoming more of an issue. Business and government officials hide their abuses and wrongdoing behind these laws and use them to thwart the people’s ability to get to the truth.


WILL to Sue Madison School District over Anti-Parent Policy

Good. It is inappropriate for government employees to take it upon themselves to withhold information about a minor from their parents or legal guardians.

The district’s guidance prohibits school staff from disclosing “any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.”

“Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information,” the guidance states. “If a student chooses to use a different name, to transition at school, or to disclose their gender identity to staff or other students, this does not authorize school staff to disclose a student’s personally identifiable or medical information.”

WILL wrote in its December letter that it was representing a group of 15 parents with students in the district and that the guidance “contains certain policies that violate our clients’ constitutional rights as parents.”

“Specifically, the Policy allows children of any age to change gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, prohibits teachers and other staff from notifying parents about this (without the child’s consent), and, in some circumstances, even requires teachers and other staff to actively deceive parents,” the letter stated.

SCOTUS Upholds Immigration Policy

Two wins! First:

The US supreme court has allowed the Trump administration to block immigrants seeking permanent residency in America on the basis of their likelihood to use public benefits such as housing assistance, healthcare and food stamps even for short periods of time.

Good. We welcome immigrants who are contributing to our national progress. We also welcome legitimate refugees in need of safe haven.


“It has become increasingly apparent that this court must, at some point, confront these important objections to this increasingly widespread practice,” Gorsuch stated.

“As the brief and furious history of the regulation before us illustrates, the routine issuance of universal injunctions is patently unworkable, sowing chaos for litigants, the government, courts, and all those affected by these conflicting decisions.”

Yes, the court must. It undermines our system of government if a single unelected federal judge can usurp the power of the Congress and/or the President by issuing a sweeping national injunction. The Supreme Court needs to reign in that practice.


“Programming Error” Results in Illegal Aliens Being Registered to Vote

Uh huh. “Programming error.” Suuuuure, it was.

CHICAGO — Illinois lawmakers are raising questions about the integrity of state elections after the secretary of state admitted hundreds of non-citizens were registered as voters, and could have cast ballots illegally in the 2018 election.

In a letter, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office said a “programming error” in a signature pad at driver services facilities led to hundreds of non-U.S. citizens accidentally being registered as voters.

The Secretary of State’s Office said the problem has been fixed Tuesday, but state lawmakers and election authorities are just beginning to raise concerns.

“We view it as a significant problem,” said Matt Dietrich of the Illinois State Board Of Elections.