Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Law

List of Epstein’s Associates to be Released

I give this an 80% probability of being rescinded or redacted, but perhaps we will eventually get to see Epstein’s clients. Surely some of these people will start singing to save their own skins.

Judge Loretta Preska wrote ‘unsealed in full’ next to the names of 177 Does who are Epstein’s friends, recruiters, victims and others whose names will be revealed when the material is released within the coming weeks.

 

The material is related to a defamation case brought by Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts in New York against Epstein’s madam Ghislaine Maxwell.

 

The hundreds of files will shed new light on the late financier’s sex trafficking operation and his network of influence

 

Roberts sued Maxwell for defamation in 2016 and while the case was settled, The Miami Herald – which published a bombshell expose of Epstein that led to his arrest in 2019 – sued to get the documents made public.

 

[…]

 

In her ruling Judge Preska gave 14 days for any Does who objected to their documents being made public to object, after which they would be unsealed.

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to School Choice

Good news!

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to hear a lawsuit brought by Democrats seeking to end the state’s taxpayer-funded private school voucher program.

 

The lawsuit could be refiled in county circuit court, as both Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration and Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had argued. The Supreme Court rejected it without comment in an unsigned, unanimous order.

 

Democrats who brought the lawsuit asked the state Supreme Court to take the case directly, which would have resulted in a much faster final ruling than having the case start in lower courts.

Unions sue to overturn Wisconsin’s 2011 Act 10

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

A group of unions have filed suit demanding that Wisconsin’s 2011 Act 10 be thrown out. They argue that the law is unconstitutional because it discriminates between public safety government employees and general government employees. Given that neither public safety government employees nor general government employees constitute a protected class in the state Constitution or in law, the case should be thrown out on its face, but it is probable that this is the beginning of the end of Act 10.

 

Since it has been well over a decade since Act 10 was passed, it is worth refreshing our collective memories about it. In 2010, Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle had declined to run for reelection after a series of scandals and gross mismanagement of the budget. The state was facing a massive $3.6 billion structural deficit. When Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow legislative Republicans were swept into office on a wave of discontent, they were immediately confronted with fixing the deficit. Act 10 began in a special session in early 2011 to fix the Democrats’ budget deficit. A structural budget deficit required a structural repair. At the time, roughly half of the $28.3 billion general fund budget (it was $44.4 billion in the most recent budget — up 57% — but that is for another column) was entitlements. Pension costs ate up 13%, shared revenue and K-12 spending was 15%, and all other state needs (universities, prisons, natural resources, etc.) were squeezed into the remaining 22%. Act 10 was designed to address the structural budget by restructuring the pension and local government parts of the state budget. The problem was that government unions had a stranglehold on that spending. In the days before Act 10, the powerful government unions organized to elect local school board members and other local elected officials. When it came to bargain for government employees, everything was on the table and the union officials were usually negotiating with people they helped elect. The taxpayers were not represented.

 

Act 10 did a number of things including restricting government union negotiations to just wages, required government unions to certify every year to ensure the employees wanted the unions’ representation, required government employees to contribute to their own health insurance and pensions, made elected official and political appointees equal to other employees for pensions, restructured some old debt, provided funding for corrections, and separated UW Madison from the UW System by giving it flagship status. It was an expansive and well-crafted law.

 

It worked. The budget was repaired and the tremendous budgeting that Republicans did throughout the 2010s led to the $7 billion budget surplus that politicians are arguing about today. It all started with Act 10.

 

Act 10 has also led to incredible savings for Wisconsin’s taxpayers. According to the MacIver Institute, which has been tracking the impact of Act 10 since it was passed, the cumulative savings stemming from Act 10 for Wisconsin’s taxpayers as of March of this year is $16.8 billion. Put another way, Wisconsin’s high cost of government would have been $16.8 billion more taxing had Act 10 never been passed.

 

Furthermore, the government employees who most opposed Act 10 have been voting with their feet. According to the Wisconsin Policy Institute, of the 983 public-sector unions in Wisconsin at the time of Act 10’s passage, only 318 successfully recertified and were still bargaining for employees as of 2021. Teachers unions are still the most active with 56.2% of them still active. At the other end of the spectrum, only 3.4% of county employee unions are still active. Government employees have been clear. The vast majority of them reject unionization just as most other Wisconsin workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 9.3% of Wisconsin’s workers — including government workers — were unionized in 2021.

 

That’s the rub. Follow the money. The unions suing over Act 10 have been decimated by the law because it allows workers to choose. The unions want to return to the bad old days when unions existed in perpetuity and government workers were forced to be members and pay dues. The unions were also able to shake down taxpayers for even more money like when the state teachers union founded a health insurance company and forced school districts to use it. All of that stopped with Act 10 and the river of taxpayer money that flowed into union coffers slowed to a babbling brook.

 

Despite the fact that Act 10 was litigated multiple times and ruled legal and constitutional every single time, the unions are suing again 12 years after Act 10 passed into law. Why? Because they and their Democrat vassals managed to elect a leftist activist majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The unions and the Democrats are looking to get a return on their investment and reinvigorate the government unions by turning the taxpayer spigot back on full.

 

Sadly for Wisconsin’s taxpayers, they will probably get their way.

Hunter Biden Indicted for Felony Tax Crimes

I have so little confidence in our justice system that I assume that there is a game being played here where Hunter will get off with a slap on the wrist and they will use that to deflect any further investigations. The tell is in the dates. According to the indictment, all of Hunter’s criminal activity happened between 2016 and 2020. Coincidentally, those were the only years in Joe’s adult life when he wasn’t in office.

Federal prosecutors have filed tax charges against Hunter Biden, a second criminal case against the US president’s son.

The indictment alleges he “engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4m in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019”.

The nine charges include failure to file and pay taxes, false tax return and evasion of assessment.

 

[…]

 

Federal prosecutors allege Hunter Biden “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills”.

 

Prosecutors allege that Hunter Biden instead spent his money on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes”.

The indictment says that the president’s son “individually received more than $7 million in total gross income” between 2016 and mid-October 2020, but “willfully failed to pay his 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 taxes on time, despite having access to funds to pay some or all of these taxes”.

 

[…]

 

Between 2016-19, he paid over $188,000 on “adult entertainment” and over $683,000 on “payments – various women”, according to the charge sheet.

 

Hunter Biden “continued to earn handsomely and to spend wildly in 2018”, prosecutors allege.

 

As his income increased, so did his expenditures, says the indictment.

 

In 2018, the defendant spent more than $1.8m, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash withdrawals, about $383,000 in payments to women and $151,000 on clothing.

But where did the money come from? And for what was Hunter paid?

Unions sue to overturn Wisconsin’s 2011 Act 10

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I thought we were done debating Act 10, but here we are…

A group of unions have filed suit demanding that Wisconsin’s 2011 Act 10 be thrown out. They argue that the law is unconstitutional because it discriminates between public safety government employees and general government employees. Given that neither public safety government employees nor general government employees constitute a protected class in the state Constitution or in law, the case should be thrown out on its face, but it is probable that this is the beginning of the end of Act 10.

 

Since it has been well over a decade since Act 10 was passed, it is worth refreshing our collective memories about it. In 2010, Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle had declined to run for reelection after a series of scandals and gross mismanagement of the budget. The state was facing a massive $3.6 billion structural deficit. When Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow legislative Republicans were swept into office on a wave of discontent, they were immediately confronted with fixing the deficit. Act 10 began in a special session in early 2011 to fix the Democrats’ budget deficit. A structural budget deficit required a structural repair. At the time, roughly half of the $28.3 billion general fund budget (it was $44.4 billion in the most recent budget — up 57% — but that is for another column) was entitlements. Pension costs ate up 13%, shared revenue and K-12 spending was 15%, and all other state needs (universities, prisons, natural resources, etc.) were squeezed into the remaining 22%. Act 10 was designed to address the structural budget by restructuring the pension and local government parts of the state budget.

 

The problem was that government unions had a stranglehold on that spending. In the days before Act 10, the powerful government unions organized to elect local school board members and other local elected officials. When it came to bargain for government employees, everything was on the table and the union officials were usually negotiating with people they helped elect. The taxpayers were not represented.

 

[…]

 

It worked. The budget was repaired and the tremendous budgeting that Republicans did throughout the 2010s led to the $7 billion budget surplus that politicians are arguing about today. It all started with Act 10.

 

Act 10 has also led to incredible savings for Wisconsin’s taxpayers. According to the MacIver Institute, which has been tracking the impact of Act 10 since it was passed, the cumulative savings stemming from Act 10 for Wisconsin’s taxpayers as of March of this year is $16.8 billion. Put another way, Wisconsin’s high cost of government would have been $16.8 billion more taxing had Act 10 never been passed.

 

Furthermore, the government employees who most opposed Act 10 have been voting with their feet. According to the Wisconsin Policy Institute, of the 983 public-sector unions in Wisconsin at the time of Act 10’s passage, only 318 successfully recertified and were still bargaining for employees as of 2021. Teachers unions are still the most active with 56.2% of them still active. At the other end of the spectrum, only 3.4% of county employee unions are still active. Government employees have been clear. The vast majority of them reject unionization just as most other Wisconsin workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 9.3% of Wisconsin’s workers — including government workers — were unionized in 2021.

 

That’s the rub.

 

Follow the money.

 

The unions suing over Act 10 have been decimated by the law because it allows workers to choose. The unions want to return to the bad old days when unions existed in perpetuity and government workers were forced to be members and pay dues. The unions were also able to shake down taxpayers for even more money like when the state teachers union founded a health insurance company and forced school districts to use it. All of that stopped with Act 10 and the river of taxpayer money that flowed into union coffers slowed to a babbling brook.

 

Despite the fact that Act 10 was litigated multiple times and ruled legal and constitutional every single time, the unions are suing again 12 years after Act 10 passed into law. Why? Because they and their Democrat vassals managed to elect a leftist activist majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The unions and the Democrats are looking to get a return on their investment and reinvigorate the government unions by turning the taxpayer spigot back on full.

Biden Judge Nominee Struggles with Basic Legal Terms

Ouch

Sara E. Hill, who is nominated by President Biden to be the district judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma, was grilled by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on the Senate Judiciary Committee about basic legal and Constitutional terms and definitions — a practice that’s become usual for him in recent months after several nominees have struggled to pass his tests.

 

When Kennedy asked Hill the difference between a “stay” order and an “injunction” order — two orders frequently issued by federal courts — Hill stumbled through her answers.

 

“A stay order would prohibit, um, sorry. An injunction would restrain the parties from taking action. A stay order … I’m not sure I can, actually can, can give you that,” she said.

Feds Investigate Milwaukee Government for Corruption

Broken by Mark Belling:

An ongoing investigation, first reported by me on Friday November 10, is focused on a pair of Milwaukee aldermen. Sources familiar with the federal investigation say it is premised on whether the aldermen in question have been improperly rewarded for their positions on issues.

 

I am not naming the aldermen. They have not been charged. Federal investigations sometimes lead to charges and other times do not. They can be based on concrete allegations or be fishing expeditions.

[…]

I had earlier reported that the concert venue issue was an area of focus of the investigation. In addition, there has been intense discussion in city government circles about the issue. No one has publicly stated that anything inappropriate has happened but opponents of the project have bitterly complained about the approval of the facility. City approval does not mean the facility will be built and the developers still need to get financing which is currently difficult given the interest rate environment.

 

The Common Council approved the concert venue proposal despite adamant objections from operators of other local concert venues. The approval came after developers dropped a proposed 800-seat venue at the complex. The two aldermen in question had originally opposed the project but went on to support it.

 

Neither of the aldermen in question have commented to me about the investigation. Federal grand jury investigations are secret and it can be a crime to disclose them. However, when a probe begins and people are questioned, word of these investigations can get out.

Ticketed in Oklahoma

This is so messed up.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper ticketed a tribal citizen with a current Otoe-Missouria Tribe license plate for failing to pay state taxes, prompting an outcry from tribal leaders who blamed Gov. Kevin Stitt‘s increasing hostility toward Native Americans.

 

Crystal Deroin, an Otoe-Missouria Tribe citizen, was ticketed for speeding near Enid on Tuesday and received a second $249 citation for failure to pay state motor vehicle taxes because she did not live on tribal land.

 

“After over 20 years of cooperation between the State and Tribes regarding vehicle tag registration, it appears the State has altered its position of understanding concerning tribal tags,” Otoe-Missouria Chairman John Shotton said in a statement. “This change was made without notice or consultation with all Tribes that operate vehicle tag registration.”

Most Oklahoma drivers pay motor vehicle taxes each year through the renewal of state license plates. But many of the 39 Native American tribes headquartered in Oklahoma also issue special tribal license plates to their citizens each year, based on a 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Sac & Fox Nation that says the state doesn’t have the authority to tax tribal citizens who live in Indian Country.

There are entire movements around licensing and taxing people in the interests of public safety, but all of that gets thrown out the window when it comes to the tribes.

Milwaukee City Attorney Allegedly Sexually Harassed Employee

If the facts of the case are true, anyone in corporate America who takes annual sexual harassment training can tell you that it is sexual harassment. Nonconsensual touching combined with retaliation. Yup. Dead to rights. But look how long they are spinning out this process for a Democrat. Despite allegedly committing the transgression within months of taking office, he will be able to finish his four-year term before any action might – MIGHT – be taken. Democrats protect their own.

A state investigator has found “probable cause” to believe Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer violated state labor law by effectively forcing a female attorney out of his office after she reported that he had touched her inappropriately.

 

Former Assistant City Attorney Naomi Gehling filed a discrimination complaint last year with the state Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division. In it, she alleged she was “ostracized and mistreated” by Spencer after she informed a deputy city attorney and human resources staffer of the incident. She also accused him of creating a “toxic and uncomfortable” workplace for her.

 

Gehling previously disclosed that she had accused Spencer of placing his hand on her knee during a meeting on July 23, 2020, just months after he took office. Spencer has denied any wrongdoing.

 

In her preliminary finding, Leticia Daley, a state equal rights officer, said Gehling’s resignation in April 2021 appears to be a “constructive discharge,” meaning Gehling felt she had no option but to resign because of her “sex and her report of unlawful discrimination.”

 

[…]

 

If Gehling and the city don’t settle, her complaint is scheduled to go before a state administrative law judge on April 23 and 24 — three weeks after Milwaukee voters are to decide whether to re-elect Spencer.

[…]

Spencer, who is in his first term, has not said if he is running for re-election on April 2. Already in the race is state Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee).

Republicans amend their way to secure elections

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

Wisconsin’s reputation for clean elections has suffered mortal blows in recent years thanks to the aggressive assault by leftists to undermine our election laws and procedures. Their efforts have been so successful that they are redoubling their efforts to bludgeon our electoral system into an instrument to extend leftist ideology.

 

Defending against the leftist onslaught, Republicans in the Legislature have been working to codify some key electoral protections into the state Constitution. Even constitutional protections are not safe from the activist leftist Wisconsin Supreme Court, but constitutional ramparts are stronger than statutory ones. The process to amend the state Constitution is long, but simple. Both houses of the state Legislature must pass the same constitutional amendment in two successive legislatures, then the amendment is submitted to the voters of the state. If the voters pass it, then the Constitution is amended. The process intentional excludes the executive and judicial branches, relegating the text of the Constitution the sole domain of the elected Legislature and the state’s electors. The Republicans currently have three amendments concerning election integrity working their way to the voters. The first proposed amendment would prohibit governments from accepting private money to manage elections and prohibit anyone except election officials from administering anything to do with running an election.

 

This amendment is in response to the “Zuckerbucks” that polluted our 2020 presidential election. Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg spearheaded an effort to pour millions of dollars and dozens of people into Democratic cities to “help” administer elections. This amendment would prohibit such activities and keep administering our elections the exclusive responsibility and authority of elected and appointed government officials. This amendment is up for its second vote this year could be on the ballot as soon as April for the voters’ consideration.

 

The second proposed amendment would change the state Constitution to ensure that only United States citizens can vote in Wisconsin’s elections. It is already the law in Wisconsin that only U.S. citizens can vote, but the Constitution actually states that, “Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district.” “Every” is the key word because it does not exclude non-citizens from voting. It simply says that every U.S. citizen can vote. It does not say that non-citizens cannot vote. Wisconsin state and local laws prohibit non-citizens from voting, but the Constitution does not.

 

Part of the leftist agenda is to get the millions of illegal aliens that the Biden administration has been helping flood into America to vote. They believe that the leftist agenda of opening the borders and providing welfare to millions of impoverished foreigners will be appreciated and reciprocated with their votes. Leftists throughout the country are pushing to allow non-citizens — illegal and otherwise — to legally vote in local elections to start. They have long winked and turned a blind eye to non-citizens voting illegally.

 

The amendment to ensure that citizenship means something and that only citizens can legally vote should be on the ballot for consideration by the voters in 2024.

 

The third proposed constitutional amendment is only on its first reading, so it will not be submitted to the voters until at least 2025. Several years ago, the Legislature and Governor Scott Walker enacted voter ID with wide public support. Protecting our elections by ensuring that people prove their identity and eligibility to vote by showing a qualified picture ID is a simple, common-sense, measure that remains very popular.

 

Like so many common-sense laws, Wisconsin’s leftists have been undermining the law and are counting on the newly minted leftist Supreme Court to throw out the law on some hogwash pretense. The leftists seem to want non-citizens and other ineligible persons to vote and voter ID puts a crimp in their agenda.

 

To try to protect voter ID, the third proposed constitutional amendment would enshrine it into the Constitution. Normally this is something that would be more appropriate for the statutes instead of the Constitution, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Hopefully the voters will have their say (again) on this issue in 2025.

 

All three proposed constitutional amendments are policies that enjoy wide public support, but nothing is ever certain in Wisconsin’s elections. Get out and vote.

UW Hospital Sued Over Gender Surgeries

There will be many of these.

A lawsuit filed in Dane County Circuit Court alleges two UW Hospital surgeons performed gender-affirming surgeries on a young woman without her consent.

 

According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, Dr. Jay Lick performed a hysterectomy on the patient when she was 19, and Dr. Katherine Gast performed a double mastectomy on the patient when she was 21.

 

While in her late teens, the woman diagnosed herself with gender dysphoria, a clinical symptom defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics as “a sense of alienation to some or all of the physical characteristics or social roles of one’s assigned gender.” Gender dysphoria is also recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the guide used by mental health professionals in the United States.

 

[…]

 

The case also names University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority, the organization that owns UW Hospital, and the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which compensates patients who are injured, or the family of those who die, as a result of medical malpractice cases.

Evers Appeals to Leftist Court to Reject Checks and Balances

Evers is moving fast to get the high court to give the Executive Branch more unrestrained power.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democratic Gov.  on Tuesday sued the Republican-controlled Legislature, arguing that it is obstructing basic government functions, including signing off on pay raises for university employees that were previously approved.

 

Evers is asking the liberal-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, bypassing lower courts.

 

Evers said it was “a bridge too far” and “just bull s—” that Republican state lawmakers were telling 35,000 University of Wisconsin employees who were expecting pay raises to “stick it.”

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.

 

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Restricts Public Access to Eviction Records

Two years is nothing. It is as close to useless as you can be without being completely useless. Landlords in Wisconsin are going to end up renting to a lot of bad tenants. Look for evictions to increase and rents to go up to cover the costs.

MADISON (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted Monday in its first public administrative conference in more than a decade to reduce from 20 years to two years the time when most eviction records must be kept on the state court website.

 

The change was sought by tenant rights advocates who argued that the longer record-keeping has made it more difficult for people with lower incomes to find housing.

 

The court voted 4-3, with liberals in support and conservatives against, for shortening the recordkeeping on the state court website, commonly referred to by the acronym CCAP.

Wisconsin Supreme Court begins assault

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

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.

Deflect and Disarm

I see that the Justice Department found their fall guy for leaking Trump’s tax records so that they can maintain a fig leaf of objectivity for the ignorant.

The Justice Department announced on Friday charges against a Washington, D.C., IRS consultant for allegedly leaking tax information associated with former President Donald Trump and thousands of other wealthy individuals to two separate news organizations.

 

38-year-old Charles Littlejohn was charged via a criminal information with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information — indicating he is likely set to plead guilty to the charge.

 

The criminal information notes that while he worked at the IRS as a government contractor, he stole information associated with an unnamed high-ranking government official and disclosed it to a news organization. He also stole tax information from “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and disclosed that information to a separate news organization,” the Justice Department says.

 

Victims of AI

We are going to see more of this.

A sleepy town in southern Spain is in shock after it emerged that AI-generated naked images of young local girls had been circulating on social media without their knowledge.

The pictures were created using photos of the targeted girls fully clothed, many of them taken from their own social media accounts.

 

These were then processed by an application that generates an imagined image of the person without clothes on.

 

So far more than 20 girls, aged between 11 and 17, have come forward as victims of the app’s use in or near Almendralejo, in the south-western province of Badajoz.

 

[…]

 

The suspects in the case are aged between 12 and 14. Spanish law does not specifically cover the generation of images of a sexual nature when it involves adults, although the creation of such material using minors could be deemed child pornography.

Another possible charge would be for breaching privacy laws. In Spain, minors can only face criminal charges from the age of 14 upwards.

Some good questions. Clearly, the girls are victims. But is it child porn if the images are fake? What is the appropriate legal sanction, if any, for taking a public image of someone and manipulating it? If the boys had done this by drawing or painting, is it morally different than using AI to create the images? Is it a crime to draw an imagined image of a naked person – adult or child? Our legal infrastructure in the age of AI is woefully behind. The action is clearly disgusting and morally reprehensible, but how should the law deal with it?

Couple Sues City Over Using Race to Award Contracts

I hope they win.

(Reuters) – A white married couple that owns two landscaping companies has sued Houston, claiming that the city’s requirement that certain government contracts be set aside for minority-owned businesses runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution.

 

The two businesses owned by Jerry and Theresa Thompson in a complaint filed in federal court in Houston on Tuesday said the city’s program violates their constitutional rights to equal protection. The city has said that the four-decade-old program ensures that historically disenfranchised people have an opportunity to participate in lucrative government contracting, and fosters a more competitive economic environment.

 

The lawsuit is the latest to challenge affirmative action programs since the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down race-conscious policies in college student admissions in rulings involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The suit was filed on the same day that an anti-affirmative action group sued the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, claiming the Army school’s affirmative action practices unconstitutionally discriminate against white applicants.

Under Houston’s program, the city sets annual numerical goals for awarding different types of contracts to businesses owned by minorities. Between July 2021 and June 2022, about 24% of professional service contracts and about 14% of construction contracts were awarded to minority-owned businesses, according to the city.

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s leftist majority forfeits court’s authority

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

What do we do when high government officials act without regard to the Constitution or law? What do we do when government officials engage in a bloodless insurrection and usurp power that is not theirs? It is happening in the Wisconsin Supreme Court as the new liberal majority has moved swiftly to orchestrate a coup while running roughshod over the state Constitution, the law, and long-established court rules.

 

Even before Janet Protasiewicz was seated, the incoming liberal majority had notified the long-standing and award-winning State Courts Director, Randy Koshnick, that he was fired. The firing violated several internal court rules and simple decency toward a longstanding state employee.

 

Continuing their galumph over court rules and state law, the liberal gang appointed Milwaukee Judge Audrey Skwierawski to replace Koshnick. Not only was it not a competitive hiring process in which persons of color and others candidates were considered, but it violates state law. Wisconsin statute 757.02(2) states, “The judge of any court of record in this state shall be ineligible to hold any office of public trust, except a judicial office, during the term for which he or she was elected or appointed.”

 

Skwierawski claims to be on leave, but the statute is clear that she cannot legally serve as the State Courts Director during the term for which she was elected. The only way she could legally hold the position is if she resigned as a judge, but she has declined to do so.

 

We have quickly learned why the leftist majority rammed Skwierawski into the position. Last week, Chief Justice Annette Ziegler discovered that Skwierawski had been signing reserve judge orders with Justice Ziegler’s name without Ziegler’s knowledge or permission. It is unclear what else Skwierawski may have signed while impersonating the Chief Justice. This alleged identity theft by Skwierawski is a direct usurpation of Ziegler’s power and a violation of her person.

 

The leftist majority also violated court rules to pass new administrative rules to usurp the Chief Justice’s power. Under court rule III(A), any change to the court schedule agreed upon in the spring requires unanimous approval of all seven elected justices. These rules have been in effect since 1984 and adhered to in times of liberal and conservative majorities. Contrary to that rule, the four leftist justices met alone on August fourth to change the administrative structure of the court.

 

Not only was their meeting unauthorized and invalid, but the rule they “passed” violates the state Constitution. One of the changes was to create a three-justice committee to administer the court. The committee consists of the Chief Justice and two justices elected by the leftist majority. Of course, those two elected committee members are elected by the leftist majority and would effectively usurp all of the power of the Chief Justice.

 

The Wisconsin State Constitution Article VII Section 4(3) states, “The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of the judicial system and shall exercise this administrative authority pursuant to procedures adopted by the supreme court.” The Chief Justice’s exclusive authority to administer the Supreme Court is granted by, and protected by, the Constitution. The leftist majority’s administrative committee is a direct violation of the Constitution.

 

It has only been a month and the leftists on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been acting with Marxist disregard for the rule of law in pursuit of overwhelming power that would make Comrade Stalin wince at their brazenness.

 

When a majority of the justices on the state’s high court are so clearly and openly violating the court’s own rules, state law, and the Constitution, they have forfeited their authority and surrendered their power to judge the affairs of the people of Wisconsin. If they do not follow the law and the Constitution, they have no authority to judge whether we do.

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s leftist majority forfeits court’s authority

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

What do we do when high government officials act without regard to the Constitution or law? What do we do when government officials engage in a bloodless insurrection and usurp power that is not theirs? It is happening in the Wisconsin Supreme Court as the new liberal majority has moved swiftly to orchestrate a coup while running roughshod over the state Constitution, the law, and long-established court rules.

 

[…]

 

Continuing their galumph over court rules and state law, the liberal gang appointed Milwaukee Judge Audrey Skwierawski to replace Koshnick. Not only was it not a competitive hiring process in which persons of color and others candidates were considered, but it violates state law. Wisconsin statute 757.02(2) states, “The judge of any court of record in this state shall be ineligible to hold any office of public trust, except a judicial office, during the term for which he or she was elected or appointed.”

 

Skwierawski claims to be on leave, but the statute is clear that she cannot legally serve as the State Courts Director during the term for which she was elected. The only way she could legally hold the position is if she resigned as a judge, but she has declined to do so.

 

We have quickly learned why the leftist majority rammed Skwierawski into the position. Last week, Chief Justice Annette Ziegler discovered that Skwierawski had been signing reserve judge orders with Justice Ziegler’s name without Ziegler’s knowledge or permission. It is unclear what else Skwierawski may have signed while impersonating the Chief Justice. This alleged identity theft by Skwierawski is a direct usurpation of Ziegler’s power and a violation of her person.

 

[…]

 

It has only been a month and the leftists on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been acting with Marxist disregard for the rule of law in pursuit of overwhelming power that would make Comrade Stalin wince at their brazenness.

 

When a majority of the justices on the state’s high court are so clearly and openly violating the court’s own rules, state law, and the Constitution, they have forfeited their authority and surrendered their power to judge the affairs of the people of Wisconsin. If they do not follow the law and the Constitution, they have no authority to judge whether we do.

Archives

Categories

Pin It on Pinterest