Partisan Politics Used to Control Wisconsin Courts
(MADISON) Yesterday, the GOP continued their effort to fast-track a constitutional amendment to ballot by the spring election. After Republican legislators on the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety rammed this proposal through committee, by providing the public and my colleagues with less than 25 hours’ notice, and by rescheduling the vote on the bill from a week away to the same day as the public hearing. Republican legislators voted unanimously to adopt the Senate Joint Resolution 2 for the April 2015 ballot despite the measure’s numerous issues.
As matter of fact, the resolution as drafted would leave our state without a Chief Justice for the time period between the certification of votes, and election of a new Chief Justice. The constitutional amendment isn’t clear about the voting mechanism, procedure, or timeframe for implementation. Moreover, the proposal will go to ballot during the April election where about 20% of the electorate participates, instead of November where about 70% of eligible Wisconsinites cast their ballots.
Despite the numerous amendments aimed at fixing continuity and fairness questions, offered by my colleagues and I, Republican legislators adopted this deeply flawed measure. It is wrong for Republicans to move so swiftly and caviler without respect for the gravity of their decision. Our state constitution, Chief Constitutional Officer, and the people of Wisconsin deserve more than this! Partisan politics may have a stronghold in the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly but it has no place in our courts.