April 22, 2011

Wisconsin update

Reader J.L. sends in the best (fact-based) response about Wisconsin:

(By way of credentials, I'm a month and a day away from graduating law school and I'm president of the election law society on campus.)

Scott Walker cannot appoint any legislators in either house. The Governor is only allowed to order elections for state legislators, not to appoint them.

If a recalled legislator resigns in advance of the recall election, that creates a vacancy. The Governor would at that time issue a writ of election, calling for a vote to fill the seat at a future date. It would stop the recall (by achieving its goal), but it wouldn't allow Walker to fill the seat, only to set the timetable for when the voters could fill it themselves via election. This is per the Wisconsin Constitution, Article IV, section 14. The WI constitution does allow for recalled legislators to decline to contest the recall election. Article XIII, Sec. 12(4).

So in other words, if the Senator resigned, there would still need to be a special election to fill the seat. Only the Senator wouldn't even have a chance anymore.

A lot of you sent in other answers (and links to various statutes) and thanks for that, but Googling seems to imply this is the most cohesive since it's direct in the state Constitution. That said, reader J.K. shares a similar fear others offered:

Your last post was something very similar to what I asked my family friends that lived in Wisconsin. I was actually wondering if the governor could just say that he's not going to seat the new Senators. I started thinking this around the time when the legislature decided that the union-busting law passed by the Republican Senate was in effect, despite the fact that a judge said, very declaratively, that it wasn't in effect pending a legal review on how it was passed. I was so dumbstruck at how it would, in fact, be possible, for a government to just say they weren't going to follow a judge's orders, that my mind thought of so many Alice-in-Wonderland scenarios, which could very well include the Governor just saying that recalled Senators can remain in office until he says so. I can't believe we're discussing that scenario and yours, but here we are. Amazing.

I sincerely doubt that this will happen, but enough of you do to mention it. If anything, use it as motivation.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:26 PM

April 20, 2011

Because I wouldn't put it beyond them

I genuinely don't know, so a hypothetical question for Wisconsin readers about the recall efforts: what are the rules pertaining to the recall if the incumbent chooses to resign?

In other words, theoretically, what's to stop one of the Republican senators from facing a recall, and their response is, "well, screw you then" and then resigning, thus allowing Governor Walker to appoint an immediate replacement? Does the recall prevent them from doing that? Would it mean the appointed replacement automatically faces a recall?

Furthermore, if he is allowed to appoint a replacement, would anything stop Walker from just appointing the very same Senator?

I'm not saying a move like that wouldn't be insane, but let's face it, Walker's only constituency at this point is the Tea Party, which is mostly crazy people. Not to mention, of course, that the only way to prove your cred with the Tea Party nowadays is to find the nastiest and most creative ways to make end runs around state constitutions. Just curious if legally he can do something as odious as that... or if he might do it regardless.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:37 AM

April 19, 2011

You may all commence crying now

Elisabeth Sladen 1948 - 2011

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:16 PM

April 18, 2011

"Racism Takes the Lead"

Latest comic - click here!

Donald Trump, who--oh, hell, I don't even have a metaphor here: he's Donald Trump--has suddenly skyrocketed to the top of Republican polls at the exact same time he has started exclaiming that Barack Obama isn't an American. There apparently remains a debate that the Tea Party isn't a bunch of ignorant racists.

As I already pointed out, it's both laughable and infuriating that the media is allowing Trump to use overt racism as a means of free publicity for his television show. He's not running for president and anyone who wants him to is as stupid as they are racist, which just to be clear is very, very stupid, because if you find anything Trump says as amusing you're as racist as he is, which is very.

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Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:31 PM