Email date: 12/22/09
In this update:
1. Second lawsuit filed aiming to kill Impartial Justice Act
2. Michigan high court's recusal stance contrasts sharply with Wisconsin's
Second lawsuit filed aiming to kill Impartial Justice Act Can't remember the last time we saw a sitting judge file a lawsuit aiming to undo a law enacted by the public's elected representatives. Or any old kind of lawsuit, for that matter. Unsuccessful 2009 state Supreme Court candidate Randy Koschnick, who serves as a circuit court judge, gave new meaning to the term judicial activism when he filed a lawsuit this morning in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Impartial Justice Act.
Koshchnick sued just days after the anti-abortion group Wisconsin Right to Life filed a lawsuit in the same federal court challenging the Supreme Court election reform law. Koschnick is being aided in his action by the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia-based group that specializes in legal attacks on campaign finance reform laws.
Michigan high court's recusal stance contrasts sharply with Wisconsin’s On October 29 the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved rules written by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Realtors Association allowing judges to rule on cases involving their biggest campaign supporters. Under fire, one of the four justices who supported the new rules went so far as to write a newspaper column defending the action, but days later the rules were temporarily rescinded, leaving the issue up in the air for the time being.
The Michigan Supreme Court's handling of the same matter could not be more different. Justices there developed and approved new ethics rules that clearly call for the disqualification of judges who have conflicts of interest caused by campaign support they have received.
Since the four-member majority on Wisconsin's high court can't seem to do their own work on recusal, having let two of the most powerful lobbying groups in the state write ethics rules for them, maybe they could just copy what the Michigan justices came up with.