Defending One Law & Questioning Another

In this update: 1. WDC, partner groups file legal briefs defending Impartial Justice Act 2. Blog: Walker’s law is unconstitutional 3. Updated fundraising information posted for recall election senators 4. Concern over redistricting grows Defending One Law & Questioning Another

Email date: 6/20/11

In this update:
1. WDC, partner groups file legal briefs defending Impartial Justice Act
2. Blog: Walker’s law is unconstitutional
3. Updated fundraising information posted for recall election senators
4. Concern over redistricting grows

______________________________________________________________

WDC, partner groups file legal briefs defending Impartial Justice Act
On Friday legal briefs were filed in a federal appeals court on behalf of the Democracy Campaign and partner organizations in support of Wisconsin’s Impartial Justice Act providing public financing of state Supreme Court elections. The law faces a federal lawsuit claiming it violates First Amendment free speech protections. To read over WDC’s legal arguments, go here.

The court action is not the only threat to the most significant campaign reform enacted in Wisconsin in over 30 years. The state budget passed by the Legislature last week and now awaiting Governor Scott Walker’s signature eliminates a key funding source for the Impartial Justice Act as well as public financing for other state offices.

______________________________________________________________

Blog: Walker’s law is unconstitutional
By the U.S. Supreme Court’s own line of reasoning, the new law abolishing most collective bargaining rights is unconstitutional on free speech grounds. That’s the gist of our latest Big Money Blog posted Friday.

A legal challenge to the union-busting law filed in state court focused on the Legislature’s violation of state open meetings laws in passing the bill. A Dane County judge blocked the law on those grounds, but the state Supreme Court hastily stepped in and ruled a legislative committee was not bound by open meeting requirements. That, in turn, has raised major questions about the Supreme Court itself. The Beloit Daily News published an editorial Friday saying the court’s behavior has made the state judiciary “the third partisan branch of government in Wisconsin.” A blogger for Forbes magazine voiced similar concerns. An e-mail obtained by a Madison television station did nothing but reinforce these impressions.

New legal challenges have been filed in federal court arguing the law runs afoul of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

______________________________________________________________

Updated fundraising information posted for recall election senators
The Democracy Campaign today posted updated information about campaign contributions received by state senators facing recall elections, incorporating new records gleaned from recently filed campaign finance reports.

______________________________________________________________

Concern over redistricting grows
A congressional redistricting plan for Wisconsin that recently surfaced has confirmed fears that current members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation are privately conspiring to make their districts more conducive to their own reelection. The Make Our Vote Count committee issued a statement expressing concern about this development.

Meanwhile, Republicans who control the state Legislature are fixing to engage in shameless gerrymandering to cement the political gains they made in the 2010 elections. This prospect led the Wisconsin State Journal to editorialize in favor of WDC-backed reform that would put redistricting in the hands of a nonpartisan body.

To add your voice to the growing chorus calling for redistricting reform, go here.