Walker hides behind nonsensical lawsuit to “escape from the electorate”

“What is happening in this lawsuit, is the governor is frantically trying to escape from the electorate.” So says Jeremy Levinson, attorney for the recall committees, and I’m inclined to agree, especially after witnessing the Friends of Scott Walker vs Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) lawsuit hearing this morning in Waukesha. And I don’t know how Kevin Kennedy, the lawyers, and the judge were able to keep a straight face, because this lawsuit seems utterly comical.

When asked why they’ve brought forth this lawsuit in the first place, here’s what the Friends of Scott Walker had to say: “We have the right of recall in the state of WI… but with the right of recall comes the equal right to not participate in the recall process, to not be a signatory. So if you are someone who chooses not to sign, you can only do that once. If you are someone who intentionally chooses to sign multiple times with the hope that your signature is counted multiple times, that’s ineffective.”

Say what?

Also part of their rationale for this lawsuit is that they want the established “criteria to be followed” by the GAB. When asked if the GAB is not planning to follow proper procedure, the Friends of Scott Walker responded,““Based on statements that the GAB has made…we believe that they are not going to strike some signatures.”

So…just to reiterate: The Friends of Scott Walker don’t trust the non-partisan Government Accountability Board to do its job properly, so they’re suing to make sure it does. And they’re trying to protect the rights of those who are not interested in signing the recall petitions (“this is for their rights”).

But it looks like the voices of those who do want to sign the recall petitions won’t be heard in this case. Judge J. M. Davis denied the motion to intervene put forth by the recall committees, meaning they can’t be part of this lawsuit; the judge cited his concern over “fruitless, unending lawsuits” and “a free-for-all” as part of his rationale. Levinson’s argument that the recall committees have “just as much a direct interest in this lawsuit as the plaintiffs” failed to convince Judge Davis.

The judge did not seem pleased with Jeremy Levinson, in part, because he was late to the hearing. Before Levinson arrived, Judge Davis expressed discontent that even with a cell phone, Levinson couldn’t leave a message (turns out, he left a message at around 8:40am, which the judge later received). And Judge Davis was not placated by Levinson’s explanation that he was stuck on I-94 for an hour due to bad weather and road conditions. (Levinson later noted that road reports are documented.)

I asked Levinson if he thought the outcome would have been any different had he arrived on time; he didn’t seem to think so. He said he respected the judge’s ruling, but that he was “somewhat surprised” that his clients “will not have a voice in the litigation.”

True, the recall committees may not have a say in this particular lawsuit, but the voices of the electorate will be heard. There is no escaping that fact.




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5 thoughts on “Walker hides behind nonsensical lawsuit to “escape from the electorate”

  1. I’d like to hear from every conservative who’s ever railed against frivolous lawsuits. Where are you now?

    They’re bringing suit on behalf of those who don’t want to sign the petition? Their right to sign once is being infringed upon?

    Prof Rick, give us an opinion on this one! Or should we be asking George Orwell?

  2. I was at the hearing this morning, and stuck around for the press gaggle with the attorneys. I can back up everything Lisa says here. She did forget that Davis also cited time concerns, that the case should be determined before the January 17 submission of papers. Since the recall committees want this dismissed before they submit, I can’t imagine why they would want to delay the process in any way. But the judge saw it differently. Justice may not be blind, but it is deaf and dumb in Judge Davis’ courtroom.
    For those interested, Davis scheduled the next hearing for January 5 (Next Thursday) at 1:30 p.m. in Courthouse 267.

    1. Thanks, John.
      I’m definitely an op-ed kind of girl; I’m way too sassy for any type of traditional reporting.
      Is the hearing at 1:30pm next Thurs-I thought he said 1pm? For the love of god, we don’t want to be late! 🙂

  3. So if I understand this right:

    So if you are someone who chooses not to sign, you can only do that once.

    You can ask a walker supporter to sign your petition and they can only turn you down once, the second time they have to sign?

  4. This story reminds me of an incident that happened while going door-to-door offering people the opportunity to sign the recall petition. I went out with some people in a neighborhood near where I live on the south side of Racine. At one house a man opened the door, stepped out on the top step and in a loud voice said “Get the *frack* out of here” — followed by — “and don’t come back!” Of the five of us who were present, only one had approached the house, but we all clearly heard the man’s words. We were appalled. I assure you that as a group and individually we were a model of decorum — fine, upstanding citizens.

    Thinking about it later, I worried that other people from other groups might come around and knock on this guy’s door, and be met with an increasingly irate resident. I wonder if this is the sort of thing this goofy lawsuit is about. Do they feel like they are being harassed by a very large percentage of the people of the state? We discussed the idea of a central database where we could report this sort of rude behavior, to enable other canvassers to avoid particular addresses. But that would be unworkable, at least in a short time frame.

    During the protests in Madison last winter, it seemed to me that the Walker supporters tended to think the protesters were organized, especially by the unions, instead of seeing an outpouring of individuals who had all arrived at the same conclusion independently. The accusation of organized effort was in a way dismissive, as though independent thinkers would not otherwise have found fault with the new governor. The originators of this lawsuit could not hope to enjoin individual citizens from trying to persuade their fellow citizens from trying to unseat this governor. That’s what elections are for.

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