Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recall In Wisconsin Is A "Right" Without Limits For Cause

And recall is not impeachment.

For the record:

Here is the relevant language from the State of Wisconsin Constitution, Article XIII, Section 12, that gives the power to recall an elected official to the state's eligible voters, does not require the subject of the recall commit any specific threshold offense to justify it, and forbids the enactment of any law to "hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall."

Recall of elective officers. SECTION 12. [As created Nov. 1926 and amended April 1981] The qualified electors of the state, of any congressional, judicial or legislative district or of any county may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective officer after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected, by filing a petition with the filing officer with whom the nomination petition to the office in the primary is filed, demanding the recall of the incumbent.
And the final sub-section:
(7) This section shall be self−executing and mandatory.
Laws may be enacted to facilitate its operation but no law shall be enacted to hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall. [1923 J.R. 73, 1925 J.R. 16, 1925 c. 270, vote Nov. 1926; 1979 J.R. 41, 1981 J.R. 6, vote April 1981]
Some scholarly discussion, here.

Recent Wisconsin recall history, here.

And the constitutional recall language is different from that governing impeachment, where corrupt and/or criminal conduct must be alleged, then presented in a trial:

Article VII, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution is titled Impeachment; trial. It reads, with emphasis added:
The court for the trial of impeachments shall be composed of the senate. The assembly shall have the power of impeaching all civil officers of this state for corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors; but a majority of all the members elected shall concur in an impeachment. On the trial of an impeachment against the governor, the lieutenant governor shall not act as a member of the court. No judicial officer shall exercise his office, after he shall have been impeached, until his acquittal. Before the trial of an impeachment the members of the court shall take an oath or affirmation truly and impartially to try the impeachment according to evidence; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two−thirds of the members present. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, or removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, profit or trust under the state; but the party impeached shall be liable to indictment, trial and punishment according to law. [1]

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