Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wisconsin Supreme Court strengthens GOP secrecy embrace

Republican and right-wing public officials love to absorb special-interest campaign money and then behind close doors to use their incumbencies to undermine the public's business.

As they did when drafting the tax-cuts-for-the-rich bill masquerading as a 'health care' measure which GOP US Senators rolled out today, and a Wisconsin legislative gerrymander drafted in secret that has embedded the GOP in power and which the US Supreme Court has agreed to review.

Now we are learning that Wisconsin Supreme Court's 5-2 Republican-supported, right-wing majority elected and solidified with the help of big trade associations and conservative policy organizations has just voted with the strong backing of the retiring Scott Walker servant Justice Michael Gabelman - - 

Justice Gableman
- - to hold more of its policy-making discussions in secret:
For instance, the justices in April debated in public whether they should tighten court rules that dictate when judges must step aside from cases involving people or groups who spent money in their elections. The court rejected the rule changes, 5-2.
The same majority voted Thursday to stop holding such discussions in public. As such, when the court next takes up its ethics policies, it will do so behind closed doors.
And you can see why. 

Remember that some of the same right-wing advocacy and donor groups which invested in the Wisconsin Supreme Court's reactionary majority also wrote the current 'ethics' code that enables state judges and the justices themselves hear cases in which their donors are parties

In response to [a tougher, independent proposal], the Wisconsin Realtors Association (“Realtors”) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (“WMC”) filed separate amend the Judicial Code of Conduct to provide that recusal is not required in a proceeding based solely on any endorsement or receipt of a lawful campaign contribution from a party or entity involved in the proceeding. The petitions also sought clarification that a judge does not need to seek recusal where it would be based solely on a party in the case sponsoring an independent expenditure or issue advocacy communication in favor of the judge.
In a 4-3 decision...the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the [tougher] petition and adopted the Realtors and WMC’s petitions. 

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