Tuesday, June 25, 2019

WI rightwing handed another easy win by State Supreme Court

While the Bradley Foundation-funded right hoped to hand control of state education programming to a Governor named Walker, not Evers, it will celebrate a 4-2 decision along barely-concealed partisan lines by the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday to further remove expertise from policy-making and overlay education statewide with conservative goals.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled the state schools superintendent must get the governor's approval before passing administrative rules, a reversal of the court's previous decision that upheld the office's authority to set its own policy.
The decision - - full text, concurrences and dissents, here - - includes language from the far-right Justice Rebecca Bradley that labels the DPI an "administrative leviathan," heaps on condemnation of scary bureaucratic "overlords" and rants at the "administrative state," a polysyllabic synonym for "deep state," the right's more familiar, reactionary shorthand.

The decision overturned a ruling just three years old which affirmed the independence of the DPI, so just think of it as another lame-duck, last-minute, Walkerite embedding ideological switcheroo.

An attorney representing DPI put it this way: 
Lester Pines, an attorney for the state Department of Public Instruction, said it was obvious the court was going to rule in WILL’s favor as soon as it took the case. The court’s conservative majority is clearly inclined to expand Republican legislators’ powers, he said.
“There are few constants in life but it’s nice to know now that we can predict the outcome of cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court before they’re argued,” he said.
The Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty, WILL, was the successful litigant. The conservative law firm announced a major expansion after Walker's loss.

Current Justice Daniel Kelly, a Walker appointee seeking election to a full 10-year-term in the April 2020 statewide election, was a member of WILL's litigation advisory board prior to his elevation to the court.

The right takes a long view of its battles and priorities, so now three-and-a-half year delay in handing the keys to the school house to a Walkerite Governor won't be much of a disappointment. 

It took the right in Wisconsin 50 years to get rid of public employee rights and add other restrictions on teachers and other public servants, so bidding their time for 3.5 years is just a rightwing blink.

All of which makes the 2022 gubernatorial election an even more-critical referendum on the integrity of the State Department of Public Instruction, 

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
school choice, diversion of tax dollars from public schools and GOP hostility to public employee bargaining and representation issues.

And in the meanwhile, look to the right to litigate against other state agencies or rule-making in the name of so-called strict constitutionalism or liberty and on behalf of power even more heavily concentrated in the Governor's Office.

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