Wednesday, May 13, 2020

WI Sup. Ct. sheds its mask, shreds its credibility

5/14/2020 Update: I've had a few hours to think about all this, and I want to add a thought or two. I know a woman in her late 70's - so a bit older than I am, but also in our oldsters' at-risk cohort - and something she said a few weeks ago to me during her diligent social distancing to protect herself and others from Covid-19 rings demoralizingly true in light of the WI Supreme Court's reckless ruling. She said, 'you know, I feel like this virus is coming for me. No matter what I do.' At the time, I pooh-poohed her distress and said 'no no no, you'll be OK because you're doing all the right things. People are taking this seriously. We're all in this together.' But on Wednesday, we found that, in fact, we are not all in this together. Beginning with four Justices on, of all places, our highest and hopefully most sober and serious and analytical judicial panel - the WI Supreme Court. This is the absurdly dangerous and untenable position we find ourselves in today because of election calendars and gerrymandered, big-money politics. And I'm afraid a lot of good everyday citizens through no fault of their own will in fact lose friends, family, their health and even their lives because those justices and the power-hungry right-wing Republican politicians whom they favor are willing to trade other people's futures and lives for another kick at a Governor from the other party. These despicable partisans have broken Wisconsin and are without the means or the motivation to pick up the pieces.
A 4-3 Wisconsin Supreme Court rightwing majority Wednesday - - including the already-defeated lame-duck Justice Daniel Kelly - - surprised no one when they rewarded like-minded GOP lawmaker supplicants and overturned Gov. Evers' data driven extension of his original "Safer-at-Home" Covid-19 order.

As I predicted a while ago - 
Your warning lights should be flashing bright red, Bucky: Because we're told that GOP leaders, along with WI's big-business-without-any-worker-representation' special interests are working on a plan to roll out should they when the State Supreme Court lets them wrest control of the government's emergency powers from Gov. Evers. (Emphasis added.) 
Shorter issue synopsis: No attention paid to inconvenient facts like these released relentlessly while the justices were ruminating until Tuesday's special election could play out favorably for fellow conservatives and a far-right GOP State legislator in a Northern Wisconsin congressional district:
Wisconsin's coronavirus cases increase by 375, the second-highest total since testing began
And just today jumped by another 291.

The Court's right-wing majority's ruling was even more extensively stupefying - though I will add I am heartened by former Walker-appointee-and staff-lawyer-Brian Hagedorn's break with the four other robotically-reactionary conservatives.

I recall his questions and tone were far move civil and professional than were Bradley and Roggensack's crude pretensions.

Those four began this hot mess by voluntarily and publicly plunging themselves into self-parody at its now infamous video-conferenced 'argument' last Tuesday while safely sealed away from the virus - and in just 90 minutes shredded its deeply devalued currency with live display of image-busting bad taste, stereotypical judgements and historical ignorance: 
As the Court was 'deliberating' the fate of Gov. Evers' "Safer-at-Home" order, and while Associate Justice Rebecca Bradley quickly jumped out headline hunting with her stunningly ignorant connection of the order with "tyranny" and the militarized imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, it was Chief Justice Roggensack's injudicious dismissal of Brown's County's Covid-19 victims that exposed the Court majority's gratingly counterfeit credibility.

Justice Rebecca Bradley fretted that the 'Safer-at-Home' order echoed the WWII imprisonment of Japanese-American citizens, while Chief Justice Patience Roggensack said Green Bay's extensive virus clusters among meat-packing workers - and others - was not hitting "regular folks" in Brown County.
And now they have something further self-destructively dumbfounding:

Absorbing for itself - along with GOP legislators and their ideological advocates - an equal ownership share of future Covid-19 spikes and waves and body counts with a ruling that will be read, dissected, mocked and condemned for years because it is mired in misinformation, myth and the habitual, contaminating dismissal of public health and expertise.

Along with the partisan denigration of Democratic Governor who also happens to be a career educator with a Ph.D. - while turning over pandemic planning to GOP legislators who never offered a roadmap for saving businesses and lives.

It's a corrosive partisan and right-wing pattern that has for a decade weakened Wisconsin, turned our once-inviting-and progressive state into a laughingstock and factory of spitefulness, and proves that certain Wisconsin Supreme Court justices missed lessons that were available long before taking the bar exam:
One justice compared the legality of the order to the World War II Japanese internment camps.
You know - where the conceit of curbside food delivery was pioneered by BarbedWireDash as seen in this Junior Scholastic unit - 

- with video and dramatization, including:
America’s Concentration Camps...
Narrator A: On February 25many Japanese-Americans receive the same orderLeave home within 48 hoursThe Wakatsukis and others go to an assigned location in Los AngelesCaliforniaGovern­ment workers attach a numbered tag to every bag and every person before they board waiting buses....
Narrator BAfter a long ridethe bus comes to a haltEveryone files out and looks around in shockRow after row of wooden buildingsquickly and clumsily builtare dwarfed by a vast desertBarbed wire surrounds the campArmed guards stand watch in towers....
Narrator CThe newcomers are horrified by conditions at the intern­ment camp [a place where people who are considered a threat are confined during wartime]. The buildings are just wooden planks covered with tar paperThe wind blows sanddustand bitter-cold air through every crackTwelve members of Jeanne’s family must live in a cramped two-room unit.
The Wednesday ruling has other intended consequences that bode badly for the state of our state:

* It further enables The Gerrymander Brothers Fitzgerald and Vos.

Their power-mad lame-duckery political earwig repeats itself as if Scott Walker were still Governor despite his fair-and-square defeat by Evers in November, 2018 and illegitimately perpetuates their chokehold on state power.

All that's left for the Legislature's little dictators' to do now is misuse their (wink-wink) 'seat at the table,' high-five their supporters - Fitzgerald can turn his 'win' into campaign material as he seeks a promotion to serve Trump in Congress - and extend a middle finger to the first responders and front-line healthcare workers who will have to manage (and live through?) the first pandemic wave and now await the unsuppressed waves of Covid-19 which the Court ruling all but guarantees.

* Sidebar: Heads up, Northern Wisconsin - asymptomatic tourists are likely headed your re-opened BadgerLand way because Covid-19 doesn't know from county lines or non-Milwaukee zip codes. 

Green Bay and Racine counties' heavy positive case and death totals have said that loud and clear. 

Green Bay has the second-highest number of confirmed cases among Wisconsin's 72 counties, while Vos's home county of Racine is #3 in state positive case tallies, data show, and in the top ten counties nationally.

Just the guy to be handed fresh pandemic responsibilities by a State Supreme Court which is supremely and recklessly out-of-touch.

And note this recent posting from the state's office of rural health:
Top challenges rural Wisconsin hospitals are facing:
  • Planning for the unknown
  • Loss of revenue
  • Lack of PPE and testing supplies
Republicans can now make at least two more power moves to extend the ruling to its logically illogically conclusions:

1. Fire the expert health secretary-designee Andrea Palm, just as the Fitzgerald's GOP-led Senate majority did several months ago to Evers' completely-qualified Ag Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff for his refusal to bow and scrape. 

Something like that hadn't happened in the Wisconsin State Senate for 32 years - yet these are the legislators with whom Evers is now supposed to negotiate away a further diminution of his Governorship, along with the medically-informed common sense that should guide public health and protect the citizenry.

2. Codify this latest power grab by giving the dictatorial duo or their hand-picked lieutenants on the Joint Finance Committee the ability to make more medical and public health decisions, since the justices in the majority have shown the way.

Current GOP Capitol leaders have done this during the real and lame-duck Walker years by declining to expand Medicaid; turning down Obamacare funding; defunding and otherwise damaging women's health programs; reducing food assistance eligibility; and sitting on multiple efforts to remove agricultural manure runoff and so-called 'forever' chemical contamination from drinking water statewide.

And even more recently, the Legislature's GOP 'leaders' delayed voting to qualify Evers' emergency actions for federal funding, thus missing a deadline out of incompetence, spite and stupidity that cost the state $25 million in vital unemployment compensation Covid-19 relief dollars, the Journal Sentinel reported Thursday.

Remember: these 'leaders' are key members of the tag team of hyper-partisan legislators and injudicious justices who already sent voters on April 7th into unsafe, in-person polling places as they played Covid-19 Russian roulette with your life.

Dozens of participants have turned up positive for the virus, so, spike? What spike?

After all, it looks there seventy or so people who tested positive after voting in-person on April 7th, but  no one can prove they weren't already sick before election day and none of them are said yet to have died, so: Meh!

Now these cold-hearted-shoulder-shrugging-and-thoughtless policy-makers are going to make you play Russian Roulette, Round 2 while polling nationally has shown precisely an opposite opinion.

In Wisconsin, too - - a majority polled believe 'stay-at-home' orders are the right way to go.

Stay strong.

And wear your mask.


Anonymous said...

I knew this was coming but it is still a betrayal.

Anonymous said...

Trump may bring them all down in flames. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Your misjudging Vos. He is a popcorn popper. There is a lot of science in that. Heat the corn and pop. Then you have Fitz, who thinks we should open by regions, so we can allow people to go at will into areas of little infection. Dumbass.
Kind of like how Tiffany was a successful business man. He rarely paid taxes, so : was he a tax cheat or a terrible business man who couldn't make a profit.
They all have 3 things in common: 1. Arrogant 2. Stupid 3. Can be bought

Katrina said...

Just a reminder that Rebecca Bradley, like Daniel Kelly, was appointed and has not faced an election.

Middle class guy said...

I just saw governor Evers on the Rachael Maddow Show. He called it like it is. Four conservative judges who don’t follow the law or presidents. They don’t follow statutes. Right now it’s the wild wild West. 72 different counties with 72 different sets of rules. The Wisconsin tavern league has already emailed bars saying they can open up immediately. Corona Virus control now in the hands in the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Watch hospitalizations and deaths spike.

MadCityVoter said...

Katrina, to Wisconsin's eternal shame Rebecca Bradley was elected to a full 10-year term in 2016, the same day Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz won their respective primaries. And we'll be stuck with her idiotic opinions and analogies for another 6 years, barring impeachment or an act of God. If she gets Covid-19, though, I believe it would be fair irony to say that she got through her own fault.

Anonymous said...

so now it's up to each county to come up with their own health plan? what the hell. It's just a scam to pass the blame onto someone else.