Thursday, November 26, 2020

WI Sup. Ct. grabs The COVID Express wheel from vacationing GOP legislators

You would think that rational people holding the title of "Justice" on a deliberative body with the word "Supreme" in its title would make sure they played no role in enabling the spread of a deadly contagion among the citizens who pay those justices' salaries.

And who every year or two get to vote the Justices in or out.

But the Wisconsin Supreme Court's so-called 'conservative' majority continues to do just that.

These Justices didn't let the most inert Republican state legislative leaders in America who lollygagged around their home districts for the last eight months absorb their pivotal, earned share of responsibility for COVID19's rampage which continues to flood hospitals and morgues with unimaginable numbers of Wisconsin citizen victims.

Regardless, the 'conservative' Justices were willing to say, Hey, we got this, they said to the GOP legislative leaders: go ahead, partners, and play your games and feather your nests - and we'll break the Democratic Governor for you while you're at it.

Because, what are friends for if not giving cover during COVID?

Note, for example, that the GOP-run Legislature has not had the political courage to come into session since mid-April and do anything, including voting up or down on the Governor's statewide masking order - a reality noted by an actual local judge in a Republican County - 

Judge to Republican GOP legislators: If you want to end the Governor's mask mandate, do it yourself

Why did the GOP-run Legislature sit that one out?

Because they knew the public supported masking orders by a 40-point polling margin, so these self-preservationist - not 'conservative' -  legislators preferred not to lug baggage stuffed with so much dirty laundry into the November election, or the court of public opinion.

So the Wisconsin Supreme Court's supremely callous 'conservatives' who are beholden to the same monied special interests which help gerrymander-protected legislative leaders maintain their power stepped in and have taken the lead since May to shut down Gov. Evers' 'Safer-at-Home' COVID19 mitigating order. 

Not surprisingly, Wisconsin's COVID19 cases have exploded since then  by a factor of more than 33.

Of course killing statewide COVID-controls can be made - if one is creative - to dovetail with the WI GOP legislators' phony preference for local controls:

Top GOP lawmakers now want to leave virus plan in the hands of local officials

"As a Republican, I believe in local control," [GOP Assembly Speaker] Vos said Thursday.

Two things about that b.s. 

1. Republican legislators had been doing the opposite for eight years when Walker was there to rubber-stamp their power grabs:

GOP lawmakers passed 128 measures limiting local control since 2011  

2. The so-called conservative Justices aligned with Republicans just blocked Racine's local orders that suspended in-person classroom education because of spiking COVID tallies.

Remember when Speaker Vos said he preferred local officials set local COVID-related policies?

In case you forgot, here's that link and his sanctimonious verbiage, again:

As Wisconsinites try to understand what daily life is supposed to look like now that the state Supreme Court has eliminated the Evers administration's stay-at-home order, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said local officials should be able to largely handle the situation on their own. 
"As a Republican, I believe in local control," he said Thursday.

And do you remember that Speaker Vos represents people in Racine County? Never the less, you won't hear a peep out of Vos about the Supreme Court's obstruction of that local order and the larger diminution there of local control.

Sidebar: Can someone point me to the State Supreme Court's science advisers? They must have some, since the Justices continue to hold their meetings via Zoom conferencing that 'masks' the from the pandemic.

Masking order ruling expected soon

So the Court's so-called 'conservative' majority will continue to do the GOP Legislative leaders' dirty work for them, regardless of irony and respect for principles - from local control to putting everyday people over the narrowest of politics to true separation of powers.


Because hacking away at Gov. Evers' credibility, the role of science, and the value of public health brought about by public officials is boilerplate Wisconsin GOP gospel.

That partisan playbook also allows Assembly Leader Vos to masquerade as a believer in bi-partisan give-and-take and phony-up a more marketable persona for future campaigns.

Just like it helped outgoing GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald spend the last eight months collecting full state legislators' public pay while campaigning and 'winning' an election to Congress in a district his own party had safely gerrymandered for Republican Party candidates.

That's the WI GOP and State Supreme Court's 'conservative' majority's joint agenda working well, writ large: hold onto power, keep the line moving, elevate ideology over common ground, undermine Democrats and devalue the public sphere through the 2022 elections, and beyond.

And if there are a lot more collateral casualties, and even regular people get sick, Republicans like Racine (again, Racine!) State Sen. Van Wanggaard have said: bring it on:

Leading WI GOP State Senator says 10x COVID cases not worth mask order

So when the final disease and mortality tolls are tallied, the failed businesses and their unemployed workers are toted up, and some value is attached to the damage done to children's educations and their earning potential by the pandemic made worse by partisan inaction and abject stupidity, let's in the name of truth-in-advertising add “Official Death Panel” to the State Supreme Court mission statement.

And require COVID-coddling justices to trade their black robes for gravediggers' coveralls.


Anonymous said...

Well if what the president says about Wisconsin elections being fraudulent and full of illegal voting then none of these elected judges should have the power to judge. The problem is the legislature. Reason is either caucus disagreement, or fear of veto power. The governor gets good grades for being a good educator but bad grades on the politics. I know his special sessions have been gaveled in and out. But the tool he has in the state constitution is the ability to call a specially session for a pandemic. He should keep calling them back until they vote up or down specific legislation - such as a mask mandate. Not fighting with the legislature just let's them set the terms - go to court - and win. Sad and deadly state of affairs. Didn't get this way overnight and won't change easily. I am afraid we are harvesting past inactions and mistakes and of course the politics of greed and envy.

Unknown said...

Very well put, Jim. This murderous behavior needs to be called out for exactly what it is. The Justices can hide behind the long terms granted them, in the hopes of some independence, to continue to bludgeon science and bi-partisanship and care for one's neighbor without having to face a vote. The blatant disregard of human life under the completely lacerated notion of liberty and freedom, is simply appalling.