Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

WI Recalls and Redistricting, 2012 Edition

with 3 comments

Tonight, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) has appealed the largely-favorable ruling the three-judge federal panel gave regarding the 2012 redistricting process to the United States Supreme Court (otherwise known as SCOTUS).  Van Hollen did this despite saying last month that the federal judges had “vindicated” the 2010 maps, which were drawn by the WI GOP in a highly partisan and divisive process.

But tonight, Van Hollen is singing a different tune.  His pro-appeal reasoning, as given by tonight’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, is this:

“While some view the adverse portion of the district court decision as being inconsequential, I disagree,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “Any time a federal court rejects a state redistricting statute, and decides to redraw or adjust a legislative district, it is a serious matter and appropriate for appellate review.”

Um, excuse me?

Don’t you realize that by appealing this order, this allows the whole ruling to be appealed?  Meaning the Democrats could, theoretically, still prevail?

Well, even if Van Hollen doesn’t get it, the Democrats in Wisconsin sure do.  Doug Poland, an attorney for the Democrats who filed suit, said last month that if the state was silly enough to appeal the ruling, he would do whatever he could to get the entire ruling overturned in order to obtain a better outcome.  (He said it in a much gentler fashion, and he didn’t say the appeal by Van Hollen was “silly.”  I did, and am, because it is.)

Mind you, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) understands that this is a frivolous waste of time; he says in tonight’s Journal-Sentinel article (the first one referenced above) that:

“Does their appetite for wasting taxpayer money on protecting their own political interests ever end?” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said in a statement. “It must be the first time in history anyone has appealed their ‘vindication’ to the Supreme Court.”

Then, the Journal-Sentinel pointed out how much this redistricting court case has already cost the state of Wisconsin:

Republican lawmakers have committed $400,000 in taxpayer money to Michael Best & Friedrich and the Troupis Law Office for their work on redistricting. Separately, Gov. Scott Walker hired Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren to assist the Department of Justice with the litigation. That firm’s contract with the state caps its fees at $925,000; as of February, it had billed the state $288,000.

In addition, the plaintiffs are seeking about $690,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs from the state because they prevailed on their argument on Assembly Districts 8 and 9. The panel has not yet said whether it would award those fees.

So, did you get all that?  The WI GOP won, but they’re not happy; they want it all, or they’ll take their ball and go home.  (Me, I just wish they’d leave the ball and stay home.)  That’s why they’re appealing this ruling, which largely went their way, to SCOTUS.

My take?  I find this shameful, as it’s a shocking waste of money (in a state soon-to-be-former Governor Scott Walker says is “broke”).  I also echo the often-made comments of political commentator John Nichols, when he’s said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” (and elsewhere) that the WI GOP are comprised of “very bad winners.”  (My best paraphrase, that.)  And I firmly agree with Rep. Barca; what on earth is wrong with these people?  They win and still don’t like it?

Otherwise, there’s a hint of good news amidst a lot of bad regarding the four state Senate recalls.  Here’s the link to that Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, written by long-time political analyst Craig Gilbert:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/147967755.html

Gilbert states that only former Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) is within striking distance of his opponent, current Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).  (Lehman appears to be within the margin of error, as the recent poll Gilbert used said that Wanggaard leads, 48-46.)  The other three Senate districts, including the district vacated by Pam Galloway, have Republicans leading the Democratic challengers by wide margins.  (See this link to the Daily Kos article that references this data for further information.)

Due to former Senator Galloway’s abrupt resignation (possibly to get a stronger candidate in there as she would’ve lost her recall race), the WI Senate is currently divided equally, 16-16.  That means if Lehman can beat Wanggaard, the Ds will control the state Senate, 17-16; further elections in 2012 should help the Dems cement their lead.

And as I’ve said here before, we have recalled a Republican before in district 21, so it’s certainly not uncharted territory for us to recall another one.

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3 Responses

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  1. I have full faith that John Lehman will beat Van Wanggaard. John is a good guy.

    It’s also not surprising that the R’s still aren’t happy… They make the rules to maximize benefits for them, and when those bennies don’t come in as good as they hoped, they turn around and blame it on the democrats that it’s our fault they didn’t get the benefits they think they deserve.

    likamarie

    April 20, 2012 at 2:26 am

    • I like John Lehman and believe he was a very good Senator — and will be a very good one again. And you already know what I think about Van Wanggaard; maybe he’d have been OK if the Rs hadn’t been so hard right — maybe he’d have also been OK had he any seniority when Walker came to power. But in this milieu, he’s not been able to show anything; I think all the way around, we’re better off with Senator Lehman.

      And yes, it’s not surprising the Rs still aren’t happy, but it is rather disquieting nonetheless. Nothing, but nothing, seems to make them happy other than utter subservience — and we’re not exactly a subservient population in Wisconsin, nor should we become such just because that’s what the Rs seem to want this week.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      • Van may have been okay if he were independent. But he’s just as much of a Snot Stalker Stooge as our governor is a corporate stooge.

        likamarie

        May 2, 2012 at 5:01 am


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