Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Pro-life Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has won the recall election decisively. His victory is a clear sign of how the political winds are blowing in Wisconsin and strongly indicates that Wisconsin may well end up in the Republican column in the presidential election this year, which is devastating for Obama. One little statistic that should send shivers down the spine of Democrat strategists this evening. When Walker won in 2010 he won the Catholic vote by two points. Exit polls show him winning the Catholic vote by ten points tonight. More and more Catholics are realizing that they have no home in the modern Democrat party. When a conservative Republican like Walker can win in a traditionally Blue state like Wisconsin, largely due to the Catholic vote, the political landscape is changing rapidly. Continue reading
As I am sure most of you know, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision vacated the order of Judge Maryann Sumi enjoining the bill passed by the Wisconsin legislature regarding public employee unions. The court divided along partisan lines. The bluntness of the majority opinion is something to behold.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all orders and judgments of the Dane County Circuit Court in Case No. 2011CV1244 are vacated and declared to be void ab initio. State ex rel. Nader v. Circuit Court for Dane Cnty., No. 2004AP2559-W, unpublished order (Wis. S. Ct. Sept. 30, 2004) (wherein this court vacated the prior orders of the circuit court in the same case).
Declaring the orders of a trial court void ab initio is an unusual step for an appellate court. It basically says that the trial court completely misconstrued the relevant law from the beginning, and is not to be trusted by the appellate court simply reversing the trial court and remanding the case back to the trial court. Instead the Supreme Court ruled on all of the issues in the case itself, with Judge Sumi now tossed out of the case by the action of the Supreme Court.
This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature. It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides: “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.” Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part: “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published. (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”
You don’t get blunter than that in the law. Judge Sumi is held by the Court to have usurped the power of the legislature!
The Court then notes that what Judge Sumi attempted to do, enjoin publication of a bill in order to prevent it from becoming law, was in direct defiance of a prior case decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court: Continue reading
Hattip to Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal. With one of my sons being autistic, it is little surprise that one of my favorite charities is Special Olympics. It allows people who too often spend much of life on the sidelines to compete as athletes and to be admired for what they can accomplish in overcoming the handicaps that life has dealt them. The whole Special Olympics program is magnificent for special people and their parents, relatives and friends. One would think that such an organization would be respected by all. I guess not. Continue reading
In all of the furor over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s bill to curb the power of public employee union to careen the state of Wisconsin into insolvency, other stances of the Governor have been overlooked. Leftist magazine Mother Jones notes in a current story that Walker is an ardent foe of abortion:
Walker, the son of a minister, attended Marquette University in Milwaukee from 1986 to 1990, where he served as chair of Students for Life. He dropped out of the school without graduating in 1990, and unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly that fall. He ran again in 1993 in a special election and won an Assembly seat representing Wauwatosa, a city just outside of Milwaukee. It didn’t take long for him to take up the abortion fight.
In November 1996, Walker and Assemblywoman Bonnie Ladwig R-Caledonia announced plans to introduce a bill banning “partial-birth” abortions, or what’s medically known as dilation and extraction. Anti-abortion groups have condemned the practice, but groups that back abortion rights argue the procedure could save a woman’s life in the case of severe late-term complications during a pregnancy. Walker said partial-birth abortions are “never needed” to save lives, adding, “This procedure is not a medically recognized procedure.” Continue reading
There’s been some dispute in Catholic circles of late whether the Wisconsin bishops have come out on the side of the public sector unions in the current union dispute in Wisconsin. Bishop Morlino of the Diocese of Madison has effectively answered that question himself in a column today entitled “Clarifying the Fairness Issue”:
Believe it or not, I frequently try to avoid weighing in-on certain situations. However, the recent happenings in our state capital with regard to legislation about labor union practices beg for a comment. In this column, I simply want to point out how a well-informed conscience might work through the dilemma which the situation poses.
Should one support or oppose the legislation which regulates union procedures? The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) has chosen a neutral stance because the present dilemma comes down to either a choice for the common good, of sacrifice on the part of all, at times that pose immense economic threats, both present and future on the one hand, and on the other hand, a choice for the rights of workers to a just compensation for services rendered, and to the upholding of contracts legally made. As Catholics, we see both of these horns of the dilemma as good, and yet the current situation calls many of us to choose between these two goods. Thus the WCC has taken a neutral stance, and this is the point of Archbishop Listecki’s recent statement, which I have echoed. Continue reading
Last November the people of Wisconsin went to the polls and elected Republican Scott Walker governor and gave the Republicans a majority in both chambers of the state legislature. Scott Walker, mirabile dictu, is actually delivering on what he promised to do in the campaign:
The proposal marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.
In addition to eliminating collective-bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.
Republican leaders said they expected Wisconsin residents would be pleased with the savings the bill would achieve — $30 million by July 1 and $300 million over the next two years to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.
“I think the taxpayers will support this idea,” Fitzgerald said.
Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers’ rights. But when voters elected Walker, an outspoken conservative, along with GOP majorities in both legislative chambers, it set the stage for a dramatic reversal of the state’s labor history.
Under Walker’s plan, state employees’ share of pension and health care costs would go up by an average of 8 percent.
Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.
In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass. Continue reading