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I love News Dump Fridays, but today is Twofer Tuesday.  2 stories for the price of 1.


This ad is now being run by the grassroots liberal group Greater Wisconsin Committee and takes direct aim at Scott Walkers biggest Achilles Heel - job loss.  We are #1 in job losses here in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin led the nation in job losses for the last 6 months of 2011, coinciding with the start of Walkers budget.  Despite some minor job gains in January and February this year, we lost 4300 jobs last month.

Job losses, extremist legislation, union stripping, devastating cuts to education and social programs, a shameful conceal carry handgun law, opening up our state parks to hunting, and a slew of anti woman legislation Walker signed into law on the last day possible (announced on Good Friday so it would be lost in the Easter weekend virtual news blackout) are among the reasons Walker and his GOP cronies have to go.

We know Walker and his monied backers are prepared to spend tens of millions to stay in power.  The facts, though, are on our side.

And today, in the Business Section, is more bad news for Snotty Walker:

Wisconsin is the only state that had "statistically significant" job losses over the most recent 12-month period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From March 2011 to March 2012, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs. That was the largest decrease in percentage terms in the country.

Those job losses came from both the public and private sector, but the public sector job losses (17,800) were larger than the private-sector job losses (6,100).

Ouch.  That's gonna leave a mark.

Primaries May 8.
Recall election June 5.

Prosser Ethics Case News:

Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice David (The Choker) Prosser is still trying to kill his ethics violations case by emptying the State Supreme Court bench by demanding recusals.  The State Supreme Court is the only body that can hear the case after charges were brought against him by the judicial commission.

The ethics case against state Supreme Justice David Prosser may be over before it begins.

Prosser - accused of violating the ethics code for judges when he put his hands on the neck of a fellow justice last year - has asked three justices to remove themselves from the case because they witnessed the incident. Prosser has said he plans to ask other members of the court to do so and does not believe any of them can stay on the case.

If Prosser and three others recuse themselves soon, the case would likely end before a panel of appeals court judges is convened. That's because the Supreme Court has not yet ordered the formation of a panel of appeals court judges to hear the case, as it normally does in judicial misconduct cases. At least four justices are needed to take any action.

Further, if a panel is created but four or more Supreme Court justices later recuse themselves, the high court will not be able to make a final determination on Prosser's actions or decide if discipline is warranted. Only the high court has the power to impose punishment such as reprimanding judges, censuring them, suspending them without pay or removing them from office.

"I think he will do everything possible to avoid this matter coming to trial," said Franklyn Gimbel, the special prosecutor who filed the complaint against Prosser.

Supreme Court cases can be heard only if four or more of the seven justices participate. Prosser, part of a frequent 4-3 majority on the court, has said he will not sit on his own case. The other justices have not said what they will do.
Prosser, through his legal team, has already demanded that 3 other justices recuse themselves from the case and has continued to say he will demand more justices recuse themselves.  Hypocrisy:
The Supreme Court in recent years has been fractured by deep personal and ideological differences. One issue that has caused some of the bitterest fights is recusal. Prosser and three others have argued recusal should be rare, and they have seen attempts to remove Justice Michael Gableman and others from cases as attempts by litigants to pick who will hear their cases.

Prosser was in a 4-3 majority last year that found justices cannot kick each other off cases. Now, Prosser is arguing recusal is necessary for his colleagues in his case.

(emphasis mine)
James Sample, an associate professor at Hofstra Law School in New York, said he believed the justices who witnessed the altercation could remain on the case, particularly at a stage when all the court needs to do is issue a perfunctory order to create the panel that would hear the case.

Anyone would agree that a judge could not participate in a case about a mugging that the judge witnessed, Sample said. But it would not be fair for justices to recuse in Prosser's case and leave the court without a quorum to hear the case, he said. If that happens, then Prosser would avoid the scrutiny and possible discipline that every other judge in Wisconsin would face in a similar situation, Sample said.

"We're talking about a justice of the state Supreme Court asking and arguing for immunity even from basic judicial process," he said.

Prosser has three close allies on the court - Roggensack, Gableman and Annette Ziegler. If Prosser and those three recuse themselves, the case would end.

"If they do that, then the consequence of the incident will be worse even for the system than the individual," Sample said. "In that scenario, the allies would essentially be complicit with the notion that Prosser is entitled to immunity.

"At the end of the day, ideological allies or not, each and every member of the court has a higher calling to the rule of law, or at least they should."

Yes, Republicans love to promote the idea of "personal responsibility" - unless it's their own personal responsibility.  

Stay tuned for the continuation of the Prosser Saga and other news.

Update:  More Edition:  We won't have Kathy Nicklaus in charge of Waukesha Countys elections anymore and the GAB has announced a plan to ensure that we're not sitting for hours waiting for Waukesha results in the future.

Vote results from throughout Waukesha County should be available online more quickly in the upcoming recall elections because municipal clerks will be entering unofficial results directly into a state vote canvass reporting system, rather than leaving it to the county clerk's staff.

Those results will simultaneously be available to the Waukesha County clerk's office, which is still responsible for posting results on election night.

In a statement Tuesday, Kevin J. Kennedy, director and general counsel for the Government Accountability Board, said the agency created Wisconsin's canvass reporting system using a federal grant and launched it in 2010 so county clerks could use it to report canvass results - the official totals that are checked several days after an election - to the state electronically.

The process means that local clerks do not have to drive voting machine tapes into the county clerk's office in Waukesha after polls close, as they did April 3, so that she and her staff can enter the data.
Having watched the election results via the Associated Press, the same pattern has been seen election after election.  While other counties tend to post precinct results as they become available, Waukesha, and to some extent Ozaukee County, are the last to report votes and those are posted en masse usually hours after other municipalities have reported the vast majority of their available vote totals.

In addition to the wait and speculation of results being "massaged" in the legthy reporting process, there have been numerous problems with Waukesha results in the past.  The most glaring was the "discovery" of 14,000 unreported votes from Brookfield, the largest city in Waukesa County, 3 days after the hard-fought 2011 State Supreme Court election.  Those votes flipped the election results from a narrow victory for Kloppenburg to a narrow victory for RW David Prossers re-election and caused a statewide recount with even more revelations of Waukeshas vote counting and record keeping problems.

We'll see if the GAB changes have a positive effect.

Update 2:  Uh Oh Edition:  Hush money in the John Doe Probe?  That's what the Wisconsin Democratic Party is wondering in todays posting.

New questions were raised after a report Monday in about a "third party" payee in the criminal defense of top Wisconsin Republican officer and longtime Scott Walker crony Tim Russell.

Recently unsealed court documents show that a third party is paying bills for Russell, who was hired or promoted eight times by Walker following his firing by another government agency for improper use of taxpayer dollars.

Wisconsin deserves to know the answers to some very basic questions that are well within Scott Walker's power to answer. Last night's revelations beg an answer to the question -- are Scott Walker or his friends helping to bankroll the defense of his top aides who are charged with stealing from veterans, stealing from taxpayers, trying to entice boys and violating the laws of the state of Wisconsin?," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. "And if Scott Walker IS causing money to reach his longtime cronies, why is this not a corrupt attempt to purchase their silence?"

Ok, so who is paying for Tim Russells lawyers?

Update 3:  Side Effects of the Recall Edition:  One of my favorite journalists, Joel McNalley (formerly of the Milwaukee Journal) has a new article out on the side effects of the recalls.  It's a recommended read.  Let me tempt you with this:

Three of the four Republican majority justices have been charged with ethics violations. All four regularly upheld anything passed by the Republican Legislature. One of their decisions even said Republican legislators didn't have to obey the law, but could make up their own rules.

When Walker passed a brazenly biased photo ID voting law selectively disenfranchising people of color, the elderly and students, who are more likely to vote Democratic, most people thought court Republicans would uphold the law as quickly as possible.

But a funny thing happened on the way to trashing voting rights. Two separate lower courts issued injunctions blocking the law. And, instead of stepping in to immediately overrule the constitutional objections, the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case.

Now that I've given you the appetizer, see the article for the main course.  

1:48 PM PT: I'm back (yes, even I occasionally have to do some cleaning - yuck).  So I'm off to read comments and check on any news updates.

Originally posted to Puddytat on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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