At the end of 2017, Scott "Weasel" Walker appointed three Republican legislators to his administration. However, he called for only one special election instead of three, apparently to test the waters against the Blue Wave that has been sweeping the nation.
As he feared, a Democrat, Patty Schachtner, won the seat by 9 points. This was a district that Trump had won by 17 points and the previous incumbent Republican had won by 26 points, and thought to be safely Republican.
After that warning shot, Walker, being the cravenly and easily intimidated coward that he is, refused to call for the other two special elections, leaving those districts unrepresented for over a full year.
Enter former US Attorney General Eric Holder, who filed a lawsuit against Walker on behalf of the people in those two districts. The Honorable Josann Reynolds, whom Walker appointed to the bench in 2014, sided with democracy:
"To state the obvious, if the plaintiffs have a right to vote for their representatives, they must have an election to do so," said Reynolds
Walker aides contended Walker didn't need to hold special elections because the vacancies occurred not in 2018 — the election year — but in 2017.
The judge called that interpretation absurd because a seat that becomes vacant in 2017 remains empty longer than one that begins in 2018.
The judge took a shot at Walker for contending he didn't have to hold the election when the statutes are clear and he so often talks about the need for judges and others to follow the plain meaning of laws.
"I cannot reconcile the incongruity between Governor Walker's administration's very vocal and consistent policy advocating for strict constructionism and the position taken by the attorney general in this case involving the most basic constitutional guarantee," Reynolds said.
Judge Reynolds ordered Walker to call for the special elections by noon on Thursday, March 29, 2018.
This got the Republicans' undies all in a bundle.
Assembly Speaker Robin "The Rabid Rabbit" Vos practically pissed himself, calling the judge an "activist judge" and besmirching her reputation. It was so foul that the chief judged penned a letter to Vos demanding an apology. (Vos is keeping up his petulant, little boy routine by refusing to apologize.)
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald took it one step further by calling for an extraordinary session of the legislature in order to pass a law negating the law for special elections. In other words, the Republicans want to kill democracy in order to preserve their death grip on the state rather than follow the law. Walker desperately agreed to this, saying he would also sign such a bill into law.
Fortunately, the Republicans are as inept as they are corrupt. The extraordinary session isn't until April 4, almost a full week past the deadline set by the Court.
This led Walker to approach the court and ask for a delay in the order until April 6 in order to give them time to kill off democracy.
On Tuesday afternoon, this request was heard by the Honorable Richard Niess, who was filling in for the vacationing Reynolds. Niess was full of disbelief as he heard the Republicans' arguments that holding the special elections now would cost too much money and be too confusing for the voters.
It didn't take long for Niess to get to the heart of the matter:
Judge Niess asks @WisDOJ: "Am I to presume that the legislature is going to pass a bill that immediately affects individuals in unrepresented districts who will have no vote on that bill, that’s going to deprive them of an election that has been ordered by Judge Reynolds?"
— Jessie Opoien (@jessieopie) March 27, 2018
Needless to say, Niess upheld the decision and reaffirmed that Walker has until noon on Thursday to call the special elections.
Walker doesn't have to call the special elections, but refusing to do so puts him at risk of being found in contempt of court.
The funny part of all this, if one can describe any of this as funny, is that Walker has been complaining that the special elections would be a waste of taxpayer money. But going to court twice and calling for an extraordinary session of the legislature for a law that will likely be challenged and found unconstitutional isn't?
Update (Karoli): Scott Walker is not finished driving a stake in the heart of democracy. He is appealing the decisions of two separate judges because of course he is.
Update 2 (Karoli): Walker's appeal did not go well. In his filing, he apparently called elections "unnecessary," which triggered a furious response in just a few hours from the appellate court.
"We also disagree with the Governor's assertion that the special elections 'are an unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources and confusing to voters'," the court wrote. They also reminded Walker of his "obligation" to follow the law and hold special elections as required.
Walker is a whiny-ass titty baby who has reached the end of the line, I think.
Update 3 (Karoli): What part of "you have an obligation to follow the law" does Walker not understand? He's now considering an appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to reports.
This seems straightforward. The law says that special elections must be called for vacancies in the state legislature. Therefore, it is Walker's sworn duty to call them and hold them, regardless of what he thinks of them in his own little pea brain. Will the hand-picked Republican Supreme Court help Walker tear down democracy, or will they uphold their own state constitution?
Watch this space.
Update 4: (Karoli) Walker has thrown in the towel.
If they can't stop the elections, expect them to fix them.