Wisconsin Republicans probably won't be able to silence the voices of over 200,000 people in the spring elections.
At the end of last year, a right wing front group for the Bradley Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Election Commission, demanding that nearly a quarter of a million people be purged immediately from the voter registration database. The Republicans were in a panic because the spring elections were just around the corner and they know that when people vote, the Republicans lose.
But the Republicans thwarted themselves while creating the election commission so that it was very partisan. The commission decided to hold off doing the purge due to an appeal filed by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and a federal lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters.
The Republicans, in an state of utter desperation, launched a three prong attack against democracy:
- The front group filed a motion with the original court to find the election commission in contempt
- They also filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bypass the appellate court and take the appeal directly, since they had a 5-2 conservative majority
- Republican legislators filed in the federal lawsuit, asking for it to be dismissed, even though the legislators have no standing in the lawsuit
On Monday, the original court sided with the Republicans, finding only the three Democrats on the commission in contempt. He ordered the commission pay a $50 a day fine and that the three Democrats need to pay a $250 per day fine. But because the commission consists of appointed citizens who were acting in their official capacity, the taxpayers will be the ones ultimately footing the bill for this blatant act of partisanship.
The ruling was not a complete surprise since the judge presiding on the matter, Paul Malloy, was appointed by former Republican Governor Scott McCallum. Malloy also has a history of controversial statements and stunts, trying to present himself as a tough on crime type of judge.
Also on Monday, the state supreme court decided not to intervene in the appeal, leaving the matter to go to the appellate court first, despite the conservatives majority. This happened because on of the judges recused himself because he is up for reelection in the spring and would be directly affected by a decision. A second conservative justice betrayed his special interest masters by siding with the two impartial justices in deciding against the case.
State Republicans were outraged that justice was being done, demanding to know what kind of service they were getting after spending so much money on them.
On Tuesday came the major blow. The state appellate court issued an order to immediately stay the circuit court order, meaning that the targeted voters will remain in the registration for now. Furthermore, because the spring primary elections are only a few weeks away and the general elections - including the presidential primary - is on April 7, it is extremely unlikely there will be any changes before then.
And even if the Republicans prevail when it gets to the Wisconsin State Supreme Kangaroo Court, there is still the federal lawsuit hanging over their heads, so there is a change the voters will get to keep their voices through November as well.
In summary, the Republicans lost two major battles in the past two days and will get to pay for it with their tax dollars. Now excuse me while I go savor this moment and wait for the Republicans' heads to start popping.