Looks like not only will Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker get his day in court to argue that the state’s recall process is unconstitutional, but that Democrats will be locked out of the case, unable to present arguments to defend the recall.
A judge in Wisconsin has ruled that Democratic recall organizers cannot challenge a lawsuit brought by the state GOP against election officials — a suit that claims Gov. Scott Walker’s constitutional rights are being violated by the state’s petition review process.
This means that barring a hypothetical appeal, any continuing litigation in this matter will be conducted exclusively between the state GOP and the election board’s attorney, without the Dems themselves being able to participate and present legal arguments.
“I was a little surprised,” said Jeremy Levinson, the attorney for the recall committee, in an interview with TPM. “It’s the first time I can recall — let me rephrase — it’s the first time I’m aware of a recall-related lawsuit where only the official who is being targeted for recall gets to be a party, and the folks who are working to recall that official are shut out of the process.”
It does seem rather pointedly ridiculous that Walker’s argument is that the burden of challenging recall signatures is “unconstitutional” abridgement of his rights, but being able to challenge that very argument in court is apparently completely unnecessary, and that the rights of the people of Wisconsin to exercise their free speech in a state-mandated recall process doesn’t actually matter so much compared to being Governor.
No wonder that the GOP filed the lawsuit in their home turf of Waukesha County to get a friendly judge, in this case a former GOP State Senator. The case will proceed forward next week with that same judge hearing Walker’s arguments and the motion to dismiss the case on January 5th. Meanwhile Walker and his allies are pushing to win the battle of public opinion, having already spent over a million bucks in ads fighting the recall petition in just the last six weeks.
We’ll see how that goes.