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  #1    
Old April 13th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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With some of their major legislative achievements thwarted by the courts in the past two years, Wisconsin Republicans are advancing a bill that would limit the ability of circuit judges to block state laws for the long term.

A former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice said she thought such a change would violate the state constitution - a notion a chief sponsor of the bill rejected.

Since 2011, circuit judges have blocked all or parts of laws backed by Republicans that required voters to show photo ID at the polls, limited collective bargaining for public employees and expanded the governor's power over administrative rules. Under a measure announced Wednesday, such injunctions would be automatically stayed as soon as they were appealed - meaning laws that were blocked would be put back in effect until a higher court issued a ruling.

Rep. David Craig (R-Big Bend), a chief sponsor of the measure, said the bill would provide stability. He noted that challenges to state laws are ultimately decided by higher courts in many instances.

"We're trying to speed up the process," Craig said. "One judge elected by one extremely small fraction of the state . . . isn't going to have ultimate say-so over law."

But former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske called the bill an outrageous violation of the judiciary's power.

"To statutorily undo a court order before another court has acted on it is clearly to me an infringement on a court's independence, and I don't think it will withstand constitutional scrutiny," said Geske, who is now a Marquette University Law School professor.

Geske was appointed to the high court by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1993 and served until 1998. She said Republicans would discover over the long haul they would not like the changes they are advocating in how court cases are handled.

"What's ironic is right now Republicans think it's a great idea," she said. "If the Democrats come into power, they won't think it's such a great idea."

Craig disputed that his bill would violate the Wisconsin Constitution, saying the Legislature has the power to set procedures for the courts. He noted an appeals court could quickly overturn any automatic stay and block a state law.

"Do I believe this tramples on the courts? Absolutely not," he said.

Craig acknowledged the change could cut both ways because it would also make it take longer for conservatives to halt state laws they do not like.

In recent years, there have been lawsuits - unsuccessful so far - to overturn policies established when Democrats were in power that allow same-sex couples to receive some of the benefits of married couples and that give the state the power to order school districts to abandon their Indian mascots.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) called Craig's bill a power grab that would further polarize the public.

"It alters the balance of power, and it's unneeded," he said.

Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said in a statement the bill was abhorrent because it would allow a law to remain in effect after a judge determined it was unconstitutional.

"Under their scheme, our justice system would be turned on its head to satisfy their seemingly insatiable quest for political power," his statement said. "While they flout the constitution, people's rights would be denied."

The proposal comes at a time when Republicans have been frustrated by a string of court rulings.

In 2011, Republicans approved a law that all but eliminated collective bargaining for most public workers. But the law was immediately suspended by a Dane County judge who found a committee violated the open meetings law in sending the legislation to the Senate. The Supreme Court ultimately overruled the circuit court, but the collective bargaining law was blocked during the three months it took to get the case to the high court.

Last year, a different Dane County judge struck down parts of the law as unconstitutional. That ruling, which applies to local workers but not state employees, remains in effect while the Court of Appeals reviews it.

And a GOP-backed law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls has been sidelined by two Dane County judges' rulings that the measure violates the state constitution. Those decisions are also under appeal.

The proposed changes to the court system would apply to cases in which circuit judges suspend state laws or restrain the enforcement of them.

It would not apply to the routine orders judges issue in other types of cases, which make up the vast majority of their work.

Currently, circuit court orders in general may not be stayed while an appeal is pending. Under the bill, circuit court orders blocking state laws could immediately be appealed. If appeals were filed within 10 days, the circuit court order would immediately be stayed. The Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court would have the power to reinstate the circuit court's decision while the appeal was pending.

The measure is being offered by Craig, Rep. Al Ott (R-Forest Junction), Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa). In a sign the bill could move quickly, it gained support Wednesday from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah).

Gov. Scott Walker said he had not reviewed the bill.

Republicans in recent years have made other changes to the court system. In 2011, they approved a bill allowing citizens to sue the state in any county. Previously, such cases generally had to be filed in Dane County, the seat of state government.

They also changed the law in 2011 to say that challenges in state court to the maps of legislative districts had to be heard by a special three-judge panel appointed by the state Supreme Court. That process was never invoked because a challenge to the maps was made in federal court, rather than state court.
http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepo...202338051.html
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Old April 13th, 2013, 04:46 PM
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What's a higher court, the Supreme Court? I'm not very familiar with the role of the judiciary in the United States. Although last I heard, the status quo wasn't terrible? XD
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Old April 14th, 2013, 02:20 AM
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Is that even constitutional? Seems a cheap way to put the Legislative ahead of the Judiciary and that's not the way to go in regards to the balance of powers, which is the basis of any democracy.

Although I wonder if the courts would be able to strike that law as uncostitutional. Otherwise it could be copied in other States and sharply reduce the power of judges. Imagine what could happen if a parliament passed a blatantly illegal law and yet it had to be enforced for months until the Courts offered a final ruling.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 02:41 AM
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Yeah, this won't stand constitutional muster. But then, for some Republican leaders, the constitution is only to be followed when it suits them. Otherwise they're perfectly okay with undermining it.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
What's a higher court, the Supreme Court? I'm not very familiar with the role of the judiciary in the United States. Although last I heard, the status quo wasn't terrible? XD
The Supreme Court of that particular state is probably the highest it would go. Each state has their own Supreme Court, and they also have courts for cities and appeals courts that oversee big chunks of the state.

I'm not sure I'm a fan of this article focusing so much on REPUBLICANS ARE DOING THIS though. :/
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Old April 14th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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I'm not sure I'm a fan of this article focusing so much on REPUBLICANS ARE DOING THIS though. :/
Are you saying that it's unfairly bashing Republicans?

Personally, I think the Republican Party has been going off the rails in the last few years with their attempts to cement their legislative power: the redistricting (remember that in the last election more people voted for Democratic candidates than Republican ones for the House of Representatives and yet we have a Republican majority there) which I think is clear gerrymandering, and the voter ID laws that target students and low-income people (people who tend toward voting Democratic). It seems to that the party as a whole doesn't really care for the democratic process and much as their own power.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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I agree, but that's my opinion. It feels like this article is trying to force people to have the same opinion, by referring to Republicans as a mass of people and Democrats as a mass of people, to play out a good vs. evil narrative. The way the article is written, while factual, is definitely pushing for the "hate on the Republicans" opinion. Especially the end. Why are the other bills relevant? If they're relevant because they're changes to the court system, then Democrat changes should be mentioned if there are any, and they should mention there are none if there aren't. If it's because they're Republican, there's the grouping all Republicans into one mass again.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Are you saying that it's unfairly bashing Republicans?

Personally, I think the Republican Party has been going off the rails in the last few years with their attempts to cement their legislative power: the redistricting (remember that in the last election more people voted for Democratic candidates than Republican ones for the House of Representatives and yet we have a Republican majority there) which I think is clear gerrymandering, and the voter ID laws that target students and low-income people (people who tend toward voting Democratic). It seems to that the party as a whole doesn't really care for the democratic process and much as their own power.
All parties will try to influence the democratic process into their favour. It's all part of the game. You could argue that the Democratic party being not as strong against immigration as they could be are increasing the minority vote that will go to their own party. That's not the best example because Hispanics generally vote Republican due to their common values. I'm sure if the Democrats were in power they would do the same thing. I feel that the reason why Republican looks so bad now is because of their terrible performance connecting with voters during the last election.

I have a feeling that the Republican party can get their power back because they connect with conservative voters, many of whom are immigrants legal and illegal - Hispanics, Blacks, South and East Asians do have conservative cultural values. As well, minorities who would like to have a share in the "American Dream", who are open to assimilation and would rather see themselves as an American individual instead of in a minority group could connect really strongly. With this my conclusion would be that the Republican party has alienated not only much of the voting body, but much of the conservative vote as well. It would be great for them if they could throw off the social right-wing and focus more on classical liberalism, akin to the party's roots.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 09:37 AM
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I agree, but that's my opinion. It feels like this article is trying to force people to have the same opinion, by referring to Republicans as a mass of people and Democrats as a mass of people, to play out a good vs. evil narrative. The way the article is written, while factual, is definitely pushing for the "hate on the Republicans" opinion. Especially the end. Why are the other bills relevant? If they're relevant because they're changes to the court system, then Democrat changes should be mentioned if there are any, and they should mention there are none if there aren't. If it's because they're Republican, there's the grouping all Republicans into one mass again.
I dunno. I don't get the same feeling from the article. It names specific legislators for the current bill in question and then spoke generally of "Republican backed" bills in the past, which, I'm assuming, were backed by a majority of Republicans.

I guess I just think that if the article didn't cut through some of the fog of politics then this would just be a one-paragraph article about an attempted bill to change something to do with the courts. I think the news needs to provide context and I think it did an adequate job of that here.

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All parties will try to influence the democratic process into their favour. It's all part of the game. You could argue that the Democratic party being not as strong against immigration as they could be are increasing the minority vote that will go to their own party. That's not the best example because Hispanics generally vote Republican due to their common values. I'm sure if the Democrats were in power they would do the same thing. I feel that the reason why Republican looks so bad now is because of their terrible performance connecting with voters during the last election.

I have a feeling that the Republican party can get their power back because they connect with conservative voters, many of whom are immigrants legal and illegal - Hispanics, Blacks, South and East Asians do have conservative cultural values. As well, minorities who would like to have a share in the "American Dream", who are open to assimilation and would rather see themselves as an American individual instead of in a minority group could connect really strongly. With this my conclusion would be that the Republican party has alienated not only much of the voting body, but much of the conservative vote as well. It would be great for them if they could throw off the social right-wing and focus more on classical liberalism, akin to the party's roots.
I think Hispanics voted for Obama 2:1 in 2008 and 3:1 in 2012. Or somewhere around those numbers.

But yeah, for the sake of argument let's say the Dems are also trying to get more votes. That's much shallower in the pool of undemocratic things a party can do compared to gerrymandering and voter suppression so I think it's misleading to say "all parties are the same" and similar statements.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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I think Hispanics voted for Obama 2:1 in 2008 and 3:1 in 2012. Or somewhere around those numbers.
I know. My point was that the Hispanic population has values that agree much more with Republican values and would vote for them as long as they're not being alienated by voter suppression, immigration policy, and cutting transfers to the poor.

While the Republicans are toying around with the election processes, let's not look down on them unfairly. It's more style than substance the way the Republican name is being thrown around these days. This isn't the Republican party coming up with draconian federal policy, these are Republican /lawmakers/ doing their own thing in their own jurisdictions. It's one thing to oppose their actions as undemocratic, but it's another completely to generalize their actions onto a whole party. American parties aren't really parties at all. They have weak party discipline meaning nobody at the head is really calling the shots. I wouldn't blame the Republican party itself, but the social forces motivating individual members to do what they're doing.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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I know. My point was that the Hispanic population has values that agree much more with Republican values and would vote for them as long as they're not being alienated by voter suppression, immigration policy, and cutting transfers to the poor.
Actually, no. They are overwhelmingly liberal, according to polls:



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Nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59%) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage while 32% said their state should not. But among all voters, about half (48%) favored legalization of gay marriage while nearly the same share said they would oppose it (47%).

Non-Hispanic whites were the most opposed to states legally sanctioning same-sex marriage (47% favored but 50% were opposed). Among blacks, half (52%) would support while 40% opposed state support for gay unions.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics...-gay-marriage/

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Exit poll results found that about two-thirds of Hispanics (66%) said that abortion should be legal while 28% disagreed. Among all voters, a somewhat smaller majority (59%) would allow legal abortions while 37% were opposed.

There is no gender gap on views on abortion among Hispanics or among all voters, according to national exit polling. About two-thirds of men (64%) and Latino women (67%) would permit legal abortion, as would 58% of all male voters nationally and 60% of women.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics...egal-abortion/
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Old April 14th, 2013, 11:18 AM
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Ahh my mistake. I conflated their communitarian cultural values with social conservatives, even though they wouldn't vote for them - and classical liberal values would conflict with communitarian values. I also left out working class support.

Wait I'm confused. The Republicans are historically classical liberals, but isn't the Democratic party the individualist party of late?
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Old April 14th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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Wait I'm confused. The Republicans are historically classical liberals, but isn't the Democratic party the individualist party of late?
Yes. Though the latest batch of Republicans seem to be more neoconservative than neoliberal or even classically liberal.

They've kinda warped individualism lately. It's become sort of like..."I'm free to think or practice what I want. By you taking an opposite stance, my individualism is impaired rather than your's being shared"... which makes absolutely no sense.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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It's really funny that there's all this talk about libertarianism - because they, as classical liberals, were once the core of the Republican party. Now they're deciding to call it quits because the drama is too much XD

I did a bit of wiki research and it really clarified the nature of the Democratic Party. They're not really individualistic - both the progressive and social liberal elements are collectivist ideas. Identity politics, while on the surface might seem individualistic by promoting individual's equal dignity, is actually quite collectivist because it involves group identities and changing the balance of power between these groups.

I guess libertarians are the budding response to the shift towards collectivism. So the movement will only grow as more and more people become disillusioned with the lack of representation of individualism in politics.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:42 PM
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I got to say that this restricting will most likely be shot down by a higher court...as it doesn't seem constitutional to impose laws on the Judicial branch like what's going on here.

I feel that the Republican party has to go back to it's classical liberal roots, and start to do away with the more extremist elements within. Traditionally politically centered parties tend to do best in elections.

And yeah the Democratic party is collectivist, which is one of the reasons they appeal to Hispanics more than Republicans do, as Hispanics are generally collectivist (I'm one of the exceptions though, and no I'm not Cuban) in their political views.
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