cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Can a member of the justice system actually obstruct justice? If so, then it appears to me that Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan may be subject to such a charge.
A little background is in order. Judge Flanagan felt compelled to sign a recall petition to attempt to recall Governor Walker from office. Judge Flanagan issued a temporary injunction in March favoring the charges brought by the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera. He then spent the next three and one-half to four months pondering a decision that took just twenty pages to explain. Finally, he issued a permanent injunction.
All this related to the Voter ID bill passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the Governor earlier this year. According to Judge Flanagan, the bill creates a “substantial impairment of the right to vote” because it requires evidence in the form of a photo ID in order to be able to cast a ballot. Interestingly, this bill was crafted following the Indiana version that has been found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chances are good that this action will not be heard in time for photo IDs to be required for the November election since the Wisconsin Supreme Court has so far not decided to take up this case before it has gone through the appellate courts.
Thus, it would seem that the intent of the Wisconsin legislature will be blunted by the court system itself. Can that be referred to as a form of obstruction of justice? I think that is reasonable. There is a history of Dane County courts pigeon-holing cases that might’ve otherwise been decided in short order. “Judge shopping” is not too difficult in Dane County; one would be hard-pressed to find a judge that wasn’t favorable to slow-walking whatever the conservatives had attempted to make law.
Seemingly a U.S. Supreme Court decision on a similar bill would be sufficient for a Circuit Court Judge to rule that a case be dropped; but, that doesn’t contemplate Dane County. Madison, Wisconsin and Boulder, Colorado and San Francisco, California are referred to often as the three bastions of liberalism to be emulated so far as court systems are concerned.
It is also interesting that a University of Wisconsin political scientist, Kenneth Mayer, has found that this bill would affect more than 301,000 people in Wisconsin who do not have a driver’s license or other form of photo ID. I don’t know how he arrived at that number, but it strikes me that this would, at best, be an estimate from some kind of sampling. The fact that people without photo ID could obtain that from the Motor Vehicle Department at no cost seems to mean nothing in this debate. People then simply decry the plight of people who do not have a birth certificate and would have to pay to get a copy of that before being able to obtain a MVD photo ID.
This all smacks of what I would describe as obstruction of justice, but then again I’m just a citizen that would like to be assured that his vote wasn’t countered by someone without the right to cast a ballot.