By Dale Lucht
It’s time again for my annual plea for citizens to get out and vote. April 7 is Presidential Primary Day in Wisconsin. At this writing, our selections have been whittled down to just two on the democratic side, and I believe just one on the republican side. Even though our choices are limited, there are other positions on the ballot: municipal school boards, municipal officers, county board of supervisors and Justice of the State Supreme Court.
I am endorsing Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky. Karofsky worked as a crime victim advocate for the Justice Department before becoming a judge. Daniel Kelly, her opponent was appointed by Scott Walker. If Karofsky is elected the extreme right majority would be reduced from 5-2 majority to a 4-3 majority and give the good people a chance to regain the majority in 2023 when Patience Roggensack’s term is up.
I remember that election, because I could not believe that knowledgeable people would vote for this woman. I have realized since that there are organizations in this state that supply dark money to get their people elected. One of these organizations is the Koch-affiliated Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). They donate big for justices that are pro-business. The group has spent, by its own estimates, at least $7.25 million since 2007 in efforts to elect more pro-corporate judges. The Koch’s also fund Wisconsin Club for Growth.
In 2010, the court voted 4-3 that judges no longer needed to recuse themselves from cases where plaintiffs had donated to their campaign. The new rules were initially drafted by the WMC. In 2014 the conservative majority voted to uphold Walker’s union-busting bill. They also upheld the state’s new voter ID law. A report released after the 2016 election estimated that 200,000 eligible voters in the state were prevented from casting ballots due to the law.
In 2011, a new right wing conservative group, The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) entered the fray. WILL is the group that is trying to get 200,000 Wisconsin voters removed from the registration rolls. Those voters are mainly minorities and live in democratic leaning municipalities. This voter suppression is still tied up in the courts. If it comes to the Wisconsin Supreme Court I’m sure it will pass. Ditto if it goes to U.S. Supreme Court. People are so short sighted that they don’t look at consequences of their vote. I give the Republicans kudos, they have systematically worked to get their anal retentive judges elected and appointed. It is time for independent and socially caring people to take back the courts. Do you want businesses to control ecological issues? Clean water and air, safe food and drugs are a necessity, not to be decided by people living in their gated communities.
Please vote on April 7th. Please vote for Jill Karofsky. This would be one step closer to regaining control of the State Supreme Court and again making it the people’s court. And remember – by voting, or registering and voting, you are registered for the Nov. 3rd Presidential Election. It has been said that a journey starts with a single step. But it takes about 200 muscles, interacting, to take that step.