What Legal Remedies Exist to Bar GOP From Robbing Democrats On Keeping Promises In WI, MI

JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

We the people” in the States of Michigan and Wisconsin voted for Democratic Party candidates instead of republicans because of promises like democrats wanting to expand access to affordable quality healthcare insurance that covers pre-existing conditions while addressing a host of other local needs.

But the republican lawmakers in both these states still occupy the majority of seats until the newly elected democratic candidates take over in January 2019. This transition is termed the ‘lame duck session.’ In the meantime the republican legislators are in the process of hurriedly setting up barriers via legislation and other work-arounds to limit the democrats from being able to deliver on promises they made in good faith to the voters in the states of WI and MI.

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The republicans are not deterred by the reality that they are robbing the citizens from having their voices heard through their votes.

The million dollar question has to be, is there a legal remedy to block these anti-democratic republicans?

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Here is the rest of the story…

On December Ed Pilkington of the Guardian penned the following report, “This is not a democracy’: Republicans try to shrink power of incoming Democrats.”

Excerpts:

“Weeks after the midterms, several states face continued wrangling as GOP accused of undermining voters’ will.”

“A month after the midterm elections on 6 November, several states continue to be convulsed by bitter partisan fighting in which Republicans are being accused of flagrantly undemocratic attempts to steal victory from the clutches of their Democratic rivals.”

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OUTGOING REPUBLICAN WI GOVERNOR WALKER

“The most intense battle is playing out in Wisconsin, where Republican lawmakers are attempting a power grab that would strip key functions from the state’s incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. Opponents are denouncing the move, which sparked protests on Monday 12/3/18), as a blatantly undemocratic negation of the November election results.”

“Similarly contentious efforts are afoot in Michigan, where Democrats regained three important statewide positions in November – that of governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Instead of accepting the will of voters, Republican lawmakers are now seeking to reduce the control of those post-holders over campaign finance and legal proceedings involving the state before the Democratic victors take office.”

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WI EVERS

Wisconsin’s power play is attracting the most nationwide attention given the unashamed attempt by state Republicans in effect to reverse the outcome of the November ballot, in which all six statewide positions were won by Democrats, including the governorship. The Republican-controlled legislature is hoping to vote on Tuesday on 40 proposed amendments contained in five bills that would starkly weaken the remit of the incoming Democratic officeholders even before they take office.”

“The proposed changes would prevent the governor-elect, Tony Evers, and attorney general-elect, Josh Kaul, from honoring one of their central promises to voters in the midterm campaign: the pledge to pull Wisconsin out of a multi-state legal challenge to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The new legislation would also gut the state’s department of justice of several core functions, transferring them from Kaul’s office to the Republican-controlled legislature.”

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The incoming post-holders have decried their rivals’ tactics as fundamentally undemocratic. “It goes to the heart of what democracy is all about,” Evers told reporters, saying the flurry of conservative moves was “an embarrassment for the state”.

Kaul told the Wisconsin State Journal: “This is fundamentally inconsistent with how a democracy is supposed to work. If this passes it’s going to significantly impair the ability of the state government to function effectively next year, because if it passes, it’s almost certain to end up in court.”

Should the bills pass and end up for approval on the desk of the outgoing Republican governor, Scott Walker, they would bookend his eight years in office in an inferno of controversy. Walker started his governorship in 2011 by introducing the notorious Act 10, which removed most collective bargaining rights from public sector unions, sparking mass protests at the capitol building in Madison.

Those protests were echoed on Monday (12/3/18)with a fresh round of unrest in Madison, with opponents of the power grab heckling Republican lawmakers with chants of “Respect my vote”.

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The audacious effort to defy the will of voters is a direct repeat of the playbook first adopted by Republicans in North Carolina two years ago. In the wake of the 2016 elections, in which the Democrat Roy Cooper unseated the Republican governor Pat McCrory, GOP leaders staged a special session in which they pared down the governor’s executive powers three weeks before Cooper took office.”

“This November, Republicans in North Carolina tried further to water down the governor’s powers with two constitutional amendments that would have limited his control over appointments to the state judiciary and board of elections. The amendments failed at the ballot box, but had they passed one commentator for the Raleigh News & Observer noted they would have reduced the role to that of “a potted plant”.

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“North Carolina is back in the news this week with a continuing investigation by the state’s elections board into an extremely tight House race for the ninth congressional district. The Republican candidate Mark Harris is narrowly ahead in the contest with about 900 more votes out of 283,000 cast than his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready.”

The result has yet to be certified by the board, which is looking into irregularities over absentee ballots. Democratic voters in Bladen and Robeson counties, in the east of the state, have submitted affidavits stating that their absentee ballots were collected in unsealed envelopes by unidentified individuals.

“One voter said she had handed over her unfinished ballot to a woman who said she would “finish it herself”.

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“The three states in the throes of partisan tussles are at the forefront of Republican voter suppression efforts. Part of Wisconsin’s proposed new legislation in the lame-duck session is a reduction in early voting days that has the potential to bring Republican lawmakers into direct confrontation with federal courts.”

“Democrats were given a big boost in the November election by record turnout in Wisconsin in early voting, with some 565,000 taking advantage of polling stations being open before election day. Now the Republicans want to whittle down the time allotted for such voting.”

“A similar effort to restrict early voting was ruled unconstitutional in 2016 by a federal judge, James Peterson, who found that the Republican scheme “intentionally discriminates on the basis of race”. Peterson concluded that the conservative leadership had been specifically motivated by a desire to place hurdles to voting in the way of the dominant black population in the state’s largest city, Milwaukee.”

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He wrote that the legislature’s goal was brazenly partisan: “to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans”.

The revival of restrictions exposes the Wisconsin legislature to possible claims of contempt of court. The liberal issue advocacy group One Wisconsin Now told reporters on Monday that it was preparing for legal action against the lawmakers depending on the outcome of the lame-duck session.

“Republicans believe they lost the November election because too many people voted, and are trying to undo the results of the vote by taking power from the elected governor and attorney general,” said Scott Ross.”

“He added: “We are a democracy only as long as elected officials don’t place themselves above the law.”

See: Republicans advance plan to limit Democrats’ power, drop proposal to …Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

See: Voters in Wisconsin and Michigan protest legislative attempts to …ThinkProgress

See: Stung by Election LossesRepublicans in the States Seek a Way to Neutralize Democrats/ NYT …

8 comments

  1. Didn’t the same thing happen in North Carolina between the 2016 elections and Roy Cooper’s inauguration in January 2017? What dirty pool! The republicans have apparently decided that all law is their own jurisdiction and that their ideology is the only one that matters. This is an abomination, it is telling We The People that we are irrelevant and our voices are not to be heard. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
    Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jill,

      It looks like WI, MI, NC and Georgia are knee deep in election fraud/ cheating to win by the GOP sore losers who are making a mockery of our US democracy and the ‘rule of law.’

      I’m getting sick of these republicans.

      How do we get rid of these guys?

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am beyond sick of them. The cheating … and what else can you call it, for it is naught but cheating … has tried my last little straw of patience. The money that flows into the coffers of the republicans has taken over and our voices are truly irrelevant to these elected officials whose salaries we pay! How do we get rid of them? I wish I knew, my friend. I think the only answer is to keep doing what you and I do … keep trying to raise awareness, to wake up the people who are asleep and dreaming of the world Trump has falsely promised them.
        Hugs!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gronda, as a former Republican, what has been done in North Carolina for the past seven years has been hyper-partisan politics at its worst perpetrated by the Republican Party. There is a reason a number of their actions have been ruled unconstitutional. The list includes unconstitutional gerrymandering and re-gerrymandering, unconstitutional voter ID laws, stripping power from the Governor as you note, etc. It has been a calculated power grab and others-be-damned mindset that is a misuse of power. It is truly shameful, in my view. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Keith,

      Thank God for the US Constitution.

      NC is in the news big time for cheating its citizens from having their votes truly reflect their voices. NC is the poster state to figure out how big money interests and GOP lawmakers can maintain their power by cheating and fraud because they can’t win, otherwise.

      But the courts keep ruling that a lot of their tactics are unconstitutional. Why do you think GOP are trying to pack the court with conservative partisans?

      This is way past shameful. The Republican Party has become the safe haven for racists, cheaters, sore losers.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gronda, tonight I heard Minister and Impacted Congressional candidate deny knowing anything about this. Yet, he paid a bill from a third party consultant that noted the services of absentee ballot help and referred the consultants’ subcontractor’s services to someone else.

        This election should go back to re-run his primary election win, as the numbers look even more squirrelly against the incumbent Robert Pittenger. I don’t hold Pittenger in high regard, but it looks like he also got screwed. Then, they can re-run the general election. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Gronda, there is so much about the US electoral system that I dislike, but this one ranks right up there with the worst elements! Lame Duck Sessions are preposterous! Electing people in November and allowing defeated politicians almost two months to sabotage the work of incoming members is insane. I think these legislatures should be in recess until the new members take their seats. I know that voter turnout is a big issue, but the problem is likely due to non-stop elections and voter fatigue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear John Fioravanti,

      I couldn’t agree more. There has always been some political maneuverings by lame duck politicians but not at this level. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with big corporate donors having just spent a lot of monies to help republicans to win only to find their million go down the toilet as the voters preferred to elect Democrats. Now they are upset about this to where they are demanding that the GOP legislators take action. They don’t care about these power grabs being undemocratic.

      This all started with a US Supreme Court decision in 2010 called Citizens United v. FEC which allowed corporations to donate monies like an individual to political candidates. There are loopholes which allow these donors to donate anonymously.

      Now, we the US citizens are having the power of our votes diminished because GOP elected officials are bought and sold by these big donor guys.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

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