Apr 7, 2013

Former Madison Mayor 'Dave' Says Scott Walker Is Right to Block Judge Appointments

Former "Mayor Dave" Knows Better Than Dane County Voters, He Says in Incoherent Column

Former Madison, Wisconsin, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, is upset that Dane County voters decided not to vote for the Scott Walker appointee for judge in the April 2 election, as is Scott Walker.

Cieslewicz, like Walker, omits mention in his public comments that the Wisconsin Constitution guarantees voters have the final say on whom they elect as circuit court judges.

But Cieslewicz, like Walker, says he knows better than the voters, and they just didn't think this election through correctly.

Writes Cieslewicz:  "Look, I don't like the use of the Walker factor in these races. It brought down Judge Roger Allen a year ago, a good man who I worked with as an assistant city attorney. And this time around it brought down Rebecca St. John, who many attorneys that I respect told me was doing a very good job as an appointed judge."

Let's get Cieslewicz' position, such as it is, clear.

We need a change in judicial appointment procedure, you see, because Cieslewicz and Walker know better than voters; many attorneys told Cieslewicz that St. John was doing a fine job as judge, deserving of re-election though, Cieslewicz also points out, he endorsed St. John's opponent.


Mayor Dave, it's becoming clear why you are the former mayor.

Now, Cieslewicz says, like Walker, that the governor should "appoint a panel of retired judges to make the (judicial) appointment on his behalf," because voters cannot be trusted to make the correct choice in voting for or against Scott Walker appointees for Dane County judge. In fact, let's do this in every county, counsels Cieslewicz.

Voters did not engage the correct calculus that Cieslewicz presumes to know in electing a circuit court judge, though again since he says he endorsed St. John's opponent, Rhonda Lanford, that calculus is elusive. Actually, Cieslewicz' calculus is incoherent.

What he is not doing is making a whole lot of sense.

But the Wisconsin Constitution remains, irrespective of what Cieslewicz or Walker may wish:

Wisconsin Constitution, Article VII. Judiciary (Section 7. [Circuit court: election.]:

For each circuit there shall be chosen by the qualified electors thereof one or more circuit judges as prescribed by law. Circuit judges shall be elected for 6-year terms and shall reside in the circuit from which elected. ...
If Cieslewicz doesn't trust the voters to make the proper decisions on judgeships, advocate repealing Article VII and the annoying section that pertains to voters electing judges in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Journal takes this position.

Cieslewicz is not arrogant, or maybe he is.

But Cieslewicz is pathetic in his assertion that he votes for candidates for the correct reasons, whereas voters elect candidates for the wrong reasons, as divined by Cieslewicz and Walker.

By the way, I voted for Rhonda Lanford, because I am a constitutionally qualified elector who decided that St. John either lied or was truthful on her application for judge in which St. John spouted rightwing platitudes echoing Walker's (what Lester Pines called rightwing "dog whistles") in an apparent effort to get the gig. Besides, I believe Lanford to be a brilliant jurist, and the best candidate for the position.

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