Jan 29, 2015

Scott Walker Loses, Free Speech Wins in Wisconsin Appellate Court

Wisconsin Capitol Police Manhandle citizens
opposing Scott Walker, frightening children
and abusing seniors. Photo: Dawn Henke
"The Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda functions, both literally and symbolically, as a city center and is fully utilized as a public space to which all have claim." - United States District Court Judge William M. Conley in Michael Kissick vs. Michael Huebsch and David Erwin

Scott Walker's assault on free speech at the Capitol has been dealt another body blow, as he amps up his fundraising project disguised as a serious run for the U.S. presidency.

A Wisconsin appellate court has sustained the First Amendment rights of the civil-rights-movement-singing Wisconsin Solidarity Singers or Solidarity Sing-Along (Facebook).

The case is State of Wisconsin v. Michael W. Crute (Appeal No. 2014AP659; Circuit Court No. 2010FO2108).

Mr. Crute was cited with a civil citation when he sang in 2013 and his case was dismissed by Dane County Judge John Markson last year, citing First Amendment violations by the state of Wisconsin.

The case represents a significant victory for free speech advocates, and another judicial slap in the face of Scott Walker who is going thorough the motions of launching a presidential run.

Walker would be subject to national scrutiny and ridicule were he to appeal the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, taking on the appearance of a petty, anti-free speech governor who cannot bear the airing of speech with which he disagrees.

In Wisconsin the state Capitol is recognized as a free speech, public forum area, a commitment discarded by Scott Walker when 100,000s of Wisconsin citizens vocally opposed him and his policies.

Crute is the co-host of the Devil's Advocates Radio.

"I feel vindicated today, I’m 2-0 against Scott Walker," said Crute. "In his State of the State address, Scott Walker said we should stand with the French, stand for freedom of press, stand for free speech. But this Governor would arrest those that protest his policies. He would have arrested the media that tried to to expose those unconstitutional arrests."

In fact, Scott Walker did arrest several journalists and those taping arrests, including Matthew Rothschild, the former editor of The Progressive Magazine.

United States District Court Judge William M. Conley issued a preliminary injunction stopping the capitol police from issuing mass citations for singing, looking at singers or 'spectating', in Kissick v. Huebsch (July 8, 2013), citing numerous Wisconsin state documentary sources and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Wisconsin state capitol grounds are a "public forum that has been at the center of public discourse," notes Judge Conley. "As explained in its official nomination for designation as a National Historic Landmark, which was granted on January 3, 2001: The soaring rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol is designed to induce its citizenry to be, as individuals, among the resources of Wisconsin.' Whereas some statehouses are maintained apart from the urban fabric, the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda functions, both literally and symbolically, as a city center and is fully utilized as a public space to which all have claim."

Later an agreement was reached between Wisconsin citizens and the Wisconsin Department of Administration (overseeing the capitol) recognizing the facts of the capitol as a public forum space and the constitutional rights retained by American and Wisconsin citizens.

Recall the summer of 2013 Scott Walker administration orders mass arrests for expression of anti-Scott Walker sentiments, including arresting a Marine and stepping his flag into the ground.

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