Showing posts with label J.B. Van Hollen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label J.B. Van Hollen. Show all posts

Jul 12, 2014

Wisconsin, Indiana Marriage Equity Cases Fast-tracked by Appellate Court

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney's marriage
sustained by appellate court
fast-tracking marriage equity cases in
Indiana and Wisconsin
Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney
Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney

ACLU of Wisconsin: "We are disappointed that (Scott) Walker, (J.B.) Van Hollen, and the other defendants are turning their backs on equality - but we will fight on."

Civil rights history is unfolding fast in the heartland as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ordered two right-to-marry cases be consolidated and fast-tracked.

The liberty and equality of American citizens are being acclaimed in federal courts across the country against the bigotries of religious and partisan interests still presenting arguments against marriage equity with no apparent rational basis.

Less than two weeks after an order by the federal appellate court that an Indiana couple be allowed to stay married in light of one of spouses facing terminal cancer [other marriages were stayed], and one day after Wisconsin's attorney general appealed a U.S. District judge's June declaration and injunction against Wisconsin's gay marriage bans, a three-judge appellate panel ordered Indiana and Wisconsin litigants to file briefs by August 4th and that the Indiana and Wisconsin cases be consolidated.

Meanwhile, ACLU of Indiana "(a)ttorneys on Friday asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step in on behalf of hundreds of same-sex couples who were wed before a federal appeals court stayed an order striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban," reports Charles D. Wilson (AP). "The letter by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asks Holder to issue a statement that the federal government will recognize the marriages as he did in Utah and Michigan, which would make Indiana's couples eligible for federal benefits for married couples."

Against near unanimous Republican Party opposition, marriage equality for same-sex couples is moving rapidly through the courts and the U.S. Supreme Court will likely take up several cases and rule definitively next term whether individuals have a right to marry under the equal protection, due process and liberty interests under the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

"The panel that sped up the case consists of Judges Richard Posner, Ann Claire Williams and David Hamilton. Posner and Williams were appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and Hamilton was appointed by President Bill Clinton," note Patrick Marley and Dana Ferguson (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

The Seventh Circuit's jurisdiction consists of Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois.

Posner, an outspoken public intellectual, is widely regarded as one of the leading legal minds in the country in the appellate court noted for its outspoken and brilliant jurists.

The two cases are Indiana's Baskin v. Zoeller (consolidated with Officer Pamela Lee v. Pence, filed by Indiana Equality Action on behalf of first responders seeking equality for their marriages and Midori Fujii v. State of Indiana) and Wisconsin's Walker v. Wolf. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel document)

The arguments of 'this is what I believe' and 'I don't like gays' increasingly are being struck down by federal courts across the county as having no rational basis or legitimate purpose buttressing state gay marriage bans after last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"The federal [DOMA] statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," Justice Kennedy wrote. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment [protecting the liberty of the individual]." (Liptak, NYT)

Injuring gay Americans is the official policy of a major American political party and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that would inflict hate onto the LGBTQ community using the vehicle of the state.

Jul 11, 2014

Wisconsin's Corrupt Attorney General's Quest to Block Marriage Equality

Wisconsin has a wide collection of Republican officeholders today making national headlines that would do Mississippi proud.

There's Wisconsin's "dumb Ron Johnson," a U.S. senator who likes to run political interference on behalf of child molesters.

Wisconsin's crooked and extremist governor, Scott Walker who is so afraid of the Wisconsin people, he has failed to hold one listening session, after campaigning his would be the most transparent and open administration in Wisconsin history. "I attended a (Mary) Burke question-and-answer meeting in Waunakee," writes Nila Frye in a letter to the editor in today's Wisconsin State Journal, making the score: Burke: Many; Walker: Zero.

Wisconsin's fake budget numbers guy, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), who is scaring away Republicans as he explains why Social Security and Medicare are un-American.

Then there is Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a corrupt jurist who went to court in 2008 claiming all of the state bureaucracies' databases' names of Wisconsin residents had to exactly match as a precondition to vote. Seriously.

Van Hollen's charge now, in his mind, is to defend all manner of unconstitutional laws such as the Wisconsin same sex marriage ban and the GOP photo voter obstruction law.

Van Hollen foolishly declared in June there would be "legal repercussions" for county clerks marrying couples after U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb held Wisconsin's ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional in Wolf v. Walker.

Now, instead of allowing marriage equity to proceed, Van Hollen along with Scott Walker announced yesterday they are appealing Judge Crabb's decision, despite widespread and growing sentiment for marriage equality. (Marley, Ferguson; Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

In typical Walker and Van Hollen fashion both Republicans do not have the courage of their bigoted convictions, and both officials refrain from explaining why denial of two people of the same sex getting married is constitutional.

Had Walker and Van Hollen not appealed, Judge Crabb's declaration and injunction against enforcement of gay marriage bans would have gone into effect.

Van Hollen can read case law, and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has fast-tracked a similar case from Indiana where the appellate Court ordered Indiana on July 1 to allow one couple to marry because one of the spouses has terminal cancer.

"It is time for the State of Indiana to leave Niki (Sandler) and Amy (Quasney) in peace and not subject them and their marriage to any more stress and uncertainty as this case proceeds," Lambda Legal staff attorney Paul D. Castillo said in a statement.

Congratulations to Ms. Sandler and Ms. Quasney.

Shame on the bigots and their infantile rants.

Equal protection under the law is the Republican nightmare, and the outgoing J.B. Van Hollen leaves behind a legacy of partisanship, corruption and obstruction of the right to vote and even get married as his legacy.

Jun 16, 2014

Wisconsin Corrupt Atty General Reduces Himself to Partisan Troll

"After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court." (emphasis added)

So reads U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling in Wolf v. Walker, declaring Wisconsin's ban on  against marriages between persons solely on the basis of sex or gender to be unconstitutional.

Judge Crabb's language on implementing a temporary stay recognizes federal court decisions across the nation have found for challenges against same-sex marriage bans on the merits, and her decision against bans affirms that courts protect individual rights against incursions by state governments.

Crabb notes the need for a decisive appellate ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court as a guide for lower courts and that the stay is merely procedural until such a ruling is made (or the failure of Van Hollen to appeal her declaration and decision to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit).

Crabb cites a host of precedents in support of her opinion, including Loving v. Virginia (1967), which holds that state bans against marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In response, Van Hollen has made a host of ill-considered, even infantile public statements during litigation, going so low as to threaten to criminally convict county clerks, before backing away from his statement in the face of widespread ridicule. "Who is Van Hollen kidding? Does he really think that county clerks should be prosecuted for doing their jobs after a federal judge threw out the state's ​constitutional ​ban on same-sex marriage? It sounds like the last desperate gasp of a losing argument," reads a blistering editorial from the conservative editorial page of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (June 13, 2014).

So, Van Hollen, ever the partisan and corrupt attorney general, plays the partisan troll again early last weekend, spinning Judge Crabb's procedural and temporary stay of her own ruling as a victory for anti-marriage equity forces.

Reads Van Hollen's statement in part: "I am very pleased that Judge Crabb has followed the lead of courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, and fully stayed her ruling. By staying this ruling, she has confirmed that Wisconsin’s law regarding same-sex marriage remains in full force and effect."

Van Hollen's public statements are purely political intended to incite more bigotry and made in support of the current composition of the GOP's collection of hate groups, including the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and other religious right groups.

Van Hollen knows perfectly well state bans and federal court ruling finding against these bans simply need to be litigated in federal appellate court following last year's Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor—holding the federal Defense of Marriage Act is an unconstitutional violation and deprivation of liberty.

Van Hollen's refusal to publicly address the logic of judicial precedents holding states cannot violate the constitutional rights of individuals in the realm of marriage demonstrates anew the Wisconsin attorney general remains little more than a tool of narrow ideological interests against the rule of law and the liberty interest of the individual American citizen.

Jun 13, 2014

Judge Issues Injunction on Wisconsin Gay Marriage Ban, Stays Ruling and Defers to Appellate Courts

In another win for marriage equity advocates, U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb barred enforcement of Wisconsin gay marriage bans declaring the bans an unconstitutional infringement of citizens' rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Judge Crabb stayed the order until the federal appellate courts make a final decision or until the expiration of the deadline for filing an appeal.

"The injunction and the declaration shall take effect after the conclusion of any appeals or after the expiration of the deadline for filing an appeal, whichever is later. The clerk of court is directed to enter judgment in favor of plaintiffs and close this case."

Judge Crabb's 14-page ruling in Wolf v. Walker can be found here. (Wisconsin State Journal)

Crabb expressed sympathy for Wisconsin couples who have to wait for their rights to be adjudicated in the appellate courts before being realized.

Writes Crabb: "After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court."

Wolf v. Walker and other federal cases are expected to move comparatively quickly through the federal appellate court system and a landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court could come as early at the next term beginning in October.

As expected the anti-gay Wisconsin attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, takes a hostile stand against gay marriage, and spins Judge Crabb's decision, refusing to acknowledge that the stay is temporary and procedural, and the merits of the challenge to Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage have been deliberated, declared to be unconstitutional and enjoined, pending a final decision in the appellate courts.

Wisconsin Attorney General Turns State DoJ into Clown Car

Update IV: Judge Crabb's written opinion on stay and injunction expected Friday afternoon. (Stein, Marley and Ferguson, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Update III: Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen walks back his foolish warning to Wisconsin county clerks in the face of widespread ridicule, expanding his denial today: "I did not suggest or recommend criminal charging of County Clerks. I never indicated an intention by this office to investigate or charge any county officer. During a half-hour interview in which the Journal Sentinel asked if clerks could be charged I acknowledged they could, citing §765.30(2)(b), and further stated it would be very fact specific and up to individual District Attorneys. The opposite answer would have been untruthful. I would certainly not encourage any prosecutor to do so and even suggested at the conclusion of the interview that the reporter should not print on that subject as it would be fear mongering," said Van Hollen in a statement.

Van Hollen's retreat is disingenuous. Here's what Van Hollen said: "You do have many people in Wisconsin basically taking the law into their own hands and there can be legal repercussions for that. So, depending on who believes they're married under the law and who doesn't believe they're married under the law may cause them to get themselves in some legal problems that I think are going to take years for them and the courts to work out." (Marley and Ferguson, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Sounds like fear mongering to me. So why did Van Hollen say it? Even Van Hollen admits he was a clown.

Update II: Judge Crabb's written opinion on stay and injunction expected Friday afternoon. (Stein, Marley and Ferguson, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Update: Madison attorney Lester Pines to J.B. Van Hollen: Drop threat against county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses (Schneider, The Capital Times)
---
- If J.B. Van Hollen is serious, he should direct the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice to prosecute every county judge, every clergy, and every county official who have married couples in almost every Wisconsin county, in violation of Wisconsin statute, he won't because Van Hollen is a clown -

As Wisconsin marriage equality advocates await U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb's decision after a 1:00 p.m. hearing today on staying her declaration that Wisconsin same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, we note that Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has turned the Wisconsin Department of Justice into another Republican clown car.

Van Hollen still claims Judge Crabb's decision did not strike down Wisconsin's various bans on same-sex marriage.

And Van Hollen claims "county clerks should be prosecuted for doing their jobs after a federal judge threw out the state's ​constitutional ​ban on same-sex marriage," as noted in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial.

Van Hollen points to Wisconsin statutes for marriage contracts (765.3 Penalties) and the various penalties for violating the state marriage statute.

All of the four district attorneys who are candidates for Wisconsin attorney general dismiss Van Hollen's position as ridiculous.

But let's pretend Van Hollen is more than a clown (and a corrupt hack).

The Wisconsin state statute that Van Hollen cites also provides that every judge, member of the clergy and county official who "....not being duly authorized by the laws of this state, who intentionally undertakes to solemnize a marriage in this state; or any person who intentionally participates in or in any way aids or abets any false or fictitious marriage" is in violation of the law and faces criminal sanctions, if found guilty.

It is within Van Hollen's discretion to direct the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice to prosecute every county judge, every clergy, and every county official who have married couples in almost every Wisconsin county.

And every Wisconsin same-sex couple who has been married in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, for example, is also in violation of Wisconsin statute.

Van Hollen, if he is not just clowning around, should direct the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute all of those in criminal violation of Wisconsin marriage state statutes.

But Van Hollen is not serious. He's a clown.

May 13, 2014

Wisconsin Attorney General Is Just Another GOP Hack

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is again using his office in service to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, instead of the people of Wisconsin.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Yesterday, Van Hollen appealed Wisconsin Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman's order and opinion finding Wisconsin photo voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The appeal will heard by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Van Hollen could refuse to defend the unconstitutional law that after a November 2013 trial that showed that Wisconsin Act 23 could disenfranchise as many as 300,000 Wisconsin voters, among them minorities, the elderly, disaffected veterans, students, technical college students and those who have recently moved their residences.

Newspapers, some of which are GOP-leaning in their editorial pages, have urged Van Hollen to stop wasting money and time defending a law intended to make it more difficult for Wisconsin citizens to vote, in furtherance of the careers of Republican Party officeholders.

Van Hollen's decision comes as no surprise as he vowed to appeal in early May, nor does Scott Walker, James Sensenbrenner and the Republican Party's tenacious pursuit and abiding support of blocking Wisconsin voters from voting.

It bears repeating that in 2008 Van Hollen tried to use the Help America Vote Act to suppress Democratically leaning voters to stave off landslide defeat for the McCain-Palin ticket of which Van Hollen served as co-chair.

In 2008, WisPolitics uncovered an audio recording revealing Van Hollen promising such action on during the Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Minnesota, after multiple conversations with Reince Priebus, then Wisconsin GOP party chairman, after Van Hollen denied holding secret conversations on the suit with Republican officials.

"(T)here was no discussion with anybody involved in leadership with the Republican Party (or the McCain campaign) about this (voting rule) lawsuit before it was brought," Van Hollen said.

WisPolitics blew that lie out of the water after uncovering audio of Van Hollen talking with the Republican leadership promising legal action in a corruption of his office.

Though Republicans often contend that state photo voter ID laws have been found constitutional in Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board (2008) by the U.S. Supreme Court, Earnest A. Canning knocked down this contention in his piece from early May in the Brad Blog.

Canning's analysis is required reading for anyone reporting on the GOP voter obstruction and photo voter ID laws.

Writes Canning:
In 2006, Indiana Republicans enacted the first such polling place Photo ID law in the nation. That case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board (2008), before it was allowed to be enforced by the state.
 
The Court's ruling in the case, however, was far different from how Republican defenders of such laws have portrayed it ever since, including Texas Attorney General (and Gubernatorial candidate) Greg Abbot, who falsely claimed last year, in response to the U.S. Dept. of Justice's lawsuit against his state's similar law, that "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes." In fact, the Court did no such thing.
 
As this site, and numerous others, have repeatedly noted, Crawford involved the allegation that Indiana's first-in-the-nation Photo ID voting restriction was unconstitutional "on its face." Six of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine Justices rejected that facial challenge, but they decidedly did not, as Abbot incorrectly declared, find that "voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes."
 
What they did do, however, is establish the test that must be applied to such laws in determining their constitutionality. At the core of his decision in the Wisconsin case, Judge Adelman applied that test with careful measure.
 
As Judge Adelman observed, Crawford lacked a "majority opinion" --- that is an opinion in which five Justices agreed on the reasons for the decision. Instead, there were four separate opinions: a lead opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens (joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy), a concurring opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia (joined by Justices Thomas and Alito), a dissenting opinion written by Justice David Souter (joined by Justice Ginsburg) and a separate dissent by Justice Breyer.
 
While the various Justices agreed and disagreed on a number of points throughout those opinions, Judge Adelman notes that six of the nine Justices each concurred that the correct approach is to apply what he describes as the Anderson/Burdick test, which requires the courts, on a case-by-case basis, to measure a law's potential damage to voters' right to vote, against the specific claims made by the state as to why such additional burdens and restrictions are necessary.
 
"Even very slight burdens," he wrote, "'must be justified by relevant and legitimate state interests 'sufficiently weighty to justify the limitation.'"
 
In fact, all nine Justices in Crawford agreed that the Anderson/Burdick balancing test applied in the case. The difference between the dissenting opinions and the lead opinion written by Justice Stevens is based exclusively on their respective views on the status of the actual evidence on record before the Court.
 
In his dissent, Justice Souter opined that the Hoosier State's polling place Photo ID law "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting right of tens of thousands of the State's citizens...and a significant percentage of those individuals are likely to be deterred from voting."
 
In comments to The BRAD BLOG last October, Bill Groth, attorney for the lead plaintiff in the Crawford case, insisted that he had, in fact, presented an adequate record of undue burden on voters in the case. Justice Stevens, however, didn't see it that way. In his lead opinion, the now-retired Justice observed that "the evidence in the record does not provide us with the number of registered voters without photo identification." He found there was no "concrete evidence of the burden imposed on voters who currently lack photo identification" and reasoned that, based upon the record before the Court, they "cannot conclude that the statute imposes 'excessively burdensome requirements' on any class of voters."
 
The Court did not find that Indiana's law imposed no burden on voters, as Abbott in Texas, and Republicans elsewhere have attempted to claim, but rather, such evidence had simply not been presented to the Court in that case.
 
In October 2013, after Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner, during a book-tour interview, essentially recanted his original majority opinion in the Crawford case --- the one that eventually landed before the Supreme Court. Posner admitted he'd gotten it wrong. Justice Stevens, who retired in 2010, was then asked about his own lead opinion in the case, and told the Wall Street Journal, that he "always thought that [dissenter] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court at the time] supported everything he said in his opinion."
 
Crawford, Stevens insists, "is state-specific and record-specific." Meaning, the Court's ruling was based on, and applied only to Indiana's version of the law, how it was implemented there, how it affected voters in that particular state, and what information on all of the above was available in the record before the court at the time.

Apr 4, 2014

No Wisconsin Attorney General Candidate Ever Cited The Innocence Project, Until Now

Mal Contends contacted the four major candidates for attorney general, asking three questions pertaining to ethics, the wrongfully convicted, pardons, and the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation.

In this election for attorney general, a small fraction of the electorate will vote in the August 12 partisan primary.

It is likely the campaign for attorney general will not feature the issues of wrongful conviction, impartiality, and the role of the attorney general in advocating for the state vis a vis the cause of justice, though these are areas of concern for any elected law enforcement official.

One question singles out the case of combat Marine, Eric Pizer (2000 - 2004, Iraq, Kuwait) who pled guilty to a trumped-up charge by the district attorney's office of Grant County (a less-than-sophisticated office) for this Marine home just two days after his return from Iraq in 2004.

As the Wisconsin Constitution is vague on the authority of the attorney general (leaving much to the statutes), the discretion of the attorney general is amplified in our state.

This piece is to inform the campaign with the responses to the questions presented below.

Repeated attempts by phone, email, and campaign-contact applications were made to all four candidates; only one candidate has responded with a response to this three-question questionnaire. One candidate promised, but failed to follow through, and two other candidates declined comment and contact.

The four candidates contacted are Susan Happ, Ismael Ozanne, Jon Richards and Brad Schimel.

The only candidate responding is Ismael Ozanne.

Ozanne's responses along with my three questions are below.
---
Question: Our outgoing attorney general served as co-chair of a Wisconsin presidential ticket's campaign committee in 2008, a common practice of attorneys general.

In his capacity as attorney general, he and his political party (as Intervenor Plaintiff) filed a lawsuit in a voting rights case, Van Hollen v. Government Accountability Board (2008). This seemed untoward to me.

Do you believe it is ethical to serve as political party campaign chair while sitting as our state's attorney general?

Ismael Ozanne:

It is not unethical to serve as a campaign chair while serving as attorney general.  The service as a campaign chair is not the ethical concern.  The ethical concern is serving as campaign chair and then taking official actions as attorney general that are intended to benefit the campaign in question, and not reflecting the law and the best interests of the people of Wisconsin.  If AG Van Hollen thought it was necessary in his official capacity to participate in legal action involving the campaign, he should have either stepped down from any role in the campaign or recused himself from the legal action.

Question: Wisconsin's governor in December 2013 publicly dismissed Marine Eric Pizer's bid for a pardon in an interview with WKOW TV (Madison), continuing his stance against granting pardons. The governor stated in part: "If you pick one [to be pardoned] there's thousands of other examples out there of people who may not have the media or other outlets behind them, who would be in an equal position who probably have a compelling case to be made that we don't yet know about."

Scott Walker is correct about 1,000s of Wisconsin citizens having a compelling case for pardons.

In light of Walker's position unprecedented in modern Wisconsin history, would your office consider advising district attorneys to open cases for stipulations of time served to secure the freedom of the wrongfully convicted when an array of facts demand this action in the interest of justice?

Realizing this action of seeking justice would be unusual for the office of attorney general, but within its discretion, how much does the imprisonment of an innocent weigh on you?

Ismael Ozanne:

I think that it is unfortunate that Gov. Walker has decided, likely for purely political reasons, not to exercise his authority to grant pardons to deserving people who have turned their lives around.  Pardons are not intended to be used as a vehicle to reverse wrongful convictions.  No prosecutor should want to have innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted stay in prison.  If evidence is brought to the attention of the authorities demonstrating that a mistake has been made, the interests of justice demand that the evidence is carefully reviewed and the individual should be released if exonerated.  As Dane County District Attorney, I have worked with lawyers from the Innocence Project, and will do so in the future.  While these decisions are largely at the discretion of the DAs around the state, I would work with them as attorney general, providing resources and advice in these situations.  The ultimate goal of the system is not simply to secure convictions, it is to do justice.

Question: The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) is widely regarded as both overly secretive and toothless, and a case study in administrative law capture theory.

As attorney general, would you advocate to the Supreme Court for reforms at the OLR for the health of the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government.

Ismael Ozanne:

The Supreme Court is a co-equal branch of government and it has the authority to maintain the system that we use to regulate the conduct of lawyers in Wisconsin.  In the event that I determined as attorney general that there were aspects of that system that needed to be addressed, I would have no problem making my opinion known through the process. 

Oct 19, 2013

Texas Obstucts Women from Voting; Effort Similar to Wisc AG's Failed Suit

Civil rights violations are our business: GOP
Update: Barbara Arnwine and Eleanor Smeal explain the GOP's war on women voting: "The assault on voting rights is a naked attempt to suppress the votes of minorities, students, the elderly, and the poor. But don’t be fooled. This War on Voting is an essential part of the War on Women."

In 2008 Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen tried to push through the courts a new constitutional requirement to vote: An exact match of a voter's name on the databases of various government bureaucracies.

Ridiculous.

The GOP voter obstruction effort failed miserably, though Van Hollen later showed no shame in trying to stop our sacred right to vote, efforts for which Van Hollen will be well-compensated in the private sector at a cushy GOP firm, (Van Hollen is not seeking reelection in 2014.)

"Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a prerequisite for a citizen's right to vote," Judge Maryann Sumi said in dismissing Van Hollen's lawsuit (J.B. Van Hollen v. Government Accountability Board (GAB) et al (2008)) that tried to use the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) as a voter suppression tool.

In October 2008, it was reported by WisPolitics that Reince Priebus (then Wisconsin and now national GOP Chair) and Wisconsin McCain-Palin co-chair Van Hollen met before and at the 2008 National Republican Convention in St. Paul to discuss this new voter obstruction effort which would was employed by the Van Hollen-headed Wisconsin Department of Justice during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Now, Texas is employing the Priebus-Van Hollen strategy to obstruct voting, requiring an exact and up-to-date name match on Photo Voter ID, per newly enacted Texas GOP law.

The New Civil Rights Movements notes: "Think Progress reports that as of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. It sounds like such a small thing, but according to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because young women have not updated their documents with their married names, a circumstance that doesn’t affect male voters in any significant way. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free."

Van Hollen had denied any contacts with the Republican Party and the McCain campaign about Wisconsin's invented 2008 voting rule in the GOP's failed lawsuit, a denial that was contradicted by WisPolitics‘ audio recording revealing Van Hollen promising this 2008 legal action to Priebus on alleged "voter fraud" during an address at the 2008 Republican National Convention held in St. Paul.

Texas GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott, Wendy Davis' likely opponent for governor in 2014, has had much to say about new voting requirements and other GOP obstruction schemes, now under challenge by the U.S. DoJ under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, to the chagrin of voting rights poseur and lede Republican bullshitter, James Sensenbrenner. Abbott is running the Reince Priebus playbook.

Writes Dave McNeely:


"In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party's electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats," says the (legal) brief filed by Abbott's office, (defending Texas gerrymandering). "It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan redistricting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates."

Abbott also accused Jose Garza, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, of unethical behavior for telling Latino voters to go ahead to the polls even without the now-required photo ID in a Sept. 14 election in Edinburg to fill a city council vacancy.

It is "unethical for a lawyer to advise someone to violate Texas law," Abbott said. "Confusing and misleading Texans in order to create an unnecessary lawsuit is disgraceful."

Garza hotly shot back that he had never encouraged Texans to violate the law, but to cast provisional ballots if they can't get a photo ID. He said he thinks the law is unconstitutional, and if they are refused that would be grounds for a legal challenge.

"Do not stay home and allow a discriminatory law to suppress your vote and voice," Garza said. "That is my message to Edinburg's voters."
Abbott says he needs to stop voter fraud and ensure the integrity of Texas elections.

As the world looks at American politics, wondering vaguely if the US has lost its collective mind in allowing the Tea Party suicide caucus to threaten the world economy, it also cast dubious eyes on the American commitment to voting rights in a democracy, wondering in the words of Teresa Wiltz in The Guardian if this is "2013 or 1953?"

It's 1953, only worse.

In the words of Joel Bleifuss, editor of In These Times, enterprising and corrupt voter obstruction efforts by GOP operatives, including five sitting jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court judges, have in dismantling voter protections imposed on America a "gift to both the billionaire political hobbyists who gave us the Tea Party Congress and the noisy charlatans who push for cynical 'anti-voter-fraud' legislation that is crafted to suppress voter turnout."

Jan 14, 2013

Wisconsin Supreme Court Denies GOP Move to Bypass Courts on Voter ID-Obstruction Case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has again refused to bypass a court of appeals ruling today holding the Wisconsin GOP voter ID law unconstitutional on its face.

Some four weeks before the February primary election of GOP Supreme Court justice, Patience Drake Roggensack, naked acts of political corruption appear unwise.

The Court's decision is a sign that when the voter ID cases do reach the Wisconsin supreme court, the four GOP justices will not rule against the Wisconsin Constitution and overturn the two permanent injunctions of the lower courts because this action would be too blatant a display of corruption—a view that is conventional wisdom among Wisconsin jurists contacted the past months who are not involved in the cases.

The high court similarly refused to take up the GOP voter ID cases in April 2012.

The court also refused today to consolidate the two state cases that are now before two different Wisconsin appellate courts.

Two state appellate courts have held the GOP voter ID law is permanently enjoined from taking effect.

The voter ID law was passed with only GOP votes, with no GOP dissents, and against the counsel of every good government and civil rights organization.

The motion refused by the court was made by Wisconsin's partisan attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen who faces an election in 2014.

Wisconsin's Constitution, Article III, Section 1—"Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."—strongly protects the right of citizens to vote against the efforts of politicians obstructing citizens' constitutional right to vote.

A government that undermines the right to vote imperils its own legitimacy as a government 'by the people, for the people and especially of the people,' (Judge Richard) Niess wrote in a decision striking down the GOP law. 'It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution' (Treleven, WSJ).

Two other federal cases also have also been filed against Wisconsin's voter ID law:  Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin); and Jones et al v. Deininger et al (Case 2:12-cv-00185), (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin).

In a federal case, evidence has been obtained by Monica Wedgewood, an intern working for the ACLU, that military veterans would be prevented from voting, if the GOP law were to take ever take effect.

Aug 22, 2012

Corrupt AG Van Hollen Wants High Court to Reinstate Voter Obstruction Law

The Blind Leading the Blind - Brueghel
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) is betting the Wisconsin corporate media will not hammer the Republican Party for Van Hollen's petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to stay the two injunctions against the GOP's unconstitutional voter ID law.

It's a safe bet for Van Hollen and the GOP to make.

Denying the fundamental freedom to vote does not bring a high political price, not from the corporate media.

Media

So, we get a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel piece citing "supporters" (not mentioning supporters are Republicans and Tea Partiers) who point out that the new ID requirement did not produce problems in the one election in which it was operative.

Omitted are the facts that this February 21 election was the Spring primary election, with no statewide races on the ballot, very low turn-out, and an election in which the state Governmental Accountability Board (GAB) did not record the turn-out as only local races were on the ballot, as the GAB confirmed.

"The G.A.B. did not calculate statewide voter turnout for the February 2012 nonpartisan primary because there were no statewide races on the ballot – just local races," e-mailed Reid Magney, public information officer of the Wisconsin GAB.

Consequently, the February election featured turn-outs in the single digits, as mostly die-hard voters cast their votes.

This is the election the GOP argues is evidence that Voter IDs do not obstruct voters. Another GOP talking point is presented by the media to the public unchallenged.

In any event, people were stopped from voting in February such as 84-year-old Ruthell Frank of Brokaw, now a co-plaintiff in the federal case, Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Another example of lame media coverage, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel piece omits that the voter ID law was passed in the legislature with only GOP votes, no dissenting GOP votes, no Democratic votes, and that the GOP is pursuing similar voter ID laws in states in which the GOP controls the legislature and governor's office.

Political Culture

And of course the Republican and Tea Parties are openly hostile to the right to vote and pay no discernible price for their efforts at stopping citizens from voting.

In March, Van Hollen admitted that Wisconsin voters would be disfranchised by the GOP's voter ID law, so now his petition to make the law operative (staying the two injunctions) before the November election would in a healthy political culture constitute a high scandal against democracy.

We don't live in a healthy democracy.

United Wisconsin's Lisa Subeck slammed Van Hollen's move:

“Putting politics ahead of the law he is sworn to uphold, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is once again moving to disenfranchise as many as 300,000 Wisconsin voters who lack photo ID. Despite two previous court injunctions permanently striking down Wisconsin’s unnecessary and oppressive Voter ID law, today Van Hollen has requested that the Wisconsin Supreme Court immediately lift the orders that prevent the law’s enactment.

Van Hollen’s flagrantly political move comes just a few short months before the November Presidential election. The timing makes his intentions clear. With the selection of Paul Ryan as a vice presidential candidate, Wisconsin is set to be a crucial battleground in the race for President, and Van Hollen is attempting to disenfranchise the hundreds of thousands of seniors, students, minority, and low-income citizens who will be disproportionately impacted by this law. Van Hollen’s latest ploy reeks of political gamesmanship, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court should reject it outright.”
Still, Van Hollen's petition is a stretch. And his effort will likely be refused by the Supreme Court. Too naked a corrupt, partisan exercise even in this unhealthy democracy.

Information on the two state cases, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 11CV4669) and Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker (Case 11CV5492) are linked above.

How about Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R)? He championed the 2006 renewal of the Voting Rights Act, passed to stop state voter obstruction efforts.

No, word from Sensenbrenner's office is he would have no comment anymore on state voter obstruction efforts like Wisconsin's.

Two federal trials on the Wisconsin Voter ID law are set for the Spring 2013.

One Wisconsin Now, a civil rights group, released the following:
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements upon news Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen would petition the state Supreme Court to overturn, in advance of the November elections, Circuit Court rulings that the state’s anti-democratic voter identification bill is unconstitutional.
"JB Van Hollen has spent years, and untold tax dollars, unsuccessfully chasing phantom vote impropriety allegations to justify his support for disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of legal voters. He’s either lying about rampant “voter fraud” or he is incompetent at his job. Van Hollen announced he was going to do this at a Romney-Ryan campaign rally and now he’s using his taxpayer financed office to convince the partisan, conservative Supreme Court majority to do the political thing, not the right thing."
In 2008 as GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s state chair, in coordination with the Republican Party, he used his office to try to purge hundreds of thousands of legal voters from the rolls. And after a six-year partisan witchhunt, Van Hollen has found no instances of voter impropriety that would have been thwarted by voter identification.
Earlier this summer, it was revealed the Republican National Committee was behind anonymous legal efforts to enact the law. A complaint related to state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) and his participation in the suit, filed by One Wisconsin Now, is before the state’s Government Accountability Board.

Jul 19, 2012

Attorney General Van Hollen—Corrupt and Clueless

"Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Department of Justice will appeal the decision issued yesterday in NAACP v. Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11-CV-5492. Yesterday afternoon, the Honorable David T. Flanagan issued his decision invalidating and permanently enjoining Wisconsin’s Voter ID law."

So reads the news from Van Hollen's office. No great surprise.

Van Hollen persists in appealing a decision based on the Wisconsin constitution's expansive declaration of voters' rights by stating that a 2008 federal case in Indiana—in which no social scientific evidence was entered into the record—was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"And similar election integrity reforms have been upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court [in CRAWFORD et al. v. MARION COUNTY ELECTION BOARD et al]," reads Van Hollen's statement.

Judge Flanagan addresses Van Hollen's nonsense stating:

The people of Wisconsin may choose to assure to themselves rights under their own constitution that differ or exceed those guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, State v. Doe, 78 Wis 2d 161, 172 (1977). The question of what is permitted and what is protected by the Wisconsin Constitution is the issue before this court and that issue was not before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Crawford case.
Van Hollen knows this fact. And the phenomenon, "integrity," does not manifest itself often in Van Hollen's Department of Justice.

War on Voting

Van Hollen would have Wisconsin's rights diminished if our rights exceed those guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

That he persists in his efforts to suppress non-Republican voters is simply more evidence of his corruption, echoing Van Hollen's 2008 efforts at voter suppression in which Van Hollen's similarly ridiculous effort was tossed out of court and into the GOP history's bin, the black hole.

In the 2008 case, (J B Van Hollen vs. Government Accountability Board (GAB) et al) Van Hollen tried to create a new Wisconsin constitutional standard to vote by fiat: A perfect match of the spelling of voters' names in state bureaucracies.

Several former judges serving on the GAB Board would have failed Van Hollen's new constitutional standard in 2008, and this GOP effort drew wide ridicule.

"Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a prerequisite for a citizen's right to vote," Judge Maryann Sumi said in dismissing Van Hollen's lawsuit that tried to use the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) as a voter suppression tool.

But our corrupt attorney general will not give up his Party's project of diminishing and denying the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

Apr 21, 2012

Corrupt Atty General Van Hollen Repeats 2004 GOP Lies

Wisconsin's Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he "is very concerned about voter fraud as six recall elections near, including one targeting fellow Republican, Gov. Scott Walker." (AP)

The corrupt Van Hollen is doing the same work as his fellow GOP partisans, pushing the same lie about alleged concerns of voter fraud that were expressed by State Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale) and former State Sen. Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield).

The GOP hacks in 2004 sent letters to former U.S. Atty Stephen Biskupic (2001-08) to "investigate possible wrongdoing in the registration of certain voters in Southeastern Wisconsin" (Stone) and to express Kanavas' concern that "fraud may play a large role in the outcome of the (the-upcoming 2004) election." (Brew City Brawler)

For years before elections Van Hollen and his GOP voter-control partisans have claimed to know fraud is happening and will happen in whatever election is next.

Well then, could Van Hollen point to one case, one case, of voter impersonation in Wisconsin prosecuted, say, in the last 10 years, 20 years? Proclaimed 100-percent certainty that voter impersonation is happening, zero-percent knowledge of where, when and by whom.

Of course not, Van Hollen is repeating the lie of voter impersonation [the voter fraud that so-called voter ID would prevent] in the valid belief that AP will run his statement with no facts or evidence.

Media outlets then pick up the story and run a summary of attorney-general-worried-about-voter-fraud pieces across the state.

Some facts:

Van Hollen previously lied in 2008, claiming the same nonsense about voter fraud as he tried to use a federal law to stop Wisconsin citizens from voting in the presidential election.

Current national GOP chair Reince Priebus "had multiple conversations with Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's top aide before Van Hollen filed the lawsuit against the state election agency to compel expanded voter registration checks," perfect matches among bureaucracies (Pitsch. Wisconsin State Journal, Sep 25, 2008).

The Van Hollen-Priebus suit was subsequently tossed out of court by Dane County (Wisconsin) Judge Maryann Sumi, never to see the inside of a courtroom again.

GOP allegations of organized voter fraud has been shown to be a fiction by the Brennan Center for Justice and by a Wisconsin-federal committee looking into past GOP allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 election.

After the GOP retook the Wisconsin legislature in 2010, one of the GOP's first bills introduced in 2011 is a photo ID bill that would "mean folks without driver's licenses - disproportionately poor, minority, or elderly, would not be able to vote." (Neil Heinen. WISC TV) The GOP's photo ID bill is unconstitutional on its face, and has been so found.

A 2004-05 joint investigation by former GOP U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic and former Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann found there was no widespread fraud, though Biskupic  "indicted 14 individuals [with five convictions] for either being a felon on probation or parole who voted in November 2004 or for voting twice in that contest. All but one of those charged with felonies were African-American, and all were Milwaukee residents." (Bice. MJS, April 12, 2007) Voter ID would address none of these cases, as voter impersonation did not happen even as Karl Rove pushed Biskupic to pursue voter fraud cases, however contrived.

Biskupic is now defending the Scott Walker campaign in the John Doe corruption investigation.

Van Hollen, Biskupic, Priebus, Walker and literally every Wisconsin GOP elected official have defended the voter fraud-voter obstruction-voter ID project.

Mar 30, 2012

Federal Judge finds Scott Walker's assault on workers unconstitutional

FDR signs the Wagner Act in 1935
Update: Federal Judge Partially Strikes Down Wisconsin Act 10, the Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill - "... in a clear victory for the public-sector unions in Wisconsin, the onerous recertification and anti-dues check off provisions, which again only applied to non-public safety employees, were enjoined on both equal protection and First Amendment grounds. The court found absolutely no connection between the Walker Administration’s purported justifications for treating these two groups of public employees differently and the need for these two punitive provisions."

"The Labor Relations Act now forbids an employer to say to a laborer: 'Give up your union or give up your job,'" said the great jurist, Robert H. Jackson in 1939. "... Are our great constitutional guarantees in danger? The answer really lies with the people themselves. Civil rights are pretty generally safe except in periods of widespread emotional instability. In such times there are always those who, either because they lack balance themselves or because they see an opportunity to exploit the anxiety of others, institute scares and make drives to save the country from exaggerated dangers by suppressing free speech, or censoring free press, or punishing free opinion."

Jackson was U.S. Solicitor General at the time of this national town hall and had the idea that law and politics ought be the sphere of the American public: Open and public, or civil rights will die.

Jackson could have been speaking to Scott Walker, J.B. Van Hollen and the rest of the GOP regime who concocted the law and after law for cynical, partisan purposes, and even admitted so. See videos of State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Walker below. Repeatedly, Walker cried crisis and danger, and used fear to ram through an anti-citizen agenda, with Walker supporters harassing Wisconsin volunteers.

“Today’s ruling affirms Governor Walker and Legislative Republicans once again overreached in their attack on public workers’ rights to belong to a union. This is a tremendous victory for public workers and the rule of law. These abuses of power should have no place in our public policy decisions. The court has affirmed these were political decisions in an attempt to bust unions, not sound public policy,” said State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison).

Scott Walker has a different notion than Justice Jackson on civil rights; mocking and ridiculing them, and bragging about collusion with Attorney General Van Hollen, and using working families' livelihoods as political fodder.

"The other thing is I’ve got layoff notices ready. We put out the at-risk notices. We’ll announce Thursday, and they’ll go out early next week. And we’ll probably get 5 to 6,000 state workers will get at-risk notices for layoffs. We might ratchet that up a little bit, you know," said Walker in his infamous taped phone conversation before ramming through Act 10.

It comes as great comfort that U.S. District Judge William M. Conley rules in Wisconsin Education Association Council et al v. Scott Walker et al (Case: 3:11-cv-00428-wmc; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin) that Act 10, the so-called Budget Repair Bill, is a violation of union members' First Amendment rights.

"[U]nions engage -- indeed, one of their core functions is to engage -- in speech," writes Justice Conley.

Though the Republican Party thought that it could pick and choose which union members' First Amendment rights to violate, the Court disagreed.

"So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights," writes Judge Conley.

"Wisconsin citizens have long known Gov. Walker's attack on workers was not honest and today's court ruling shows his attack was not legal," said a statement from former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a Democrat running against Walker. (Bruce Vielmetti and Patrick Marley. MJS)

GOP leader Fitzgerald expanded on Falk's assessment on Fox News last year, saying busting unions will help the GOP defeat President Obama: "If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin," said Fitzgerald.

Nothing about saving tax-payers' money; and all about a corrupt brand of politics that has seen Scott Walker's closest aides convicted and facing multiple felonies in a criminal investigation of Walker's campaign while Walker tries to stall the investigation in hopes of surviving the recall election.

Walker's signature assault on civil rights is under countetattack by those dedicated to the rule of law, and his legal and political malfeasance is only just beginning to be revealed some 14 months into office.

From Wisconsin State AFL-CIO

“Gov. Walker’s extreme attacks on public sector workers has, in part, been reversed by the court of law today and found in violation of the U.S. constitution,” explained Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “This proves that Gov. Walker rammed through his radical and secret agenda without regard to the U.S. constitution, the rule of law, or to what is right and fair for Wisconsin families. There is still much to be done to reverse the harm that Gov. Walker has done to nurses, teachers, snow plow drivers and other public workers. The fight to fully restore public employee’s voices on the job and a strong middle class for Wisconsin continues.”

“This is a better day for public sector workers but unfortunately does not fully restore the ability of public employees to have a meaningful voice in the workplace so that they can speak out on behalf of the communities they serve,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Limiting collective bargaining, as Scott Walker has done, is unjust and un-American. The fight to reclaim Wisconsin and restore the rights of working people to collectively bargain continues.”

While this is a step in the right direction, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all working families have the right to collectively bargain. We must stand together until justice is restored to all Wisconsin workers.

In Solidarity,

---

Mar 21, 2012

Van Hollen Wants Expedited Review for Corrupt Purposes

Stop me before I obstruct again; wait, don't stop me

Attorney General Van Hollen (Republican) says the voter obstruction act will obstruct voters, if an appellate court stays the injunction against it taking effect.

Therefore, appellate courts should stay the injunction, Van Hollen argues, out of his concern the act will obstruct voters.

Why would Van Hollen put forth crazy arguments in favor of the voter obstruction act?

The answer can be found today.

[Attorney Lester] Pines noted he filed his case in October [against voter IDs] and that the Justice Department did not seek an expedited resolution of it until after [Judge] Niess ruled against it.' (Marley. MJS)

'These appeals are not about the April election. They're about the recall elections,' Pines, said referring to expected elections in May or June to recall Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans.

Mar 20, 2012

Attorney General Van Hollen Fronts for GOP

When WisPolitics ran a 2008 blockbuster uncovering an audio recording of Attorney General J.B.Van Hollen promising legal action on alleged "voter fraud" during an address at the Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Minnesota, Van Hollen was exposed as a corrupt partisan.

The recording contradicted Van Hollen's earlier claims that "there was no discussion with anybody involved in leadership with the Republican Party (or the McCain campaign for which Van Hollen served as Wisconsin co-chair) about this (2008 voting rule) lawsuit before it was brought."

In some many words, the corrupt Van Hollen is a liar, traits antithetical to the top state law enforcement official.

To no one's surprise Van Hollen's promised effort at voter obstruction was tossed out of court in an opinion that implicitly borders on ridicule.

Van Hollen - 2012

Van Hollen is again carrying water for the Republican Party in its current voter obstruction efforts. And Van Hollen has shopped his latest effort to halt the injunction against the unconstitutional 2011-12 voter obstruction law by now filing suit in the Waukesha-based District II Court of Appeals.

The Alice-in-Wonderland quality of Van Hollen's desperate arguments to obstruct voters is being repeated across the state, if not covered in local broadcast media.

Van Hollen claims he's worried about disenfranchising voters as he defends the GOP law, though the law's disenfranchising voters is the very reason the GOP law has been halted (stopped from taking effect by judicial injunctions) by two judges.

"Continued uncertainty surrounding the conduct of elections represents the potential for irreparable harm to electors and the franchise," said Van Hollen in a line used in one appellate district's case.

Earlier, in another district, Van Hollen said, "If, as we hope, the injunction is overturned before the election, those relying on the injunction may be left without an opportunity to obtain their IDs by the date of the election.”

So, Van Hollen admits the law is going to stop some legal, constitutionally qualified, and registered Wisconsin voters from voting if the injunction is halted (stayed).

And Van Hollen says the law needs to be made operative (injunction stayed) for voters' sake because Van Hollen is concerned the law will stop legal, constitutionally qualified, and registered Wisconsin voters from voting.

If this argument makes no sense to you, it's likely you live in the realm of reason—far from the world of Van Hollen, Scott Walker and the party of voter obstruction.

By the same logic, a political party can pass an unconstitutional law that takes away your rights
- Courts then rule the law an unconstitutional violation of your rights and stop it from taking effect
- The Party's attorney general then says he is going to appeal in favor of the law to appellate judges, creating uncertainty
- This uncertainty, he argues, mandates the appellate Courts to reinstate the law (staying injunctions) out of concern for the rights violated by the law


Crazy arguments aside, the apparent strategy of the Republican Party as Van Hollen makes one motion after another (and one appeal after another) is to amass as many adverse-to-the-GOP rulings as possible and hope the Supreme Court hears their case in time to stop Democratic-leaning voters from casting their votes in the 2012 November election, and as many elections as possible.

As Van Hollen's office continues its efforts, an April district court trial on the law looms.

Several attorneys have told me they cannot believe the voter obstruction law can survive the Wisconsin Supreme Court as the Court has recognized throughout Wisconsin history the voter protections of the Wisconsin Constitution against politicians' trying to stop voters from voting.

But as the four GOP partisans on the Supreme Court have committed one outrageous action after another, I am not as sure.