GOP succeeds in getting Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn Evers’ ‘Safe at Home’ law

In yet another sign of the insanity that is gripping the state’s conservatives and the GOP in general, the Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday struck down the state’s “Safe-at home” law, thus creating increased confusion over how residents of the state should deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

By a 6-3 vote, the court sided with the leaders of the Republican-controlled state legislature who challenged an attempt by the state’s executive branch, led by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Joining the GOP in challenging the order,which came from the state’s chief public health officer, were numerous business groups and organizations.

For more on this, check out this article from the Journal Sentinel.

If you are legally inclined, check out the the court’s complete Safe at Home decision. Thanks to Ken Knight for providing this from Ed Fallone, the Marquette University law professor who was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat on the state’s top court earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin Dems may be a role model for the rest of the United States; Karofsky win demonstrates value of digital outreach

Newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky.

 

So, how did Jill Karofsky upend incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly in the battle for Kelly’s seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court? The New York Times thinks it has the answer. In a On Politics report published today (April 14), the Times says it was smart use of digital media, and in particular, text messaging. The article suggests that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, Karofksy’s campaign was forced to switch tactics–no more door-to-door canvassing–and it worked.

Read the full item from the New York Times

Jill Karofsky upsets incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly for seat on the state’s top court

Newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Jill Karofsky spoke at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.

 

Judge Jill Karofsky’s win in a fight for a seat on the state’s top court was a bit of a pleasant surprise

The Dane County Circuit Court Judge not only defeated incumbent Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly for his seat on the state’s top court, she won by almost 10 percent, a strong showing in a race that had most pre-election day observers uncertain of its outcome.

Karofsky received 812,520 votes to Kelly’s 679,820. Together, they pulled in just over 1.5 million votes. Karofsky’s total reflects 54.5 percent of the vote; Kelly had 45.6 percent.

In 2019, the last time a spot on the top court was open, Brian Hagedorn, heavily backed by conservatives and Republicans, upset Lia Neubauer in a close race. Neubauer, who had the support of most Democrats and Progressives, had been favored. Hagedorn outpolled Neubauer by just over 6,000 votes, 606,414 to 600,433.

Officially, the contest on Tuesday was nonpartisan, but as with the Neubauer-Hagedorn battle, it was clearly a fight between the state’s two major political parties. 

President Donad Trump had publicly endorsed both Hagedorn and Kelly. Kelly had been appointed to the court in 2016 by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Complicating the Karofsky/Kelly race was a number of unexpected issues. First, the CORVID-19 pandemic kept most people from voting in person on Tuesday. And in some locations, such as Milwaukee, only five polling places were open on Tuesday which resulted in long lines of people waiting for hours to vote.

Because of the pandemic, many voters voted via absentee ballots and there were reports of people requesting but not receiving their ballots in time to vote. Finally, according to other reports, some bags of absentee ballots were found sitting in some post offices after the polls closed on Tuesday, too late to be counted. 

A key to the Karofsky win appears to be the strong voter turnout. Last year, Neubauer and Hagedorn together earned 1,207,564 votes.  This year, Karofsky and Kelly collected a total of just under 1.5 million votes, for an gain of 300,000. Neubauer, in 2019, gained 606,433 votes. Karofsky, who ran a more aggressive campaign, topped her this April by about 212,000 votes. Kelly also did slightly better than Hagedorn,  his conservative benchmate, pulling in about 73,000 more votes than Hagedorn.

View article on the Karofsky/Kelley race from the Wisconsin Examiner.

 

 

MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THIS OUT: A critical look at the Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Daniel Kelly and Jill Karofsky

If you are looking for an excellent analysis of the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court battle being waged right now by incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Governor Scott Walker, and challenger Jill Karofsky, who is a Dane County Circuit Court judge, this article from the Wisconsin Examiner, is an excellent read.

The thrust of the article is that the election will decide the direction of the court for years to come. Accordingly, if you are concerned about the fairness of our court system, you need to understand where both candidates sit on key issues.

Thanks to Ken Knight for alerting us to the article, which you can view and read here.

When you’re done with the article, please share it with everyone you know who has not yet voted, and urge them to share with their friends, neighbors, family, and acquaintances.

Karofsky and Kelley debate live on WisconsinEye Thursday noon

Judge Jill Karofsky

Just got word that the debate Thursday, March 12, 2020, between Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly and challenger Judge Jill Karofsky can be viewed live at noon on WisconsinEye.org. It is slated to start at noon. If you miss the debate as it happens, you can view it later on WisconsinEye.org.

 

Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly gains endorsement from the National Rifle Association; are dollars far behind?

Justice Kelly holds fundraiser at gun club day after the shootings at Molson Coors in Milwaukee

Judge Jill Karofsky, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Justice Daniel Kelly, was one of several candidates speaking at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, appointed to the state’s top court by former Republican Governor Scott Walker, held a fundraiser on Feb. 27, a day after five people were shot and killed at the Molson Coors Brewing facility in Milwaukee.  According to a report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, there were three levels of giving, with each level being named after automatic weapons.

Last month, the National Rifle Association, which has been a big financial supporter of GOP legislative candidates in the past, endorsed Kelly. The Democracy Campaign added, “Between January 1998 and December 2019, the NRA spent more than $5.5 million on outside electioneering activities to support GOP and conservative legislative and statewide candidates. The bulk of the NRA’s electioneering spending, more than $4.4 million, went to support Walker’s 2010 general, 2012 recall, and 2014 and 2018 reelection campaigns.”

Kelly, who is backed by many conservatives and Republicans is seeking reelection on April 7. His opponent is Judge Jill Karofsky. Karofsky, who has the backing of progressive, liberals, and Democrats spoke to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends back in January. Officially, the April 7 contest is nonpartisan.

Read the full article from the Democracy Campaign website.

Kelly and Karofsky advance to the April 7 Wisconsin Supreme Court election

Now the real battle for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court is on.

With their wins in Tuesday’s nonpartisan (wink-wink) primary election, conservative Daniel Kelly and Democrat Jill Karofsky advanced to the April 7 general election.

Kelly, strongly supported by the Republican Party, and Karofsky, a favorite of Democrats, easily outpolled Marquette Law School Professor Ed Fallone, in his second bid for a seat on the state’s top court.

As expected, Kelly led with just over 50% of the vote. Karofsky and Fallone split the Democrat or progressive vote with Karofsky gaining just under 38% of the vote and Fallone coming in with 13% percent,

Based on the results Tuesday, it would seem that the April 7 election is a toss-up, although the total turnout Tuesday was not high, given the weather and the fact that the Supreme Court race was the only one on the ticket. Traditionally, elections like the one Tuesday, do not draw well.

Both Judge Karofsky and Fallone spoke to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends at earlier meetings.

View article on the election results from the Journal Sentinel.

Judge Karofsky submits the maximum number of signatures, 4,000, on her nomination papers

Dane County judge Jilll Karofsky addresses the crowd at the Valley Victory Heritage Dinner. Karofsky is on the ballot in the spring primary election.

 

The two candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court that have received support from progressives, liberals, and the Democratic Party, Judge Jill Karofsky and Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone, will be on the ballot on Feb. 18, after their nomination papers and signatures were accepted by the Wisconsin Election Commission on Tuesday.

Joining them on the ballot is seating Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

According to the Elections Commission, Karofsky had 4,000 valid signatures, the maximum allowed; Fallone, 2,363, and Kelly, 3,809.  While there may be challenges to some of the signatures, and the Elections Commission may reject some of the signatures, all three should survive any challenges. 

Officially, the election is classified as a nonpartisan election. 

The top two vote getters advance to the general election on April 4.

More information available on Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Jill Karofsky and Ed Fallone

Marquette Law Professor Ed Fallone, seeking to win a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court in 2020, is set to speak to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting on Saturday, Feb. 1.

 

We have more information on two of three candidates seeking a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, thanks to Grass Roots North Shore, an independent Political Action Committee (PAC) registered with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. As such, it operates independently of any political party.

Links to the information are below.

Judge Jill Karofsky, who spoke to us on Saturday, Jan. 4, and Ed Fallone, who is scheduled to meet with us on Feb. 1, answered identical questions about their candidacy.

Read Judge Karofsky’s answers.

Read Professor Ed Fallone’s answers.

The two, along with incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to his spot on the bench by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, face off in a nonpartisan primary election on Feb. 18. The two top vote-getters advance to the general election on April 4. 

 

Four candidates for public office spoke at Jan. 4, Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting

Judge Jill Karofsky, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Justice Daniel Kelly, was one of several candidates speaking at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.

 

Joni Anderson

Four candidates for election spoke to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends on Saturday morning, Jan. 4. Heading up the list was Judge Jill Karofsky, a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Judge Karofsky is in a three-person nonpartisan primary fight on Feb. 18 to select the two candidates who will face off in the April 7 general election. 

For more on Judge Karofsky, check out her Facebook page and website

Another one of the candidates for the seat on the state Supreme Court now held by Dan Kelly, who was appointed–not elected–to the court by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is Ed Fallone a Marquette University Law School professor. Fallone will join us on Saturday, Feb. 1, for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Check back in the coming weeks for more on Fallone and his upcoming visit to Green Lake

Also speaking on Saturday morning was Joni Anderson, a Democrat, seeking to replace incumbent Republican State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Anderson, from Adams County has been a longtime union official and she is promoting her union leadership as one of the reasons people should vote for her. Anderson and Nate Zimdars, a Democrat from Ripon, and a current member of the Ripon School Board, will meet in a primary on Aug. 11. The winner of that election will face off against Olsen on in the Nov. 3, 2020, general elections.

Ken Bates

The third candidate speaking Saturday morning was former Green Lake School District Administrator Ken Bates, who is seeking a seat on the Green Lake County Board of Supervisors.  Bates was not at the meeting to promote his candidacy, but instead to urge attendees to consider running for several open positions on the board.

The fourth candidate was Zimdars, who was also there to alert attendees to several openings on the Ripon School Board.  

As always, meetings of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends, held on the first Saturday of the month, are open to the public. Approximately 45 people attended the meeting Saturday.

OPINION: Why do we persist on calling this election a nonpartisan contest when it is clearly partisan?

One of the many absurdities involving our electoral process is the idea that there are nonpartisan elections. 

Case in point, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the court by former Republican Governor Scott Walker as a reward for his work helping the Republican Party’s defense of its obscene redistricting after the 2010 census, is now renting space for his campaign from the Republic Party.

As reported in a recent article on wislawjournal.com, Kelly is also receiving help in his campaign from the GOP. Clearly, Kelly and the state Republican Party are not even pretending to be nonpartisan.

Kelly is facing two opponents, Marquette Law School Professor Ed Fallone and Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky in a primary election on Feb. 18.

Both Fallone and Karofsky are not being openly endorsed or supported by the state’s Democratic Party. The two, however, have been actively courting support from Democrats.

Both are scheduled to speak to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends; Karofsky at the organization’s Saturday, Jan. 4, meeting, and Fallone at the Feb. 1, Saturday, meeting.

 

Last year, Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer narrowly lost a “nonpartisan” election to Brian Hagedorn, who also openly had support from the state’s Republican party. Hagedorn too had worked for Walker. 

Neubauer, who is now seeking reelection to her District 2 appeals court post, angered a lot of Democrats last year when she turned down their active support because she felt it would have violated the nonpartisan aspect of the election. 

Neubauer played by the rules and it probably cost her the election last year. So far, Karofksy and Fallone are doing the same thing, although their opponent, Kelly is not. 

If a sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice is flaunting the rules that pertain to nonpartisan elections, doesn’t that suggest that we do away with the facade that these elections are nonpartisan; let’s make them fair and treat them as they really are: partisan, just like most elections. Let’s make the playing field equal. 

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky releases list of more than 500 endorsements

Judge Jill Karofsky

Judge Jill Karofsky, one of two Democrats seeking to unseat incumbent Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly, has released a list of more than 500 “community leaders” who have endorsed her. You can view the list here.

Karofsky will speak at the Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting on Jan. 4, at the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake.

Karofsky, Kelly, and Marquette University Law School professor Ed Fallone, will be on the primary ballot on Feb. 18. The top two vote-getters in that race will go on to the general election on April 7 . Karofsky and Fallone spoke at the Valley Victory Heritage Dinner in Neenah last month.

Fallone is set to speak to the local Dems organization at its regular meeting on Saturday, Feb. 4. View his website for more information.

Karofsky is currently a Dane County Circuit Court Judge. View her website for more information.

Kelly, was appointed to the bench in 2016 by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker after helping Walker and the GOP fight suits challenging the contentious Republican redistricting plan developed in 2011.  

 

Supreme Court’s Kelly rips opponent, Judge Karofsky, for lenient sentence in murder case; Karofsky had labeled Kelly “corrupt.’

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly

If you thought the race last year between Judges Lisa Neubauer and Brian Hagedorn was ugly, just wait. The Karofsky-Kelly battle could be worse.

On Monday, the Journal Sentinel, in an article by Dan Brice, headlined that Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky gave the lightest sentence possible to a murderer. Now it’s a campaign issue.

Well, true, but as usual, the headline, which will be the only thing many people read, doesn’t tell the whole story.

In the article, Brice points out that the sentencing, in April, was indeed lenient, but Karofsky did not let the convicted murderer, a 61-year-old Marshall man, off lightly. She sentenced him to life in prison, but with the stipulation that he could apply for release under extended supervision in 20 years–when the man would be 81. 

In her sentence, Karofsky did not say the man would be released in 20 years, only that he could apply for the extended supervision. He is not guaranteed extended supervision. In her sentencing, Karofsky said he could apply for it. She also noted that the man’s age in 20 years, was a factor in her decision. 

But Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly, a conservative running against Karofsky in an effort to retain his seat on the court this Spring, attacked Karofsky’s decision. Kelly, who had never sat as a judge prior to being appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, had his campaign manager say, “These cases suggest a troubling pattern by Judge Karofsky of letting hardened criminals off easy–a sure sign of an activist judge.” The campaign manager, Charles Nichols, was referring to another case involving Karofsky’s acceptance of a plea bargain. Note that plea bargains typically come from the prosecutor’s office. In accepting the plea, Karofsky was simply going along with the prosecutor. This is common practice.

A spokesperson for Karofsky is quoted as attacking Kelly, calling his comments  “desperate attacks,” and “mudslinging.” She added, “Dan Kelly has never prosecuted violent criminals, served as a trial judge, or worked as a victim advocate,” adding, Dan Kelley doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with judges acting like politicians, ruling in favor of his own supporters and ignoring the Constitution and the law to achieve his political goals.”  

Judicial ethics, of course, prohibit Karosky from commenting publicly on the case, in part because the defendant’s attorney in the murder trial, has indicated he plans to appeal her decision, which means Kelly’s surrogates are free to attack her and she can’t respond.

Kelly’s attack, for sure the first of many to come, was unusual in that judges typically do not comment on cases that might end up coming before them. But the judicial environment in Wisconsin and nationally, has changed recently, with the last Wisconsin State Supreme Court race between Judges Lisa Neubauer and Brian Hagedron being one the most expensive and bitter races on record.

Judging on what has happened so far, it appears should expect more of the same. 

For example, in November, in an article on the WTMJ website, Karofsky, attacked Kelly, saying in a debate,  “What voters see is that you get support from special interests. You ignore the rule of law and you find in favor of those special interests over and over and over again, and that feels like corruption to people in the state of Wisconsin.”  View that article.

As an attorney, Kelly represented the Wisconsin Republican Party, defending its highly gerrymandered 2011 redistricting plan.

Read that Brice article from the Journal Sentinel

 

Two candidates for Wisconsin State Supreme Court attending Green Lake County Dems & Friends meetings in 2020.

Judge Jill Karofsky

Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky, one of three announced candidates for a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, will be the primary speaker at the Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends. The 10 a.m., meeting, which is open to the public, is at the Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake.

Marquette University Law School professor Ed Fallone, another one of the candidates seeking a seat on the Supreme Court, has agreed to attend the Feb. 1 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends. This meeting, which starts at 10 a.m., and is open to the public, is also at the Caestecker Public Library.

Marquette University Law Professor Ed Fallone.

The third candidate is a seating member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Daniel Kelly. Kelly was appointed to the court in 2016 by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The nonpartisan general election is on April 7, 2020. The primary election is on February 18, 2020. The term of office for a seat on the court is 10 years.

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