March 8, 2012 by WCMC
The Honorable David T. Flanagan, a Tommy Thompson appointee to his first term as a Dane County Circuit Court Judge, is a fine jurist. He is now under assault from the right wing extremists for having the gall to issue a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the Republican’s voter suppression act, also known as the Voter I.D. Law.
The extremists are not critical of his procedure, they have not assailed his legal reasoning, they do not question his legal acumen. They simply cannot believe that a Judge might have a private opinion about this Governor or that a Judge might happen to support the recall of this Governor. For this they deem it appropriate to file, in my opinion, a frivolous complaint with the Judicial Commission in an effort to intimidate this Judge and sully his name.
Yet once more the right wing extremists demonstrate that their hypocrisy knows no bounds. If Judge Flanagan’s signature on a recall petition disqualifies him then I submit that any Judge who failed to sign the petition must also be deemed to hold an insurmountable bias in favor of this Governor and thus must offer to recuse him or her self from any matter involving the odious policies and legislative acts of the Republican legislature and this Governor.
If this is now indeed the standard, then I demand that Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mac Davis publicly declare that he did not sign the petition and as such should have offered to recuse himself from presiding over the GAB recall procedure case. You might recall that his decision in favor of the Governor in that case required the GAB to expend an enormous sum of taxpayer dollars and further delay the certification by placing a greater onus on the GAB in reviewing the petitions. You may also recall that his ruling was vacated by the Court of Appeals due to the fact Judge Davis had refused to allow Recall Committees to intervene in the case.
I also demand that the four “conservative” State Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of the Republican Legislature publicly declare that they did not sign the Recall Petition. Clearly, under the reasoning employed by the right wing extremists in attacking Judge Flanagan, Justices Ziegler, Gableman, Prosser and Roggensack must now offer to recuse themselves from any matter before them involving the Voter I.D. Law as well as any case that would require a ruling affirming the legislation or acts of this current legislature and executive acts of this Governor.
As we now know, Justice Gableman presided over a number of cases where the attorney representing one of the parties had rendered tens of thousands of dollars in “free” legal services to him, and that he did not disclose that fact to the litigants. The none too subtle irony here is that the “free” legal services were rendered to defend Gableman against ethics charges. The most prominent of these cases was the open meetings law challenge regarding passage of the collective bargaining law. Gableman ruled in favor of that attorney’s client (read Republicans) in that case, and thus the repeal of collective bargaining rights for public employees became law. Without Gableman’s vote, Judge Sumi’s ruling voiding the law due to a blatant violation of the Open Meetings Law stands.
I have yet to hear the hue and cry from the right regarding the failure of Justice Gableman to disclose the immense value of the services provided to him from advocacy counsel for the Republicans seeking to overturn Judge Sumi’s ruling prior to arguments in that case. I am confident I never will.
Would any of these right wing extremists dare to argue that the benefit of tens of thousands of dollars in “free” legal services from an attorney arguing a case before the Justice who received that benefit is less worthy of disclosure than the act of signing or not signing a petition to recall this Governor?
The filing of this complaint against Judge Flanagan smacks of intellectual dishonesty, intimidation and desperation. The purity test insisted upon by this action is specious as it is a test that no Judge can possibly pass. After all, each and every Judge in this State either did or did not sign that petition.