John W. Eyster: Significant election one week from today


I share the high interest watching the outcome of the NH US Presidential Primary Election today.  We know the outcome will have a very significant role in the winnowing & sifting (special WI phrase ala UW system) of the candidates active in the 2016 US Presidential campaign.

At the same time, I have high interest in the VERY SIGNIFICANT ELECTION here in WI 1-week from today – Tuesday, February 16!  What worries me is that the headline on Frank Schultz's Gazette article, "There's a primary Feb. 16, yet most voters won't bother." I urge you to read Frank's informative article which is enriched by an interview with veteran political observer Jeff Mayers, president of  Don't miss the reminder that YOU must have PHOTO ID to vote starting next Tuesday, February 16 and the other elections this year.

Bottom-line:  This primary election is extra SIGNIFICANT because it will select the two (2) candidates for the General Election ballot coming on Tuesday, April 5.  There are three (3) candidates on the ballot.  Keep in mind that the term for a WI Supreme Court Justice is 10 years.

While the Spring Election is officially identified as non-partisan, I agree with Mayers that there are STRONG PARTISAN OVERTONES on the election of the justice for our WI Supreme Court.  I am in agreement with those who assert that elected judges are really POLITICIANS in BLACK ROBES.  If you follow our WI Supreme Court, you know that the reality is a conservative/Republican majority (4) and a progressive/Democrat minority (3) on our 7-member WI Supreme Court.  I realize my labelling doesn't really deal with the subtleties of the judicial philosophies of the justices.  It does, however, provide an accurate BIG PICTURE delineation of the members of our WI Supreme Court today, in my opinion.

The death of Justice N. Patrick Crooks in his office at the Capitol on September 21, 2015, created a vacancy on our WI Supreme Court.  Justice Crooks was a notable MODERATE on a very divided court.  He provided a swing vote to both blocs since the court was divided 3 – 3 with Crooks making the deciding vote on numerous cases.

With a vacancy on the Court, Governor Walker had opportunity to appoint a Justice to serve until our April 2016 election.  He asserted he did not want to leave a vacancy.  Various judicial experts urged the Governor NOT to appoint any of the announced candidates, but to select from among persons who had expressed interest for the interim appointment.

Following his TOTAL PARTISAN IDEOLOGY, Walker appointed Rebecca Bradley to the interim seat on our WI Supreme Court.  She was a tried and true Republican conservative.  Walker started her judicial career by appointing her to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in December 2012.  In May 2015, Walker appointed her to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.  And then, only 4 months later, with the death of Justice Crooks, Walker appointed her to the WI Supreme Court.  I accuse Governor Walker of manipulating our WI judicial system.  What do YOU think?

I am NOT willing to let Governor Walker choose the candidate for our WI Supreme Court 2016 election.  The manipulation to appoint Bradley means that she is campaigning as an incumbent.  That was his goal to provide HIS candidate with a leg up.  And, the conservative Wisconsin Alliance for Reform is running $1million of TV ads for her.

I see the other candidates as BEST to serve WE THE PEOPLE of WI on our WI Supreme Court.  I ask YOU to consider their credentials as you prepare to vote next Tuesday in the PRIMARY.  REMEMBER:  It is very a very significant election because 2 of the 3 candidates will be on the General Election ballot on April 5.  I hope WE THE PEOPLE of WI will choose between Milwaukee County Judge Joe Donaldand Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.  You will gain helpful information about the candidates by reading Patrick Marley's article, “Appointed Justice Rebecca Bradley to face Joe Donald, JoAnne Kloppenburg” published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on January 5, 2016.

I believe Judge Joe Donald and Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg will provide WE THE PEOPLE of WI as healthy moderate justices on our WI Supreme Court in contrast to the clearly REPUBLICAN IDEOLOGIAL “INCUMBENT” appointee of Governor Walker.  Prepare to vote and be sure YOU have PHOTO ID to VOTE!

I realize, as Mayer's points out, those of us who are ROCK COUNTY electors, the temptation is very strong NOT to bother to vote next Tuesday since this WI SUPREME COURT PRIMARY is the ONLY ballot item!  Just remember:  We choose the 2 CANDIDATES for the April 5 General Election.  I hope WE THE PEOPLE of WI will send the message to Governor Walker, “We do NOT want YOU controlling our judicial system!”  What do YOU think?

As part of your preparation to vote next Tuesday, I suggest you read the outstanding analysis of our WI Supreme Court “NON-partisan” 2016 election by Thomas M. Holbrook published by HUFFPOST POLITICS after the 2011 election after the campaign between David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg, “The (Not Very) Non-Partisan WI Supreme Court Race.”

This is the first VERY SIGNIFICANT ELECTION for WE THE PEOPLE of WI in this VERY IMPORTANT year of ELECTIONS:  2016!  Be sure YOU vote next Tuesday, February 16.  Polls are open from 7 am to 8 am.  IF you wish to vote ABSENTEE, YOU can do so IN PERSON today and any day through next Friday, February 12.  The 12th if Abraham Lincoln's Birthday!  You do not need any reason to vote absentee.  Be sure YOU have PHOTO ID to vote.  If YOU don't VOTE, YOU don't count!