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article imageOp-Ed: Political fight over union bill ensnares Wisconsin Supreme Court

By Bill Lindner     Apr 3, 2011 in Politics
The lobbyist-funded multi-million dollar illusory ad campaign that tried swaying support for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's union slashing bill is now flooding Wisconsin's airwaves to buy a Supreme Court seat in its upcoming election.
In addition to highlighting the intentions of the GOP's underhanded attacks on unions and attracting nationwide attention, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Republican cohort's passage of lopsided union-busting legislation has made Wisconsinites pay closer attention to an upcoming election which, due to corporate lobbyists raising large sums of money and running ads to purchase a seat on the State Supreme Court, could affect the outcome of the Court's decision on the bill's legality.
A state appeals court refused to rule on cases alleging that Wisconsin legislators broke the state's open meetings law is passing Walker's union-busting bill so the case is headed to the state Supreme Court. Some awakening Wisconsinites reportedly see the election campaign for the state Supreme Court as a referendum on Governor Scott Walker.
The GOP-Lobbyist collaboration resulting in Walker's blatant declaration of class war has awakened workers nation-wide and Wisconsinites have grown more aware of Koch Industries and all the corporations they collude with. Fortunately, everyone is becoming aware of the candidates these lying lobbyists are buying -- and writing legislation for -- at their expense. For instance, until a couple of months ago, few Wisconsinites knew who David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg, the two candidates for the state Supreme Court seat, were. Walker and company changed all that.
Last year, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, an ally of Governor Walker's, reportedly cast the key vote in favor of a "justice-for-sale" ethics rule written by two corporate lobbying groups. Because of Prosser's decision, he and his colleagues are not required to recuse themselves from cases involving one of their major campaign donors.
Koch Industry-affiliated Lobbyists Raising "Unlimited and undisclosed" Funds
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), one of the lobbying groups that wrote the rule Prosser's decision made into law, is now rewarding him by raising "unlimited and undisclosed" funds to keep Prosser, who is up for re-election, on the State Supreme Court. Prosser is facing stiff competition from JoAnne Kloppenburg, who accuses him of being Governor Walker's rubber stamp. Both Prosser and Kloppenburg are financing their own campaigns and outside groups are raising money on their behalf.
WMC's board of directors reportedly includes a high ranking executive with a Koch Industries company who has a record of spending exorbitant sums of money to ensure that Wisconsin's Supreme Court caters to powerful corporate interest groups. WMC spent $1.2 million to replace former Justice Louis Butler with an obscure conservative judge because Butler sided against wealthy interest groups in three court decisions in 2008.
The attempt by WMC to buy the Wisconsin Supreme Court was illegal until the United States Supreme Court made its corporately-sponsored January 2010 decision in the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission case, allowing corporations to purchase elections.
The full text of the email begging generous, unlimited and undisclosed donations from corporations can be found at Politico. WMC CEO and President James S. Haney wrote "The government worker unions are openly attempting to overturn the November elections, buying an activist majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and grinding our democracy to a halt because Governor Scott Walker has refused to raise taxes to balance the budget" in the misleading fundraising letter when in reality, WMC is openly attempting to buy an activist majority on Wisconsin's Supreme Court for the large corporations that already own half of it.
The fact that America's courts make life-altering decisions based on corporate cash infusions instead of the rule of law -- as evidenced by five corporately controlled U.S. Supreme Court Justices who decided that corporations are people in its Citizens United decision -- is quite disturbing, and allowing corporations to buy State and Federal elections to further subvert the rule of law and Democracy should not be tolerated.
Until Walker and company started a new revolution, Prosser was expected to easily keep his seat. Voters who didn't care enough to vote in last year's elections are expected to weigh in this time, and there is much closer scrutiny of Governor's union-busting bill in front of the Supreme Court's decision.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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