Skip to comments.COMMENTARY: All that for nothing
Posted on 07/03/2012 6:44:18 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
What do you make of an attorney who gets 98.6 percent of everything he wants in a lawsuit and then sues again to get that last 1.4 percent?
What if I tell you that, months after filing the appeal, the attorney drops the lawsuit and sticks his client with the bill?
Wasted effort comes to mind. Wasted taxpayer dollars does as well.
That is exactly what Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen did after he made a big deal about appealing a decision, in which a panel of federal judges for the U.S. District Court for Wisconsins Eastern District in Milwaukee approved all of the states redistricting maps with the modest exception of the line dividing Assembly Districts 8 and 9.
While virtually every observer celebrated his victory, Van Hollen vowed to file an appeal. He went so far as to say he would oversee the appeal personally.
Fast forward to the middle of June, and Van Hollen announces hes dropping the appeal and settling the case. As part of that settlement, Van Hollen will pay $185,000 to cover the court costs and lawyer fees of Voces de la Fronteras, a radical left-wing, immigrants rights group with strong ties to the state Democratic Party.
Thatll teach them.
Van Hollens appeal was the latest action in a legal back and forth between Wisconsin Democrats and Republicans over the legislative redistricting maps which must be redrawn after every census. Prior to 2011s decennial event of creating new legislative boundaries, stalemates between the two parties had the redistricting duties put in the hands of federal judges after the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses.
The current lawsuit started by a group led by former state Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson, D-Beloit, and filed before the maps were even introduced clearly was an attempt to have a repeat of Wisconsins redistricting history. It also has cost taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million to $2 million to argue before federal court.
When I last talked to the attorney general, in May, he said his appeal was motivated by principle. Its the job of the Legislature not the federal bench to draw Wisconsins legislative boundaries, he said.
The principle is sound. Far too often, the courts have become a place not to redress grievances but to fight battles lost at the ballot box. In this case, Wisconsin liberals, upset theyd been left without a seat at the redistricting table after their November 2010 shellacking, were seeking a sympathetic judge who would let them have their way.
That legal strategy has been the modus operandi for everything from Act 10 to voter ID. Didnt win the vote? Go find a judge likely on in Dane County who can act as referee, go to the video booth and overturn the decision.
But lets be clear, it is also not a no-holds barred, back-alley cage match either. This is not how our political or even judicial system is supposed to work. There are rules to be upheld.
Yet, throughout the entire redistricting battle, the rules were ignored. Democrats believed they could use the court in conjunction with a recall strategy to reclaim the state Senate to draw entirely new maps that would benefit them.
So, I understand what Van Hollen was trying to get across in his legal thinking. But he also should have known when a win is a win and accepted the April ruling. Now the states out another $200,000.
Both sides should stop running for the nearest courthouse when things didnt turn out their way at either the ballot box or in the Legislature. Until the day comes, we should all be upset with those who think the taxpayer is but an ATM for the participants in a political game.
Veteran political blogger Kevin Binversie is a Wisconsin native. He served in the George W. Bush administration from 2007-2009, worked at the Heritage Foundation and has worked on numerous state Republican campaigns, most recently as research director for Ron Johnson for Senate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wisconsin: JB Van Hollen drops the ball
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
every republican in the state known that van hollen is a p o s
We forked over 185 grand to a liberal mexican organization..that makes me want to puke.
That is the same bunch that is boycotting Palermo Pizza in Milwaukee.
Shake down artists like Jessie Jackson.
Well, not exactly. Isn’t the $185k for attorneys’ fees and court costs? But, your point is well taken.
I take back my previous comment. You are exactly right! The attorneys’ fees are for the Voces de Frontera attorneys. Bah!
Why not? Look how successful it's been for Jackson. If we continue to allow ourselves to be 'shook down', we can expect the same from every ethnic special interest group that comes down the pike.