Wisconsin Court No Sure 4-3 Thing

4-3, or 3-3-1? Unofficial results in the big Wisconsin judicial election have Dem-backed JoAnne Kloppenburg beating Scott Walker’s candidate, incumbent conservative David Prosser, by 204 votes. (“We’re all a little disappointed (the vote) wasn’t four to one,” John Kamerling of Madison, a Walker opponent, told the Appleton Post-Crescent.) Recount and appeal procedures are outlined in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s story. …

P.S.: Am I crazy, or does The Nation‘s Wisconsin reporter John Nichols sound surprisingly tentative when describing the eventual outcome?

I have a feeling Ms. Kloppenburg’s numbers might well hold. … If Kloppenburg wins, as I do think is very likely now …

Does he know something we don’t? … Update: Maybe something like this. …

P.P.S.: On Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell said Kloppenburg’s vote “will be the decisive vote on whether Wisconsin’s anti union bill is legal.” Maybe. Maybe not! One of the judges often counted on a post-Kloppenburg 4-3 liberal majority is hardly a sure thing vote for either side. In fact, Justice N. Patrick Crooks sided with the conservatives more often than the liberals, although not necessarily in high-profile 4-3 cases. (Crooks is described by kf‘s key sources in the field as a bit of a Souter type–not as liberal as Souter, maybe, but independent and unpredictable after having originally been supported by conservatives.) …There is also the minor issue of whether opponents of the anti-union law have a case. Or does everyone agree that doesn’t matter anymore? … [Thanks to alert Wisconsin reader P.]

  • texasmamma

    nice: http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/119424759.html

    prosser picks up about 7,000 votes

  • MikeR613

    Whoa: AP now says Prosser is in the lead.
    I’ve all changed my mind about the need for a recount! But anyhow, I expect Kloppenberg will claim defeat now.

  • texasmamma

    ” . . . Scott Walker’s candidate, incumbent conservative David Prosser . . .”.

    “Scott Walker’s candidate”? Justice Prosser has served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for 12 years.

    Not very subtle, Mr. Kaus, your attempt at “slanting”, whether it’s knee-jerk and unconscious, or deliberate.

    • Mickey Kaus

      You think Prosser wasn’t Walker’s candidate?

      • texasmamma

        of course, Walker supported Prosser over the democrat. it’s the way you worded it.

        instead of describing Kloppenburg as “Dem-backed”, maybe you could have written “AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka’s candidate”, for instance. or “the public sector unions’ candidate”.

        anyway, if 7,000 Waukesha votes for Prosser hold up, and initial reports make them look pretty solid, i guess the Prosser/Kloppenburg election is not a “referendum on Walker”, as has been trumpeted ad nauseum by the Left. At least it won’t be the “referendum” that leftists were hoping for.

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  • whatthedickens

    So the electorate in Wisconsin, when pressed, is 50-50 on the bill. That tells us a few things: 1. The idea that Wisconsin was clearly opposed to Walker’s public union reforms was not accurate; 2. That a blue state like Wisconsin is 50-50 on public sector unions a month after all the noise in opposition to Walker’s reforms should not make pro-public union forces sanguine; 3. That those who supported Walker are not all that upset by this election, even if Prosser loses in the recount, because there is a sense that what Walker accomplished first has broken the dam…witness the tougher bill signed into law two weeks ago by Kasich in Ohio and the continual movement of state legislatures and governors across the country to rein in public sector union collective bargaining, pensions, benefits etc.; 4. I imagine Obamacare supporters would have loved to discover that in the first election post-passage of that bill, the country proved to be 50-50 on Obamacare…the country a year post-passage continues to be supportive of repealing that “historic” mess of waivers and bureaucratic rule-making; 5. It’s increasingly likely that public sector unions will never again receive the public’s support for continuing their pensions and benefits at a rate better than those in the private sector…so consider the Kloppenburg victory of 204 votes the high-water mark of public union support.

  • tim maguire

    I’ve wondered about that last part myself. In the blog world, at least, there seems to be an assumption that Kloppenburg is on board with everything her lefty supporters expect of her. Has anybody checked with her to make sure?

  • MikeR613

    Mickey, is there any way for you to show your whole posts on the main blog page? It is dumb and annoying to keep reloading the page to see the end of each post. Your posts aren’t that long; scrolling down is a lot faster than clicking through.

    As to the issue in the post, I’ve never been able to follow it. Does anyone really think that the Republican legislators won’t just re-pass the bill? We all know that union supporters aren’t voting for them anymore anyhow. From the judicial election, seems the state is divided right down the middle, and they might as well hope for the other half of voters.

    • stephenkaus

      Amen on whole post.

      On the Wisconsin Court, it seems like the opponants have a clear winning case. the bill was not posted sufficiently in advance and the public was excluded from meetings. The right wing has made it a practice to ignore the merits of cases. one need look no further than last Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court case deciding that no one had standing to challenge an Arizona tax deduction for contributions to religious schools on the ground that a tax deduction was not an expenditure of state funds. or, of course, Bush vs. Gore.

      • MikeR613

        “The right wing has made it a practice to ignore the merits of cases.” From the examples you chose, you make it a practice to ignore (one side of) the merits of cases. Just because you disagree with a thing doesn’t mean that the other side doesn’t have a point of view.

        As to the case here, http://volokh.com/2011/03/10/wis-senate-clerk-only-notice-required-for-committee-meeting-was-posting-on-bulletin-board/
        But it sounds the same as the other examples you gave: Technical and completely non-obvious to a layman – and partisans will make up their minds based on what they want to happen.

      • Dan Simon

        Stephen, I hope you’re being deliberately, rather than sincerely, obtuse. Nobody cares about the outcome, let alone the merits, of the case currently before the courts, since even if the challenge is upheld, the law can easily be passed again by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law. (And given the distribution of votes, even a narrow Kloppenburg victory would have reassured Republican legislators of continued support should they do so.)

        The only reason this judicial election has become so important is that it’s assumed–by both sides–that a liberal-dominated Supreme Court will look favorably on trumped-up *Constitutional* challenges to the law. In that light, of course, your harping on “the merits of cases” and invocation of Bush v. Gore takes on a certain surrealistic cast…