Daily Scoop: Why judges are dismantling the GOP agenda

A year after Wisconsin exploded in protest over Republican legislation to gut collective bargaining for public employees, a Wisconsin judge has nullified the law, ruling on Friday that it violates workers’ equal rights under the Constitution.

Those dramatic union reforms and the political theater it sparked last year turned Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker into a Republican hero and helped balance the state’s budget.

With its focus on a signature Republican law, Friday’s ruling also highlights a series of state and federal rulings over the last year that have turned back major tenets of a Republican agenda fueled by the massive electoral victories the party brought home in November 2010, when it took over the House of Representatives and won nine governorships. Subsequently, a large number of state voter ID laws, immigration laws, and redistricting laws passed by Republicans since 2010 have faltered, or failed, in the courts.

Rrom Florida to Texas, the court rejections of conservative laws, shows that the Republican revolution of 2010 has underscored political “overreach” by Republican majorities that courts have little choice but to dismantle, Rice University political scientist Mark Jones told the San Antonio Express-News this week.

Prof. Jones goes on to say that that “hubris or ignorance” by Republican majorities has already had more serious backlash for the party’s legislative agenda.

In Texas, for example, a ruling by a panel of federal judges this month that a redistricting map had “discriminatory intent” against the booming Hispanic population’s voting power reconfirmed for many that Texas is not ready to be released from the strictures of the Voting Rights Act.

Republicans acknowledge that they are pushing the envelope, but disagree that what they see as a mandate from voters constitutes overreach. “We are testing the waters,” State Representative Marva Beck, a freshman legislator in Texas, told the New York Times last year.

Across the country, judges have rejected prison-privatization programs, welfare drug testing, new abortion rules, and a so-called “docs vs. Glocks” law that barred doctors from asking patients about firearm ownership.

In Florida, Senate President Mike Haridopolos told the News Service of Florida that liberals are trying to thwart the will of the electorate by using the courts.

“What have liberals historically done?” he asked. “When they can’t win elections, they go to the courts.”

Concerns about a politicized judiciary have gained traction in some quarters. Republicans cried foul, for example, over what they said was a clearly political opinion attached by Federal Judge Sam Sparks to his ruling against a new law in Texas requiring doctors to show sonogram results to women seeking an abortion.

It is ironic that many of the same people who zealously defend the state’s righteous duty to become intimately involved in a woman’s decision to get an abortion are also positively scandalized at the government’s gross overreaching in the area of health care,” Judge Sparks wrote.

It’s not clear what effect Friday’s ruling will have on the Wisconsin law. The Dane County ruling by Judge Juan Colas came in response to one of several lawsuits filed against the law. But last year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the merits of the law as it looked at an appeal from a different lawsuit.

Read more…


Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

11 Comments to “Daily Scoop: Why judges are dismantling the GOP agenda”

  1. I wish I shared your perspective about the judiciary, but I do not. Judges these days, because of the hyper partisan environment, are frequently biased and render judgements very skewed in favor of their political leanings. I think objectivity in the courts is a rarity. sadly. The WI matter will eventually be adjudicated by the S/Crt probably, and I think the law will be reinstated.

    As an example, I thought the Supreme Court would overturn the healthcare law, based on a review of their conduct and judgements over the years. However, if you look at the history of the Court, it becomes apparent that a young Chief Justice like Roberts would not want to be a part of the “Crazy Judicial gangsters” (Far Right judges), that would go down in the annals of American history, for overturning a historic achievement of such magnitude.
    No matter what Romney and his clueless pansy aver, the ACA is a historic achievement, and will forever be memorialized in America’s history, along with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Anyway, I digress. My point is that many judges, especially the Conservatives in the Supreme Court, are biased, hyper partisan and a disgrace to the legal profession.


    • mumlawyer> I’d say by and large the judiciary is objective. The perception of increasing partisan judges may well be an increase in attention given to those who are and the claims of activism made by those who disagree with decisions. It’s interesting we do hear much more about blocking activist judges from the bench by the GOP but it seems there are more instances of conservative judges taking on that role. While they do exist on both sides, I don’t think it’s as overwrought as it appears in the media. Remember, there were a number of conservative judges who did not view the ACA as unconstitutional.

      The Supreme Court does fall into this perception of activist, partisan judges because it is focused on so closely. I’d agree with you, their rulings over the last decade does speak to a partisan Court. I did not think it’d be Roberts who’d cross the lines. He did the right thing and you’re right the ACA will definitely be listed among SS and Medicare as a historic achievement.

      Having said that though, I’d say with the extremely partisan nature of the electorate and the representation in states and the federal governments that may well lead to more partisan judges being appointed in the near future if those on the political extremes are continually voted in.

  2. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Very informative and factual post Mashed Potato Bulletin….thank you.

  3. Reblogged this on GoodOleWoody's Blog and Website and commented:
    God help Democrats take back our country!

  4. Is not it a shame that the people who talked about freedoms the most are the one who are trying to deny people their freedoms.

  5. Reblogged this on okieprogressive.

  6. Reblogged this on Ye Olde Soapbox.

  7. Maybe the main reason is that the judges actually know the Constitution, unlike most Republican lawmakers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: