Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Can a judge sign a recall petition in Wisconsin?

It turns out that the Wisconsin state court Judge David Flannigan, who blocked Wisconsin's new Voter ID law, signed a petition supporting the effort to recall Scott Walker. Republicans are up in arms.

Leaving aside the question of whether this political activity created a conflict of interest in the Voter ID case, was it allowable under Wisconsin's code of judicial conduct? Here's the relevant language from SCR 60.06:
(b) No judge or candidate for judicial office or judge-elect may
do any of the following: 
1. Be a member of any political party. 
2. Participate in the affairs, caucuses, promotions, platforms, endorsements, conventions, or activities of a political party or of a candidate for partisan office.  
3. Make or solicit financial or other contributions in support of a political party's causes or candidates.  
4. Publicly endorse or speak on behalf of its candidates or platforms.
I would be very surprised if Judge Flannigan's action of signing the recall petition did not violate this code.


Some more in-depth analysis here.

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