Scotty Walker is hearing from judges from all over Wisconsin who support his recall by way of signing petitions calling for his exit. However, no appeals court or Supreme Court justices signed a petition.
There’s a particular judge in Dane County, David Flanagan, who is getting slammed because he was the one who issued a temporary restraining order against a voter ID law that Scotty supported, and then didn’t reveal that he was pro-recall.
Judges from fifteen other counties signed petitions, too, which added up to twenty-nine circuit court judges in all, per Gannett Wisconsin Media.
Twelve percent of the state’s approximately 250 county-level judges signed the petition. By comparison, the 930,000 signatures submitted by recall organizers would represent 21 percent of the state’s voting-age population, if all signatures were valid. The Government Accountability Board has so far determined 26,000 were invalid, and the review is ongoing. [...]
Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and law professor at Marquette University, said she was surprised by the number of judges who signed the recall petitions.
“I believe the judges had the right to sign the petition, but it creates a problem with the appearance of impartiality if and when they may be called upon to decide any issues involving the governor or the Republican party,” Geske said in an e-mail. “We are in a highly politically charged time when many citizens have lost confidence in our governmental bodies. It is critical that judges do everything they can to demonstrate that the judiciary remains independent of the other two branches and will remain free of political influence.”
The state’s Code of Judicial Conduct makes no specific reference to recall petitions. Those judges who signed argued that the petition was “merely supporting the electorate’s right to vote, and that the recall petition supports neither a specific candidate nor a political party and is allowable.” In other words, they weren’t endorsing a candidate or a party, but the recall process itself.
Also, per the article, if signing on isn’t specifically prohibited, then it becomes a First Amendment issue.
There’s been a “barrage” of complaints (one group filing is the Republican Party of Wisconsin) seeking an investigation of Flanagan, but any decision will have to wait until the end of April, when the judicial commission is scheduled to meet.