Because Wisconsin will hold elections on February 17 (primaries) and April 7, many people want to know whether voters will be required to show a valid photo ID at the polls. The answer to that question depends on the procedures of the Supreme Court of the United States and their timing. Here's what's happening and how it is likely to play out.
On January 7, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin (ACLU), along with Arnold & Porter and the Advancement Project, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. The State has until February 9, 2015, to file a response. The petition and opposition will then be distributed to the Court for consideration 14 days after the response. The ACLU can file a reply brief in that 14-day window, but the reply does not affect the date of distribution. The case will likely be distributed on February 23, 2015. Once the case is distributed, it is reviewed by a pool of the Justices' law clerks, one of whom drafts a pool memorandum (with brief analysis and a recommendation to grant or deny) that is distributed to the Justices’ individual chambers for further review by law clerks and the Justices. Most petitions are effectively denied at this point without further review or discussion.
Potentially “cert-worthy” petitions are scheduled for discussion and a vote at one of the Court’s Friday conferences, usually two or three weeks after the case is distributed. (Unless the briefing schedule changes, the ACLU’s case likely will be listed for the conference on March 20, 2015.) At least four of the nine Justices must vote in favor for certiorari to be granted. Decisions to grant or deny certiorari are often announced in orders issued the following Monday. (So this case could be granted or denied as soon as March 23, 2015.) However, some cases discussed at a conference are “relisted” for a subsequent conference to allow further review and/or discussion. For the past two terms, it seems that most of the petitions that are granted review are relisted at least once, possibly to ensure that there are no undetected jurisdictional problems that would require dismissal later.
Given this schedule, it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would take any action prior to the February primary elections, meaning the ID requirement will not be in effect for that election. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari, argument will probably not be scheduled until the next term, starting in October 2015, and the ID requirement will be enjoined during the entire process of making a final decision on the case. However, if the Court denies certiorari, it is possible that the denial will come before the April elections. If that were to happen, it is possible that ID will be required for the April election. So people should be encouraged to try to get an acceptable ID (drivers license and state ID cards are the most common) as soon as they can and let the ACLU know if they have problems getting one.
Here it is, in one easy-to-read chart, compliments of the Wall Street Journal:
It's pretty astonishing, when you think about it. When asked, people in the top 10% of the wealth distribution mostly think they're in the "upper middle class." Those are the folks whose wealth equals 35% of all the wealth in the country. Only those in the top 1% think of themselves as wealthy. And they do own a lot: nearly 42% of all the wealth in the country.
Notice, too, that the share of the country's wealth owned by the tippy top .01% -- that's one person in 10,000 by the way -- began to grow rapidly while the wealth of the bottom 90% started its steep decline in the 1980s, under President Reagan and his "trickle down" economic policies. Wealth, it seems, doesn't trickle down. It defies gravity and flows up!
Many people are confused about what so-called “Right to Work” laws really do. An article by Jennifer Schaubach, Minnesota AFL-CIO Legislative Director, really clarifies the issues surrounding Right to Work. Some of the highlights of her piece are listed below.
What is a "right to work" law?
“A ‘right to work’ law is a state law that stops employers and employees from negotiating an agreement – also known as a union security clause – that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share of the costs of representing them. Right to Work laws say that unions must represent every eligible employee, whether he or she pays dues or not. In other words, ‘Right to Work’ laws allow workers to pay nothing and still get all the benefits of union membership.”
Here are some of the "benefits" people who live in states with RTW laws enjoy:
- Working families in states with ‘Right to Work” laws earn lower wages.
- “Right to Work” states spend less on education.
- “Right to Work” states have higher workplace fatality rates.
Nobody benefits from “Right to Work” laws. While such a law might appear to be an advantage to employers, in truth it is not.
- Even without a “Right to Work” law, a worker cannot be forced to join a union.
- A “Right to Work” law does not protect a worker’s right to a job.
In short, “workers in states with so-called Right-to-Work (RTW) laws have a consistently lower quality of life than in other states - lower wages, higher poverty, less access to health care, poorer education for children - according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Census Bureau.”
So is a RTW law the right way to go for Wisconsin? Hell no!
Craig Gilbert at the Journal Sentinel believes that Burke lost because white, rural men voted overwhelmingly for Walker. "Walker won men by his largest margin ever (21 points). He also lost women by his largest margin ever (9 points)" [http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/282036481.html].
Higher turnout in Milwaukee would have helped some but wasn't a decisive factor. We lost so-called independents and the drop-off of younger voters did hurt.
We don't yet know a lot about how the work undertaken by North Shore for Mary Burke fared in our North Shore communities but I hope we'll have a chance to look at our numbers in some detail in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, what's your take on the way the electorate played out in this last election? The comment area is open below. Have at it.
Sometimes the polling headlines are discouraging when the poll's results really should be good news. If the latest Marquette poll leads you to believe that Burke is losing, you're mistaken. Walker and his cronies are counting on us making that mistake. They are counting on us to lose this election.
You can read all about it in the JSOnline for Monday, October 6. And you can do something about it by getting involved. All we need to do is increase our turnout rates in midterm elections, and we'll win.
So which side are you on, folks, which side are you on?
Here are some places to visit to make a difference and win this election:
Based on a poll of its membership, Grassroots North Shore endorses David Bowen in the Democratic primary for Wisconsin’s 10th Assembly District. This is one of the rare times the organization has endorsed a candidate in a primary.
According to Keith Schmitz, Steering Committee Member for Grassroots North Shore, “We feel David is the true progressive in this race and has proven himself to be an effective fighter for our values.”
“We have been well represented by Sandy Pasch and David will continue to provide leadership and service to the district.”
Bowen led and won the fight to bring the living wage to Milwaukee County government and successfully helped defeat an effort by the Wisconsin State Legislature to revoke home rule on the issue. He fully supports Wisconsin’s public schools.
Grassroots North Shore is proud to join State Rep. Sandy Pasch and US Representative Gwen Moore in endorsing David Bowen.
Grassroots North Shore will be urging its members to support Bowen's campaign.
Grassroots North Shore is one of the largest all volunteer progressive groups in the state and it exists to educate, advocate and inform for progressive change and solutions. Please visit: http://www.grassrootsnorthshore.com/.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT
Keith Schmitz / 414-963-0847 / email@example.com
Primary elections are often low-key affairs but our choices in primaries can make a huge difference to the direction our governments take in the next several years. You have a chance to vote for a Democratic candidate for the 10th Assembly District on election day, August 12, and you can vote early in person at your municipal office between now and 5pm on Friday, August 8 (no evening or weekend early voting hours, alas).
In addition to urging you to vote, and vote early if possible, Grassroots North Shore would like your views on endorsing a candidate in this race. Please consider the 4 candidates facing off in the primary. Let us know -- by midnight on July 31 -- which candidate, if any, you think we should endorse. Simply reply to this email with your preferred candidate's name.
Who is running:
All four candidates were asked to complete an issues questionnaire. Bowen, Grant and Torhorst did so. Here are the questions and their responses.
Bowen's questionnaire and responses (pdf)
Grant's questionnaire and responses (pdf)
Torhorst's questionnaire and responses (pdf)
If you live in the 10th Assembly District, you can register your choice by emailing Keith Schmitz <firstname.lastname@example.org> Please respond by midnight, Thursday, July 31.