Extra, extra: the times are a-changing

I'm sending you this "extra" to bring you up to date on some of the key legal events of the week, including my own summary of the week's blockbuster. Enjoy.

On Tuesday, Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. There were a number of laudatory speakers, praising her for her judicial temperament and her kind heart. But the remarks that really stood out were those of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who has been on the court for 28 years. She noted that in her early years on the court, it was widely recognized as one of the best state supreme courts in the nation, implying that it has fallen in reputation since. But now it will rise again. She was very excited, I think, at the prospect that she will once again find herself in the majority on the court at least on some issues.

Earlier on Tuesday, two *rump allies in Michigan were charged with felonies "in connection with an effort to illegally access and tamper with voting machines in the state after the 2020 election." Because one of them was a recently defeated MAGA candidate for Attorney General in Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel cited a conflict of interest and requested a special prosecutor to investigate and potentially indict the perpetrators. DePerno, the defeated AG candidate, was of course endorsed by TFG. The two men indicted Tuesday bring the number of people the Michigan special prosecutor has named to nine. In a separate but related case, Attorney General Dana Nessel and her office have already charged the 16 fake electors with eight felonies each. So in Michigan, the count of the accused for various forms of 2020 election subversion has reached 25.

Then just moments before Protasiewicz's investiture was to take place, TRE45ON was finally indicted for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election and to maintain his own power. Everyone should read the document, not only to discover what the four felonies he's charged with are, but to see in context some of the most damning evidence special counsel Jack Smith has assembled. A lot of the information has already been aired by the January 6 select committee in the House of Representatives last year. But what is new is newsworthy. For example, it seems that Vice President Pence kept contemporaneous notes of key conversations with TFG, and Jack Smith has them as well as Pence's testimony in front the the Grand Jury.

Paragraph 7 of the indictment forthrightly states the crux of the matter: "The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the federal government function by which those results are collected, counted, and certified."

Evidence undergirding the accusation that the conspirators, especially TFG, used "knowingly false claims of election fraud" occupies a big chunk of the indictment. As does the scheme to create slates of fake electors in six states, including Wisconsin. In the account Smith has written, the fake electors scheme serves to create false conflict that the conspirators exploited in several ways. One was to pressure VP Pence to exercise his (fictitious) authority to choose between the two sets of electors — one for Joe Biden and one for *rump — as if there were real uncertainty about which sets of electors were the genuine ones. A second was to persuade the beleaguered VP just to send the matter back to the states. The state legislatures — all of them under GOP control — could then "correct" putatively faulty election results so that the *rump electors could be named the genuine ones. A third was to persuade enough members of Congress to object to counting the electoral votes in "contested states." That would  throw the election into the House of Representatives to decide the winner when neither candidate's electoral vote total could reach the 270 necessary to prevail.

Tuesday was quite a day!

What happened on Wednesday, though, has the potential to shake up Wisconsin's political landscape. Within hours of Protasiewicz claiming her seat on the Supreme Court, Law Forward along with a number of other plaintiffs filed a petition "to take jurisdiction of an original action to challenge the gerrymandered state legislative maps." The grounds are these: "the existing maps (1) retaliate against some voters based on their viewpoint and free speech, in violation of Wisconsin’s guarantee of free speech; (2) treats some voters worse than others based on their political views and where they live in violation of Wisconsin’s guarantee of equality; and (3) violate the promise of a free government found in the Wisconsin constitution." You can read about the action on the Law Forward website. You can read the press release and you can watch the press conference they held. On Friday, August 4, Law Forward will hold an online briefing at noon CDT on this new fair maps case.

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