nothing but good legal news!

Before I dive into the bombshell news of the day, there's a must-not-miss event on Monday, February 12, at 7:00pm. The North Shore Fair Maps group is hosting a webinar with some distinguished national gurus on what the data tell us about messaging for this election."Words and Data Matter" will be presented by Anat Shenker-Osorio, perhaps the best message-master in the United States; and Michael Podhorzer, who understands data better than anybody!  Sign up for the monthly NSFM meeting

As I am writing this newsletter (at about 2:15pm CT), the news arrived that the D.C. Court of Appeals had finally handed down a decision in the complete immunity case TFG filed. The news everywhere (except Fox, maybe) will be chewing on the ruling all day, no doubt. And I'm not a lawyer. But I have read the whole thing. And the bottom line is that TFG loses every argument in a unanimous decision. The New York Times has a clear account of it (gifted to bypass the paywall). The paper of record also provides access to the ruling itself with annotations by Charlie Savage. (The full, unannotated opinion is also available.) Both the article and the annotated opinion call attention to a key paragraph early in the decision:

Former President Trump moved to dismiss the Indictment and the district court denied his motion. Today, we affirm the denial. For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.

The ruling takes a methodical tour through the key elements of the indictment: "(1) conspiracy to defraud the United States by overturning the election results; (2 ) conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding i.e., the Congress's certification of the electoral vote; (3) obstruction of and attempt to obstruct, the certification of the electoral vote; and (4) conspiracy against the rights of one or more persons to vote and to have their votes counted." This opening section concludes "At this stage of the prosecution, we assume that the allegations set forth inthe Indictment are true." Although it may seem strange that an appeals court would make such an assertion, the assumption is standard practice in this kind of appeal.

The rest of the document meticulously addresses each of the former president's four claims of immunity: "(1) presidential immunity; (2) constitutional provisions, including the Impeachment Judgment Clause and principles stemming from the Double JeopardyClause; (3) statutory grounds; and (4) allegations of selective and vindictive prosecution." Before the court rules on each of the claims, though, it devotes nearly 10 pages responding to an amicus brief from American Oversights that had argued the appeal based on a claim of immunity was procedurally premature. At the end of the longish legal argument, the court disagrees and takes up the four motions claiming immunity on different grounds. I leave it to the experts and punditocracy to tease out the meanings of each part of the argument.

One final note. The account in the Washington Post includes this important nugget: "The court set tight deadlines for that review, saying it would put the ruling on hold until Feb. 12 for Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court but would not wait for the full D.C. Circuit to weigh in."

Local Legal News

It's pretty exciting here in Wisconsin too. As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, the MAGA-controlled legislature got its panties in a twist about the remedial maps that were submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court (SCOWIS). So in an attempt to beat what they considered an adverse ruling on electoral maps from SCOWIS, they passed a bill that purported to include essentially the map Governor Evers had submitted to SCOWIS. But it was not the same map. Why? Because they "tweaked" the legislative boundary lines to protect GOP incumbents. The Governor promptly vetoed the bill.

Meanwhile the two expert consultants SCOWIS hired to evaluate the remedial maps were hard at work. In their report, submitted on February 1, they argued that two of the remedial map proposals did not meet the court's requirement that the maps be neutral with respect to political parties. The two sets of maps they disallowed were produced by the Republicans in the legislature and by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (also called the Johnson maps). That leaves four sets of maps still in the running: Clarke petitioners (Law Forward), Governor Evers, Democratic Senators, and the Wright Intervenors. In their conclusions, the consultants write, "From a social science perspective, the Legislature's plan does not deserve further consideration. Of the remaining plans, the Johnson plan appears to have a substantial number of fails on the 'bounded by' constitutional criteria. We also note that both the Legislature's plan and the Johnson plan, from a social science perspective, are partisan gerrymanders. The four other submitted plans are similar on most criteria. From a social science point of view these for [sic] plans are nearly indistinguishable." See the full report. All the parties and accepted amici have until February 8 to respond to the consultants' report. After that, SCOWIS will choose a map.

Then, on February 2, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin has accepted a lawsuit Governor Evers filed "against Republican lawmakers who blocked pay raises for university employees and funding for conservation projects" (Wisconsin Public Radio). The article goes on to say, "The court’s liberal majority agreed to immediately take up Evers’ claim that the committee blockades amounted to 'legislative vetoes' [that] violate the the separation of powers in the Wisconsin Constitution by allowing the legislative branch to alter 'the scope of the executive branch’s discretion.'"

Local Election News

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online apparently does not consider the DC Circuit Court's opinion worthy of front page coverage, but you can find it if you hunt under the news section and then choose the sub-link "Elections." It does have coverage of the Shorewood School Board election where three candidates are running for a single seat. That means there will be a primary in Shorewood on February 20. The MJS article includes a candidate questionnaire to help sort out your choice. The Grassroots North Shore website also has some information about school board contests in the North Shore suburbs and for school board elections in Ozaukee County.

Grassroots North Shore tries to provide comprehensive election news in every cycle. For the election on April 2, we have a guide to early in-person voting, beginning March 19 and ending March 29 in most of our communities. We also have a page devoted to the two constitutional amendments, called Issue Question 1 and Issue Question 2, that will be on every voter's ballot. We are strongly urging a NO vote on both. They sound innocuous enough, but they are a not-so-subtle end run around the governor's veto. The Issue Questions were first presented as bills the legislature passed along party lines. When the governor vetoed them, the legislature turned them into proposed amendments to the Wisconsin Constitution.

The lawsuit Governor Evers recently filed against several legislative committee chairs also accused the legislature of exercising an unconstitutional nullification of his veto power. You may recall that when Governor Evers was first elected in 2018, the legislature passed and then Governor Walker signed bills restricting the governor's powers. For the MAGAites, taking power away from others and grabbing it for themselves is just the ordinary business of the day.

And if you have the financial ability to contribute to candidates, make sure you check our page of information about campaign contribution limits. You'll find the index to most of our election coverage and useful information about deadlines for registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot, and more at Elections 2024 on our website.

Lastly, we urge you to request absentee ballots for every election this year. There are many reasons to request an absentee ballot: you can take your time and be thoughtful about your votes, you can do your homework as you choose which candidate you favor; you have an insurance policy in case you get sick — COVID is still dogging us, RSV and the flu are around too, and there's some awful cold virus that seems to last forever — or have an accident or are suddenly called out of town. Even if you request an absentee ballot, you can still vote early in person or vote on election day: just make sure you don't turn in your absentee ballot also! If you do want to vote by absentee ballot, you must either return your ballot by mail or take it in person to your municipal clerk. You CANNOT ask someone else to return your ballot for you.

The spring elections this year are pretty low key. But it's important that you vote, even if every office on your ballot is uncontested. Your vote to turn down the constitutional amendments (Issue Questions 1 and 2) is vital. So too is your vote in the presidential primary. In Democrats' primary, both President Joe Biden and Representative Dean Phillips will be on your ballot. (On the Republican side, Trump, Haley, and a bunch of folks we've already forgotten about will appear.) Because we do not register an affiliation with a political party in this state, you can vote in any party's primary. BUT ONLY IN ONE. I'll have more on the presidential primary closer to the April 2 election.

Meanwhile, Make Yourself Useful

You Can Help Save Our Democracy By Registering Voters in Milwaukee: Everyone! Join The Milwaukee Voter Project registering voters inside three Milwaukee DMV's, 2701 South Chase, Teutonia & Florist and 73rd & Mill. During the months leading up to the Supreme Court Election we produced 3168 paper registrations, thousands of online registrations and made 50,000 voter contacts. We work year around and will give you the simple training and supervision you need. Contact us at our email: [email protected] or phone (414) 218-5944. Much more about on our website.

Voter Protection Team: Join one of our upcoming VoPro 101 trainings! Interested in learning more about Wisconsin election law and how you can help people exercise their right to vote? Attend one of our upcoming Voter Protection 101 Trainings! We will resumed offering these biweekly trainings and we would love for you to join us. We cover election law basics, voter registration, and available resources, and talk about how you can get involved protecting democracy in your community. Sign up for a VoPro 101 session.

Phonebank with us! We will have two phonebank time slots a week, on Monday nights from 5-7pm CT and Thursday afternoons from 12-2pm CT. We will offer training at the beginning of each phonebank and there is no experience required; all you need is yourself and your computer! Sign up for a phonebank that works best for you here and invite anyone you know who might be interested.


Wednesday, February 7

DNC Delegate Training, 1:00pm CT

This Wednesday is the next DNC delegate training session. Join us at 1:00 PM CT to learn the ins and outs of being a delegate to the DNC. Anyone can join this training, and right now we're counting on you to join us. If we don’t have enough folks from Wisconsin ready to be delegates, then we won’t have enough Wisconsinites sharing their voices when it matters most. RSVP.

Progressive Turnout Project, 6:30pm CT

Please sign up for one of two virtual calls to learn about our postcard program, POSTCARDS to SWING STATES, in 2024, which will help elect Democrats up and down the ballot across the nation. We'll explain how we know that writing postcards is the most effective way to help re-elect President Biden and other Democrats from home. We'll discuss the details of our 2024 program. And we'll answer your questions! Also, please invite at least one friend of family member who might be interested in writing postcards. Sign up.

Thursday, February 8

Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon, 11:45am - 1:30pm
Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St., Milwaukee

Craig Gilbert, former Washington bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and current Lubar Fellow at Marquette University Law School, will be the guest speaker. Gilbert, who has covered every presidential campaign since 1988, also has written extensively about competition for the swing states of the industrial Midwest, the region’s shifting political map, its increasingly polarized political culture and the deepening urban-rural divide. His work has been recognized by Editor & Publisher, the National Press Foundation, the National Headliner Awards, the Milwaukee Press Club, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He has continued to provide that analysis in his work at the Lubar Center since retiring from the Journal Sentinel in 2022. The cost to attend is $25 for MPC members, $30 for non-members and $20 for students. Lunch is included. Seating is limited. Advanced registration and payment are required and may be done online.

Saturday, February 10

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Port Washington and Silver Spring, Glendale

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Laughing Liberally Milwaukee, Comedy Sportz, 420 S 1st St, Milwaukee
With right wing attacks on LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, voting rights and more, we need progressive laughs now more than ever. That’s why we’re excited to present Laughing Liberally Milwaukee, a monthly progressive political comedy show featuring Milwaukee’s top liberal and progressive comedians. Comedians on the February 10th bill include Kristin Lytie, Maros Lara, Sasha Rosser, Josh Fred and sketch comedy troupe The Accountants Of Homeland Security. In addition to some of the finest progressive comedians Milwaukee has to offer, each Laughing Liberally Milwaukee features a special interview with a local activist, journalist, or political figure. This month’s guest is Tomika Vukovic from Wisconsin Voices. Laughing Liberally Milwaukee is hosted by comedian, cartoonist and satirist Matthew Filipowicz. Buy tickets ($8).

Monday, February 12

Senator Chris Larson Feb-BREW-ary Fundraiser, 5:00 - 6:30pm
1840 Brewing Company, 342 E. Ward St, Milwaukee

With new maps just around the corner, we're doing all we can to be ready for whatever comes. To that end, I'm holding a fundraiser in one week at 1840 Brewing. We'll have live music by Brett Gaertner, appetizers, and I'm buying the first beer for anyone donating $35 or more. Mark your calendar and, if you're up for it, please join our growing host list. I hope to see you there as we build momentum going into campaign season in our crucial swing state. Host $1,000 | Sponsor $500 | Friend $250 | Chris Buys the First Drink $35 | Supporter $25. Please RSVP.

Progressive Turnout Project, 6:30pm CT

Please sign up for one of two virtual calls to learn about our postcard program, POSTCARDS to SWING STATES, in 2024, which will help elect Democrats up and down the ballot across the nation. We'll explain how we know that writing postcards is the most effective way to help re-elect President Biden and other Democrats from home. We'll discuss the details of our 2024 program. And we'll answer your questions! Also, please invite at least one friend of family member who might be interested in writing postcards. Sign up.

North Shore Fair Maps Meeting: Words and Data Matter, 7:00 - 8:30pm

With American democracy on the line, how do we talk to people about what matters? How do we analyze those dang polls? Learn from the masters: Anat Shenker-Osorio, perhaps the best message-master in the United States; and Michael Podhorzer, who understands data better than anybody. Sign up for the monthly NSFM meeting. Speaking of messages, Season 3 of Anat’s podcast "Words to Win By” is now live! Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, February 13

Fundraiser for Caroline Gómez-Tom, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Tres Hermanos Restaurant, 1332 W Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee

Caroline needs your help so she can win her re-election to represent District 14 on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. If we elect her, she will to continue to show Milwaukee County's South Side some love. Join Caroline as she tells you what she cares about most serving District 14 on the Milwaukee County Board. RSVP.

Thursday, February 15

Leading for Milwaukee, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Hawthorne Coffee Roasters, 4177 S Howell Ave, Milwaukee

This is a great opportunity to meet folks running for Milwaukee County Board and the Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and to support Jack Eckblad's Campaign for Milwaukee County Board! RSVP.

Friday, February 16

The League of Progressive Seniors with Mayor Cavalier Johnson, 9:30am
The Knickerbocker, 1028 E Juneau Ave, Milwaukee

What's the plan for a safe and prosperous Milwaukee in 2024? Mayor Cavalier "Chevy" Johnson will present an overview of Milwaukee's key issues. Please let us know if you are coming so that we have enough chairs and refreshments. Contact Tom Callan.

Be a Voice, 5:00 - 9:00pm
Milwaukee's Original Oktoberfest by The Bavarian Bierhaus
700 West Lexington Boulevard Glendale

Join us for our 2nd Annual Wisconsin Voices Gala. This year the theme is Be A Voice! Donation amounts range for $75 for a single seat up to $20,000 for PLATINUM Exclusive Presenting Sponsor, with a host of benefits for the sponsor. You can donate and buy tickets online.

Saturday, February 17

Get Out the Vote - Spring Primary, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Help connect with Ozaukee County voters ahead of the February 20 Spring Primary Election. You can contact us at Oz Dems Events.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Sherman Blvd and North Ave, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Sunday, February 18

Glendale Team Get Out the Vote, shifts begin at 12:00 and 3:00pm
6563 N Crestwood Dr, Glendale

Join Grassroots Glendale as we get out the vote for the February primary! We'll be reaching out to our networks to make vote plans. This is a great opportunity to encourage regular voting and help out our likeminded local candidates! Sign up.

DPMC Special Meeting, 6:00pm

The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County is holding this meeting so that there will be enough time to discuss relevant resolutions. We hope Zoom is more accessible and accountable, and we hope that a special meeting will give this important discussion the time it needs. We hope to pass one or more resolutions. To introduce a resolution: Please submit to [email protected] by Feb. 11, 6pm CST. You must be a dues-paying member to submit a resolution. All resolutions submitted by the deadline by dues-paying members will be voted upon. There will be no amendments or adjustments to resolutions on the floor. <span="font-weight: bold; text-decoration: underline;">To vote: You must be a dues-paying party member to vote. No registration required. We will vote on resolutions in the order in which they are submitted. All resolutions will be posted in the Feb. 12 newsletter. We will hold a majority, up-down vote on all qualified resolutions. The RSVP link will be distributed next week.

Monday, February 19

MKE County Dems Monthly Meeting, 6:00pm
Potawatomi Hotel, 1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee

he Democratic Party of Milwaukee County holds its monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month. Join with fellow Democrats to hear from important speakers, to learn about upcoming Dem events, and to discuss important issues with each other.

Tuesday, February 20

Spring Primary Election Day, 7:00am - 8:pm
Your polling location

Be sure you know whether there is a primary this year for your community. You can find out by visiting You will find some information about the candidates on the Grassroots North Shore Elections 2024.


Wednesday, February 21

SCOTUS Coordinating Call, 11:30am CT

United for Democracy is a national organization dedicated to reforming and reining in the US Supreme Court: "Radical justices are breaking with judicial norms and ignoring decades of legal precedent to impose their own right-wing agenda on our country and take away our freedoms. Congress has the power to fix this. They need to take action." These calls are an excellent way to find out what SCOTUS is doing. Sign up for this monthly series.

Oz Dems General Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
Dems Grafton Office, 1930 Wisconsin Ave, Grafton

Join us at our Grafton office every third Wednesday of the month at 7:00. Meet like-minded people who are your neighbors and committed to electing Democrats here in Ozaukee County.

Saturday, February 24

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Sherman Blvd and North Ave, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Friday, March 8

International Women's Day, 12:30 - 3:30
Marcus Performing Arts Center

Presented by the Women's Leadership Collaboration. Registration and networking at 12:30; Keynote speaker Emilie Aries at 1:00; Inspire Inclusion activity at 2:00. Registration will begin the week of February February 5. Watch for information for signing up.

Sunday, March 10

Shorewood School Board and Village Board Forums, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Shorewood Village Center, 3920 N Murray Ave, Shorewood

League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County will be facilitating a non-partisan forum for the candidates running in the April Election for the Shorewood School Board and Shorewood Village Board.

Sunday, March 24

Milwaukee County Dems Annual Gala, times TBA
631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee
</br />The year's theme: "Democracy — Our Sacred Cause." More information to follow.


A look ahead to plan canvassing to Get Out The Vote for the April 2 election.

Fox Point, Glendale, Whitefish Bay and Shorewood Teams, as well as the Dems in Ozaukee County, will be hosting canvasses, texting, and Friendbanking: Mark these events on your calendar and be ready to sign up for one or more shifts!
  • GOT(E)V #1: March 16th/17th
  • GOT(E)V #2: March 23rd/24th
  • GOTV: March 28th, 30th, April 1st, and April 2nd

other important links

Become a Member of Grassroots North Shore

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

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Ozaukee County Democratic Party

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