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Wrtl Judges

Wrtl Judges

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Published by hasenr
Summary judgment in WRTL judicial public financing case
Summary judgment in WRTL judicial public financing case

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: hasenr on Mar 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/06/2014

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Case:3:09-cv-00764-wmcDocument
#:
110Filed:
03/31/11
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INTHEUNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTFORTHEWESTERNDISTRICTOFWISCONSINWISCONSINRIGHTTOLIFEPOLITICALACTIONCOMMITTEE,GEORGEMITCHELL,andWISCONSINCENTERFORECONOMICPROSPERITY,Plaintiffs,OPINIONANDORDER
v.
09"cv·764·wmcMICHAELBRENNANinhisofficialcapacityasamemberoftheGovernmentAccountabilityBoard,WILLIAMEICHinhisofficialcapacityasamemberoftheGovernmentAccountabilityBoard,GERALDNICHOLinhisofficialcapacityasamemberoftheGovernmentAccountabilityBoard,THOMASCANEinhisofficialcapacityasamemberoftheGovernmentAccountabilityBoard,THOMASBARLANDinhisofficialcapacityasamemberoftheGovernmentAccountabilityBoard,GORDONMYSEinhisofficialcapacityasamemberoftheGovernmentAccountabilityBoard,DAWNMARIESASSinherofficialcapacityasWisconsinStateTreasurer,JOHN
T.
CHISHOLMinhisofficialcapacityasMilwaukeeCountyDistrictAttorneyandBRADSCHIMELinhisofficialcapacityasWaukeshaCountyDistrictAttorney,Defendants.PlaintiffschallengetheconstitutionalityofseveralprovisionsinWisconsin'sImpartialJusticeAct--enactedinDecember2009--whichgovernscampaignsforelectiontoaseatontheWisconsinSupremeCourt,thefirstofwhichisscheduledfortheApril5,2011.Generally,plaintiffscontendthattheActimpermissiblyburdenstheir
 
Case:3:09-cv-00764-wmcDocument
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FirstAmendmentrightsoffreespeechandassociationonitsface.'Specifically,plaintiffschallenge(1)thereportingrequirementsforthird-party,independentdisbursementsfor"expressadvocacy,"Wis.Stat.
§
11.513(1);(2)thepossibletriggeringofsupplementalgrantstocandidateswhoelecttoparticipateinpublicfinancingbasedonplaintiffs'disbursements,Wis.Stat.
§
11.513(2);and(3)the$1000limitoncontributionsmadebyindividualsandcommitteestoprivately-fundedcandidates,Wis.Stat.
§§
11.26(1)(am),(2)(an).PlaintiffsmaintainthateachoftheseprovisionsconstituteunconstitutionalimpingementontheirspeechduringcampaignsforaseatontheWisconsinSupremeCourt.ThepossibilityofanasymmetricalgrantofsupplementalfundstoacandidatetriggeredbyindependentexpendituresexpresslyforanopponentoragainstthecandidatemakesthisaclosequestioninlightoftheSupremeCourt'sdecisionin
Davisv.Federal
ElectionCommission,
128S.Ct.2759,2768(2008).Nevertheless,thelikelihoodofatriggeringofsupplementalfundsbyplaintiffsisremoteandanyarguable,limitedimpingementonplaintiffs'FirstAmendmentrightsoutweighedbyWisconsin'scompellinginterestintheelectionofjusticestoitshighestcourtfreefromanappearanceofbias.Here,theonlyspeechevenarguablyimpingedareindependentexpendituresexpresslyadvocatingtheelectionordefeatofadearly-identifiedcandidate,whichbothhistoricalandcurrentrecordstellusishighlyunlikelytoreachthe$360,000triggerfor
I
TheFirstAmendment'sprotectionsapplytothestatesthroughtheFourteenthAmendment'sdueprocessclause.
Ben'sBar,Inc.v.Vill.
oj
Summersei,
316F.3d702,707(7thCir.2003)(citing
Gttlowv.NewYork,
268U.S.652,666(1925)).
2
 
Case:3:09-cv-00764-wmcDocument
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thegrantofmatchingfundsundertheAct--notonlyaccountingforplaintiffs'limitedexpenditures,butevenifallotherthird-partyexpendituresofthiskindareincluded.Ultimately,therelationshipbetween
plaintiffs'
speechandtheawardofsupplementalfundingistoospeculative,indirectandwatereddowntowarranttheentryofaninjunction,particularlywithlessthanaweekremainingbeforetheelectionofaWisconsinSupremeCourtJusticeinwhichbothoftheremainingcandidateshaveelectedpublicfinancing.InlightoftheState'sundeniable,compellinginterestinavoidingagrowingperceptionthatthefinancingofelectionsofWisconsinSupremeCourtJusticesisirreparablytaintingthemwithanappearanceofbias,thiscourtwillgrantsummaryjudgmenttodefendantsanddenyanyinjunctiverelief.FACTS2
A.Parties
PlaintiffWisconsinRighttoLifePoliticalActionCommittee("WRTL")isanon-profitpoliticalactioncommitteeorganizedinWisconsin
with
itsheadquartersinMilwaukee.PlaintiffWisconsinCenterforEconomicProsperityPAC("Prosperity")isanon-profitpoliticalactioncommitteeorganizedinWisconsinwithitsheadquartersinNewBerlin.PlaintiffGeorgeMitchellisanindividuallivinginWhitefishBay,Wisconsin.
As
fordefendants,JudgesMichaelBrennan,WilliamEich,GeraldNichol,ThomasCane,ThomasBarlandandGordonMyseareallbeingsuedintheirofficialcapacitiesas
2
Thefollowingfactsaretakenfromundisputedfindingsoffactintheparties'motionpapersandthepublicrecord.
3

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