It Took 3 Different Court Orders for Scott Walker To Finally Hold Constitutionally Required Elections

Now all he can do is fume about it on Twitter.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to reporters at the State Capitol in Madison.Scott Bauer/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

After months of delay and Republican attempts to defy court orders, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finally agreed to schedule special elections to fill vacant two state legislative seats. The primaries will be May 15 and the general elections June 12. The Republican leaders of the state legislature also dropped plans to convene a special session to change Wisconsin law and cancel the elections.

Walker initially refused to schedule elections after two Republican members of the legislature—one from the state Senate and another from the state Assembly—joined his administration in December, claiming it would be a waste of money since the legislature was set to adjourn in the spring. A Democratic group led by former Attorney General Eric Holder sued him, and on March 22 Dane County Circuit Court Judge Josann Reynolds ruled that the governor had a “plain and positive duty” to hold the elections. Republican legislative leaders then attacked Reynolds as an “activist Dane County judge,” even though she was appointed by Walker in 2014, and announced they would re-convene to pass legislation to nullify the elections.

Walker went back to court to ask for more time to postpone holding the elections, but two different courts ruled he was constitutionally required to schedule them. “Representative government and the election of our representatives are never ‘unnecessary,’ never a ‘waste of taxpayer resources,’ and the calling of the special elections are, as the governor acknowledges, his ‘obligation,’” Court of Appeals Judge Paul Reilly, a Republican, ruled on Wednesday in a pointed rebuke to the governor. Walker then dropped his appeal and scheduled the elections for June. Holder called the court decisions “a victory for the citizens of Wisconsin who are without representation because of Governor Walker’s refusal to do his job.”

https://twitter.com/marceelias/status/979076136994004992

Walker might have conceded defeat and scheduled the elections, but he’s not done complaining. The governor spent Thursday morning sending out a string of tweets raging against Holder.

Wisconsin Democrats said Walker had refused to hold the elections because he was afraid Democrats might flip the seats. In January, Democrat Patty Schachtner won a shocking upset by 11 points in a northwest Wisconsin state Senate district that had been in GOP hands since 2000 and Donald Trump carried by 17 points in 2016.

However, in other crucial swing states Republicans are still pushing forward with attacks on courts that have constrained their power. Pennsylvania Republicans have introduced legislation to impeach Democratic state Supreme Court Justices who overturned the state’s congressional redistricting maps, while North Carolina Republicans have passed a series of bills to undermine the independence of the courts.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate