Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Schools roundup

  • Social justice education: on the march and coming to a school system near you [Frederick M. Hess and Grant Addison, National Review]
  • New wave of institutional reform litigation aims to replace democratic oversight of public schools with governance by courts, lawyers, and NGOs [Dana Goldstein, New York Times]
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, trying to force a student to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, ignores 75 years of Supreme Court precedent [Scott Shackford] “My Daughter’s Middle School Plans to Teach Her Meek Compliance With Indiscriminate Invasions of Privacy” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “The Regressive Effects of Child-Care Regulations: More strenuous requirements raise child-care prices but have little apparent effect on quality” [Ryan Bourne, Regulation and Governing]
  • “Denver Schools Stopped ‘Lunch-Shaming’ Kids Whose Parents Didn’t Pay. The Results Were Predictable.” [Hess and Addison]
  • Wisconsin public union reform: “A school district’s implementation of Act 10 is associated with an increase in math proficiency on average. The positive impact … is consistent across small town, rural, and suburban school districts.” [Will Flanders and Collin Roth, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty]
  • “Look to the Dutch for true educational pluralism” [Charles Glenn, Acton Institute]

Court sidelines gerrymander cases

By February, clues were in plain sight that the Supreme Court was not inclined to hand down a “big” landmark decision this term on gerrymandering. That was confirmed yesterday when the Court got both cases off its plate without reaching the merits, instead disposing of them for now on issues of standing (Gill v. Whitford, Wisconsin) and timing (Benisek v. Lamone, Maryland). Strikingly, both decisions were unanimous as to result, a clue as to the carefully limited scope of what was decided, and both cases can continue in the courts below with their legal theories mostly intact. “The Court has kicked the issue of partisan gerrymandering down the road. States shouldn’t,” I write in a new Cato commentary on the decisions.

Wisconsin’s butter-grading scheme

Wisconsin, where dairy producers hold great political sway, maintains a uniquely onerous scheme of butter grading that “has nothing to do with public health or nutrition” but does serve to restrict the sale of butter made in other states, including high-end artisanal butter. Representing Ohio’s Minerva Dairy, the Pacific Legal Foundation has sued to overturn the regulation on Commerce Clause, Due Process, and Equal Protection theories, and Cato has now filed a pun-strewn amicus supporting the due process and equal protection claims [Ilya Shapiro and Matt Larosiere]

“Congress whiffs on curbing civil forfeiture”

“When Congress passed that big spending plan, an anticipated reform to civil forfeiture had been curiously abandoned. Darpana Sheth of the Institute for Justice comments” in this Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb Brown.

On the other hand, there’s this from the state level: “Wisconsin joins Minnesota in signing law saying authorities now have to convict you of a crime before they can take your cash” [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post/Grand Forks Herald]

Where the Justices, and states, might be headed on partisan gerrymandering

Ballotpedia asked me to contribute to a mini-symposium on how the Supreme Court may deal with the partisan gerrymandering cases cases of Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland), and you can read the results here (see also my Cato write-up).

Separately, I’m scheduled to testify in Annapolis on state-level proposals for redistricting reform on Feb. 26 (House of Delegates) and March 1 (Senate). Come up and say hello afterward if you’re there.

Liability roundup

Now unsealed: official report on Wisconsin John Doe probes

After the state’s high court ordered files of the politically charged Wisconsin John Doe II investigation destroyed, something else happened instead: “The Guardian published a leaked trove of documents from the John Doe II proceedings, including court filings, draft filings, and selected evidence prepared and kept by only some members of the prosecution team.” A just-unsealed report from the Wisconsin Department of Justice suggests a range of possible illegalities and rights violations, as well as political motivations, in the conduct of the investigators [“Warren Henry,” The Federalist]:

[Th]hree hard drives in particular contained nearly 500,000 unique emails (from Yahoo and Gmail accounts, for example) and other documents (email attachments, for example) totaling millions of pages. The hard drives included transcripts of Google Chat logs between several individuals, most of which were purely personal (and sometimes very private) conversations. GAB [a state agency involved in the investigations] placed a large portion of these emails into several folders entitled, ‘Opposition Research’ or ‘Senate Opposition Research.’

For example,

investigators obtained, categorized, and maintained over 150 personal emails between [state] Senator Leah Vukmir and her daughter, including emails containing private medical information and other highly personal information. [WIDoJ] was unable to determine why investigators ever obtained, let alone saved and labeled, over 150 very private and very personal emails between a Senator and her child, or why investigators placed those emails in a folder named ‘Opposition Research.’

Earlier here.

Campus free speech roundup

September 6 roundup

Supreme Court will look at partisan gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a much-watched Wisconsin case, Gill v. Whitford, inviting it to reconsider its position that the Constitution does not create a judicial remedy for partisan gerrymandering. I wrote a post for Cato on the case and its implications, cautioning that the euphoria in some circles about an impending change in the high court’s jurisprudence is at best premature. The Justices by a 5-4 margin stayed the lower court order from Wisconsin, which hints, at least, that Justice Anthony Kennedy might not be persuaded by the advocates hoping to get him to open wide the door he left ajar in his 2004 concurrence in Vieth v. Jubelirer. [cross-posted and abridged from Free State Notes, which has more on the Maryland implications]