Saturday April 29, 2017

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29
Apr
2017

wisc-supremecourt-justicesLeague of Women Voters supports Assembly Bill 137 requiring notice of contributions made to the campaign committee of a judge or justice to parties in a pending case.


MADISON - The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin believes there are three important measures in establishing criminal sanctions. Society is protected from criminal acts by deterrence, incapacitation and reform of offenders. We have a justice system whose purpose is to review criminal acts and take appropriate action to protect society and help prevent further criminal acts. Ultimately our criminal justice system is in the hands of judges, and citizens in Wisconsin should have absolute confidence that judges will be fair and impartial.

We would certainly never suggest that campaign contributions automatically undermine a judge’s neutrality. That would be an affront to the distinguished women and men serving on Wisconsin’s bench. But we have seen that contributions supporting a judicial campaign can erode public trust, even if the judge may be acting fairly.

It is good that judges have campaign committees that handle the money, and are not allowed to accept contributions themselves. However, most people do not make that distinction, and that public perception is what we are concerned about. Any citizen who has to appear in court should have absolute confidence that a campaign contribution will not influence the judge’s impartiality. In the unfortunate absence of objective recusal rules addressing this problem, notice of financial contributions to the campaign of a judge or justice by a party in a pending case is essential.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin supports AB 137, which requires notice of certain contributions made to the campaign of a judge or justice. This legislation provides that whenever an someone makes a contribution to the candidate committee of a court of appeals, circuit, or municipal judge or supreme court justice in a pending civil or criminal action or proceeding over which the judge or justice is presiding, the contributor must within five days notify in writing the judge or justice and the parties in the case of the date and amount of the contribution.

Public trust is enhanced by openness and information. Requiring notice of contributions made by parties in a pending case is an important step in boosting public confidence in the courts in our state.

Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
 
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28
Apr
2017

3-voices-futureInterviews in Washington D.C. with Van Jones, Pramila Jayapal, and Ai-jen Poo at the People’s Action Founding Convention.


MILWAUKEE - This week we have a special edition of the Battleground Wisconsin Podcast featuring exclusive interviews with 3 rising progressive leaders who have unique perspectives on how to build the political power to achieve the full promise of American life. The interviews were recorded this week in Washington, D.C. at the People’s Action Founding Convention.

The interviews include: (1) Van Jones, a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. He served as a special advisor to the Obama White House and is currently a political contributor on CNN. (2) Pramila Jayapal, a newly elected Congresswoman from the state of Washington who had already made a huge splash on the national scene. She is an Indian immigrant who came to America when she was 16. Pramila attributes her election to her bold, progressive agenda and not being afraid to stand up to corporate and special interests. 3) Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign. Ai-Jen is considered one of the top progressive strategists in America. She has been organizing immigrant women workers for over two decades, forging pathways to sustainable quality jobs for the caregiving workforce and fighting to guarantee access to affordable care for the nation’s aging populations.

Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Matt Brusky   
 
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