In our last blog post, I said it was only a matter of time before the Wisconsin State Journal used a federal court ruling that judges can join political parties as evidence that voters can no longer be trusted to decide who sits on Wisconsin's Supreme Court. Nothing if not predictable, the State Journal fulfilled the prophecy yesterday.
Opinion page editor Scott Milfred praised Federal Judge Barbara Crabb's decision as "smart and strong." Despite the fact Crabb took pains to stress that nothing in the ruling should make states consider abandoning elections, Milfred interpreted Crabb's opinion to mean just that. After reading the same decision, John Nichols came to the exact opposite conclusion. As did we.
But the most striking thing about Milfred's column was this statement: "We don’t elect school principals, hospital administrators or astronauts. Unlike politicians, they actually need to know what they’re doing. The same is true with our high court justices...."
Perhaps it hasn't yet dawned on the State Journal's editorial board, but realizing their dream of replacing an elected Supreme Court with an appointed one depends on amending the state constitution. That takes approval by two successive legislatures and then ratification by the voters in a statewide referendum. In other words, the newspaper's braintrust will need those politicians who don't know what they're doing to go along with them not once but twice. And then they'll need those pesky voters who are too stupid to pick good judges to agree with them too.
And people give me a hard time for believing this is the year the Cubs will end that World Series drought.