From the Journal Times, Racine. Sept. 20, 2011
State Supremes make right choice
It might have made for great reality TV, but we doubt it would have resulted in better legal decisions.
A proposal by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to open case deliberations to the public recently died a quick death after it got a chilly reception from the four conservative justices on the high court.
Abrahamson’s proposal was apparently intended to increase the transparency of the court’s actions — and perhaps thereby to increase the harmony as well.
We are great fans of transparency in government, but justices have more than their fair share of opportunity to share their views on cases in assents and dissents. Abrahamson’s proposal would have made Wisconsin the only state Supreme Court in the land to adopt such openness. Nor does the U.S. Supreme Court allow open deliberations.
We have no doubt such sessions would have been wildly popular among the legal set, the principals in the case and even the general public anxious to see how legal sausages are made.
We agree with Justice David Prosser, however, when he said the candor of the court’s deliberations might suffer and such openness would give attorneys on one side or another extra ammunition for appeals.
In the end, the court voted by hand 6-1 to reject Abrahamson’s proposal.
Another proposal from the chief justice — to bring in an expert on small group dynamics and for each justice to get conflict resolution training — was tabled until Sept. 28.
That might work. Or maybe transcendental meditation.
From the Post-Crescent (Appleton). Sept. 22, 2011
Department of Justice falters on concealed carry training rules
The state’s new concealed carry law has been a hot topic lately. It goes into effect Nov. 1 and there’s been a lot of attention on how many people will apply for permits and how the training courses will be set up, especially since the state Department of Justice isn’t going to release the training rules until mid-October.
As a result, there are many questions about what the various types of trainers should be teaching.
Some will cover a lot of ground, just to make sure they end up hitting the requirements.
Well, how about this question: Why can’t the Department of Justice come up with the training rules more than a few weeks before the law goes into effect?
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill administrative policies put out by any number of state agencies. These are rules that determine the training for carrying a deadly weapon.
Let’s repeat that, just for emphasis. These are rules that determine the training for carrying a deadly weapon.
This ought to be a top priority of the DOJ, requiring repositioned staff and whatever else it takes to establish and publicize these rules in plenty of time so trainers know what they need to teach, permit-holders know what they need to learn and, for goodness sakes, so nobody’s safety is threatened.
That this no-brainer conclusion has become an issue reflects poorly on the department.
The people of Wisconsin deserve better from their state government.