Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The New McCarthyism: who gets to sign a recall petition?

Being in public service does not mean you give up your rights as a citizen... although some think it does.


Gannett sanctioning of journalists promotes a new “McCarthyism”, reeks of hypocrisy « Badger Democracy
[...] 
Attacks continue against Dane County Circuit Court  judges, based on their signing of the recall petitions. The Wisconsin GOP has filed a complaint against Judge David Flanagan for his refusal to recuse himself from hearing arguments and ruling on the Voter ID law. As Marquette University Law Professor Edward Fallone points out in a recent faculty blog , the charges are without merit:


“The signing of a recall petition is a right guaranteed by Article XIII of the Wisconsin Constitution.  It is a procedure whereby any voter can request that the continuation in office of an elected official in the State of Wisconsin should be put to the vote of the full electorate.  If a sufficient number of voters sign the petition, a recall election is held.  A recall can only succeed in removing the officeholder if both a sufficient number of recall signatures are filed and a majority of the electorate votes in favor of removal.  The Recall is democratic self-governance in its purest form, and along with the Initiative and the Referendum it is one of the three structural vehicles  by which Progressive Era voters sought to bypass the influence that special interests hold on elected bodies.”

A new McCarthyism has arisen in Wisconsin, awakened by desperate Walker defenders. The same constitutional argument holds true for journalists – the recall is not only a Constitutional process, it is by definition a non-partisan process. The searchable  database was constructed with this very intent – a new “red scare” arising from a corporatic party willing to sacrifice the First Amendment for power, and Gannett has played along in shredding the protection of self-governance and expression afforded in the Wisconsin Constitution.

2 comments:

Mpeterson said...

A friend wrote in with this comment:

"If newspapers are our last defense against the inaccuracies and chaos of Internet blogs and cable news, then it's more important than ever that they be managed according to a code of ethics or conduct. An attorney who's convicted of a crime may keep his law license(especially in this state) but that doesn't mean he can't be fired for bringing ill-repute to his firm. The same is true for just about any profession.

[If Gannett is unionized, this would be addressed in their contract.]"

Palli said...

" An attorney who's convicted of a crime may keep his law license(especially in this state) but that doesn't mean he can't be fired for bringing ill-repute to his firm. The same is true for just about any profession."

To respond:
First, any profession includes elected officials; isn't a recall a part of a firing process.
Second, please tell me how a conscientious private citizen is bringing ill-repute to his employment by participating in a state governance activity like citizen petitions.
Jobs do not preclude the privileges and obligations of individual citizenship.