Matt Rothschild
Op Ed

Dan Kelly Wants Revenge

He recused from voter purge case. After losing election the lame duck Supreme Court Justice has changed his mind.

By - Jun 2nd, 2020 04:25 pm
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Daniel Kelly. Photo by Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Daniel Kelly. Photo by Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly is not going gently into that good night.

Instead, he seems intent on taking revenge for his surprising shellacking by Jill Karosky on April 7 by reinserting himself into the “voter purge” case.

This case, brought to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by the rightwing Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, originally ended in a 3-3 deadlock. That was after Kelly had recused himself from it and after Brian Hagedorn showed his independent streak by breaking with his conservative colleagues on the court, much to their consternation.

As a result of the deadlock, the previous ruling by the appellate court stood. That ruling, which was unanimous, dismissed the case. The appellate judges noted that the Wisconsin Elections Commission had no legal authority to toss voters from the rolls, as the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty had sought.

“In interpreting the Wisconsin Statutes, courts may not rewrite the plain language of the statutes the legislature has enacted,” the appellate judges ruled.

But now Kelly wants to get his licks in on this case, and in a highly unusual move, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to take it up again.

The number of voters who could be tossed from the rolls is now about 129,000. That’s down from 232,000 originally because many voters have clarified their registration status or their place of residence.

The voters on the “to be purged” list are from ZIP Codes with disproportionately high numbers of students and people of color, who tend to vote Democratic.

But it shouldn’t matter how they vote.

In a democracy, our elected officials should be making it easier to vote, not harder to vote. And an elected official who has already been shown the door by the voters is the last person who should be trying to make it harder to vote.

Kelly is exiting stage right in the pettiest of ways.

Matt Rothschild is the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

More about the 2020 Voter Purge

Read more about 2020 Voter Purge here

2 thoughts on “Op Ed: Dan Kelly Wants Revenge”

  1. mkwagner says:

    Kelly’s behavior in regards to the voter purge is the reason voters elect Jill Karofsky. It is clear that he is not interested in what is best for Wisconsin. He is in it for himself. That is the cornerstone of a corrupt judge.

  2. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Justice Kelly will discredit himself in perpetuity if he inserts himself in the voter purge case and sides with those who would purge.

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