Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wisconsin: A Governor Lost in Separated Powers

If there is anything worse than intentionally neglecting one's constitutional duty to provide a check and a balance against the other other two branches of government, it is bragging that you failed to do so, or announcing, in advance, that you have no intention to do so. Take the new governor of Wisconsin, for example, Scott Walker.

Wisconsin governors have pardoned nearly 1,000 people since 1977. It is reported, however, that Governor Walker has not granted a single pardon since he took office. In addition, a "spokesman" says he "isn't planning on issuing any at this time." OK, perhaps if the "spokesperson" had shut up there, it would have been tolerable. The previous five governors all granted pardons in their first year in office. But, hey, maybe, just somehow, there hasn't been a single deserving application filed yet. And who really "plans" these things anyway?

But, no! The "spokesman" had to go into la-la land, saying, he believes "these decisions should be left up to the courts." So, the State's Pardon Advisory Board has not even met. Walker has not even appointed anyone to it! Perhaps Walker will forsake the veto power as well, because legislation is best left to the legislative branch? and legislators?

We guess not.

But, that's what happens when you bend over backwards trying to appear to be Dirty Harry / Hanging Judge Parker / Crime Dog / Nixonian Law and Order, tough boy. You say stupid things, which may very well impress the ignorant, but, at the same time, suggest that, while you are posing for the camera and the grandstand, you have no clear idea / or appreciation for the fact that ours is a government of separated powers and checks and balances. Here, in this country, our Founding Fathers argued, in the Federalist Papers, that there should be "easy" access to mercy via the executive branch (that's the place where Walker works). Now how, exactly, does that line up with the Wisconsin model?

See story here and here and here.

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