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One Last Job


The Wisconsin judge who lost an election despite it being massively rigged in his favor has decided to un-recuse himself to disenfranchise voters one more once:

A conservative justice who lost his bid for reelection to Wisconsin’s Supreme Court reversed his recusal from a major case involving the potential removal of more than 200,000 people from the state’s voter rolls.Justice Daniel Kelly, who cited a potential conflict of interest when he sat out the case during his bid for reelection, said Wednesday he will now participate, potentially making him the deciding vote in whether the high court reviews the case.”I, like every other justice on this court, have an affirmative duty to hear every case in which there is no ethical bar to my participation,” Kelly wrote in an order. “Having fully considered the matter, I have concluded that, in light of the fact that this case cannot now affect any election in which I would be a candidate while the case is being decided, there is no ethical bar to my participation.”In an upset for Republicans, Kelly lost to liberal Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky earlier this month in a race for a 10-year seat on the state’s Supreme Court. Kelly had recused himself from the case in January, saying it has “the potential of affecting an election in which I am a candidate” in the April 7 election.The case could have significant implications for November’s presidential election. In 2016, President Donald Trump won Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes, and the state is certain to be a battleground between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

As Ben Alpers observes, lengthy lame duck sessions are one of the stupider common features of American constitutionalism. And this as been evident almost since the beginning. Had John Adams’s most important lame duck appointment not been an extremely savvy tactician who knew when to beat the retreat like part of a duo cheating at poker folding his hand because the partner is making it too obvious, the Federalists’s formally legal but massively illegitimate lame duck packing of the courts would have blown up the Supreme Court. But as with the Electoral College, we muddle through and hope irrational institutional features won’t blow up too often.

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