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Editorial Roundup: Wisconsin

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Kenosha News. July 24, 2022.

Editorial: Wisconsin should codify same-sex marriage, not wait for a Supreme Court decision

It should be no surprise to anyone who lives in the U.S. for more than a few years that what are considered “rights” can be changed. Our Constitution was written that way: to be amended, time and again.

It’s been officially amended 27 times so far. That fact might actually anger some of the founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson wanted the Constitution to be scrapped and rewritten every two decades; the author of the Declaration never wanted the country’s founding documents to be treated as sacred. Twenty-seven amendments would be palsy in his eyes.

The laws of this country are incredibly malleable.

This became clear when the Supreme Court flipped Roe v. Wade.

Abortion was largely illegal before 1973, largely legal between 1973 and 2022, and up to the states since June 24, 2022.

That’s not the issue we’re weighing in on today.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas thinks the argument that the 14th Amendment’s right to privacy being used to legalize things like abortion and gay marriage is flimsy.

Section 1 of the amendment, which was passed after the Civil War in order to give rights to freed slaves, states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

None of us are legal experts. We cannot speak to if that argument is flimsy or not. What we do know is that that argument has been used successfully to legalize abortion via Roe v. Wade and legalize interracial marriage via Loving v. Virginia, as well as to overturn racial segregation in education via Brown v. Board of Education.

With the recent Supreme Court decision, it has become clear that laws can easily and quickly change based on a court’s decision.

The U.S. House passed the Respect For Marriage Act on Tuesday, July 19, to codify legal same-sex marriage nationwide, but it still has to go to the Senate.

Even with U.S. representatives taking action, state officials should take steps now to legalize same-sex marriage in Wisconsin as well.

It’s generally viewed as amoral to cheat on your spouse or to be an absentee father. That doesn’t mean it should be illegal.

In Wisconsin and in most of the country, a man can only marry the man he loves and a woman can only marry the woman she loves because of a single Supreme Court decision: Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).

The successful argument behind the Obergefell decision was based on the 14th Amendment. The argument is largely identical to the one that had been behind Roe v. Wade.

Like Roe, Obergefell is fragile.

Justice Thomas himself wrote in a court opinion that he wants the Supreme Court to reexamine Obergefell. It’s unclear if the other conservative justices of the high court agree with Thomas.

In Wisconsin and throughout the country, conservatives argue for individual freedoms – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If Wisconsin wants to be a land of freedom, the Legislature should act to allow people to marry who they choose.


Racine Journal Times. July 27, 2022.

Editorial: Milwaukee gets boost in GOP convention bid

It’s not yet a done deal, but the City of Milwaukee took a major step forward toward hosting the 2024 Republican National Convention last week when it gained the endorsement of the GOP site selection panel.

RNC Senior Advisor Richard Walters said the selection committee’s vote was “a testament to the forthright and professional behavior embraced by Milwaukee’s city leaders throughout the process.”

That came in part because the pursuit of the convention was a bipartisan one with both Republicans and Democrats laying out the welcome mat for the event. That was reflected again in the round of applause it got from local officials immediately after the vote was announced.

“Today’s news is great for our region, especially as workers and businesses continue to recover from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic. We are ready to show the world what Milwaukee has to offer,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

His comments were echoed by Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson who said, “I want Milwaukee to hold a prominent position as a convention city. This is about future conventions and future business, trade shows, major membership organizations, sports and entertainment activities happening right here in the city of Milwaukee.”

It’s a second chance for the city which had planned to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention until it was upended by the coronavirus that left it as a “virtual” convention. Still, that experience allowed city and state leaders to push the city as a “turnkey” site for the GOP convention since it had just gone through the massive planning needed to host such an event.

It didn’t hurt, either, that Nashville, the other top contender for the GOP nod, balked down the stretch when there was local opposition to hosting and backers withdrew a proposed agreement about how to host the event. Still a final decision has not been made, but that is expected to come from the full Republican National Committee when it meets in early August.

Make no mistake, the economic impact is likely to be immense and long-lasting. The Republican host committee plans on raising $65 million for the event and it is projected to bring 50,000 convention attendees and visitors to the area in July and August. The economic impact on southeastern Wisconsin has been estimated at $200 million.

Beyond that, it will also give the city a chance to prove its bona fides as a convention host and showcase the Fiserv Forum and the Wisconsin Center, which is currently undergoing an expansion, and which are expected to be main venues for the gathering.

Yes, there will be concerns about security and – as most political conventions do – there will likely be some protests. We hope proper safeguards are in place. And, yes, there are political naysayers, in this political battleground state, who would rather not see Republicans gathering here and, perhaps, boosting their chances in the fall elections.

But it’s also a chance to showcase all the charms of Wisconsin and Milwaukee as a sparkling gem on the Great Lakes, to demonstrate our generous hospitality and put out a welcome mat for all visitors for years to come. That will endure long after the convention has come and gone.

END

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Republicans have unanimously chosen Milwaukee in swing state Wisconsin to host the 2024 national convention, beating out Nashville in deep-red Tennessee. The decision, announced at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting on Friday in Chicago, follows months of wrangling by both states to land the convention where the party’s next presidential candidate will be officially nominated. Milwaukee was selected by Democrats to host the 2020 convention, but that moved almost entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The city used its preparations for that convention to argue to Republicans that it had a “turnkey” operation ready to host for real in 2024.

The Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor endorsed by Donald Trump would not commit to supporting Trump should he run for president again in 2024, but also didn’t rule out trying to decertify his 2020 loss in the battleground state. Trump-backed candidate Tim Michels made the comments Monday at a town hall event a week before the Aug. 9 primary. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence, said she would support whoever wins the Republican primary for president in 2024. Trump is hosting a rally for Michels in Wisconsin on Friday.

The attorney who helped Kyle Rittenhouse get acquitted on murder charges says he will represent a Minnesota man accused in the stabbing death of a teenager during a tubing trip in western Wisconsin. Nicolae Miu is charged with first-degree homicide in the death of 17-year-old Isaac Schuman. It happened after Miu scuffled with several people last month on the Apple River. Police say Miu wounded four other people. Miu says he was defending himself. Miu has retained Madison, Wisconsin attorney Corey Chirafisi, who helped convince a jury that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two men and wounded a third in protests over the police shooting Jacob Blake. The Rittenhouse case widened the political divide on gun access in the United States.

A former police chief was able to take postings at multiple successive U.S. Army bases despite allegations that he sexually harassed women at one base. The Wisconsin State Journal obtained documents from an Army investigation into Ryan Cunningham. He became police chief at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin in 2016, months after an investigation at Fort Wainwright in Alaska found he sexually harassed a female Army sergeant and made unwanted advances toward her and other women while he was the acting police chief there. Cunningham resigned while the investigation was ongoing. He left Fort McCoy in January 2020 to become temporary police chief at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Cunningham no longer works there, and he has declined comment.

Days after saying that running negative ads is “just bad policy” and politicians who do that are “losing,” the Wisconsin Republican candidate for governor backed by Donald Trump has launched his first attack ad against his primary opponent. Tim Michels launched the ad this week, a blistering attack against Rebecca Kleefisch that makes a series of accusations, faults her for not backing Trump in 2016, and brands her as “the ultimate Madison insider.” Kleefisch is a former two-term lieutenant governor backed by former Vice President Mike Pence. The winner of Tuesday’s primary will advance to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Democratic hopefuls in Wisconsin see abortion as the issue that will carry them to election wins in November, but efforts to reach Black voters on the topic are sparse. Several organizing groups said it's a complicated issue in the Black community, with a legacy of views long handed down from the more prominent and conservative denominations in the Black church. Polling data shows that abortion is a slightly more potent issue for white voters in the Democratic coalition than for Black voters. Most of the groups organizing in the Milwaukee area, a critical area for Democrats to win statewide races, are steering away from messaging solely on the issue.

The state Department of Natural Resources is investigating contaminated soil near the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Reservation in far northern Wisconsin. The department said Enbridge Inc. reported Wednesday that a contractor had encountered soil suspected to be contaminated along the company's Line 5 pipeline south of Ashland about a mile west of the reservation. The DNR says the company stated it couldn't identify a leak and believes the contamination was from a past discharge. The department says its staff have been on site and haven't detected any additional petroleum odors or soil staining.

A Wisconsin man has died after his motorcycle struck a black bear on a western Montana highway. The Montana Highway Patrol says the 66-year-old man from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was southbound on Montana Highway 83 on Sunday morning when a bear crossed the tree-lined highway in front of him. He was unable to avoid hitting the bear and was thrown from the motorcycle. The man, who was not wearing a helmet, he died at the scene south of the town of Swan Lake. His name has not been made public. Trooper James Hawkins says state game wardens found the injured bear and shot it.

Investigators say two Dane County deputies investigating a case of road rage were hurt when an alleged drunken driver crashed into their squad cars. Authorities say their injuries are not believed to be life threatening. The incident happened late Friday in the town of Springfield, where authorities say a person was shot and injured in a dispute near the intersection of two highways. The suspect in that incident fled the scene and was later arrested. The person who was shot is expected to survive. The two deputies who responded to the scene were standing outside of their cars when the drunken driving suspect crashed into their vehicles. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The driver was arrested for operating while intoxicated causing injury.

Gov. Tony Evers has selected a site in Milwaukee for a new youth prison. The governor made the announcement Tuesday. The facility would replace the state's existing youth prison outside Irma. The existing facility has been plagued by allegations of guard-on-prisoner abuse. The Legislature passed a bill in 2018 calling for closing the prison and replacing it with regional centers but efforts to find locations and secure funding proved fruitless. Evers signed a bill earlier this year that allocated $42 million for a new prison in Milwaukee County. The bill requires the Milwaukee Common Council to approve the site. Evers' administration says council President Jose Perez is expected to call a special meeting this week to vote on the site.

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