August 21, 2009

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen won't defend the domestic partnership law.

''When the people have spoken by amending our Constitution, I will abide by their command. When policy makers have ignored their words, I will not.''

The new statutory scheme is being challenged by the Wisconsin Family Council on the ground that it violates the anti-same-sex marriage amendment that was added to the state constitution in 2006. Here is an earlier blog post on the case.

Governor Doyle — who just announced that he won't run for re-election — is predictably displeased.

Is Van Hollen launching a run?

ADDED: Here's the memo written by (my UW Law School colleague) David Schwartz on the legal issue in the case: PDF. Doyle released the memo yesterday as a response to Van Hollen's decision. I have not read the memo yet.

20 comments:

Chip Ahoy said...

Ewww. I especially like the Egyptian-style stained glass: Re, Horus, winged solar disc, pyramids, the Nile, desert, -- what's not t like?

The tree standing in front of the Gardner butter advert is the perfect example of what would make an excellent trompe-l'œil. I'd paint leaves directly over the butter advert so that when the real leaves dropped in Autumn, from across the street, it would appear as if the naked sticks of the tree still had leaves.

Oh biscuits and friends, right, they're nice too.

traditionalguy said...

Chip...You are letting all that stained glass go to your head. It's that muffin eating attorney general that is in the window of this post.

The Drill SGT said...

Though I don't support SSM, I think an AG has the duty to both enforce the duly passed laws of his state and to defend the in court.

As does the California AG, Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, who refused to defend Prop 8.

Joe said...

If the AG (state or federal) believes a law passed by the legislature violates the constitution (state or federal) and, for the sake of argument, this violation is pretty clear, what is their duty?

While I'm generally uncomfortable with the AG not doing their duty as defined by law, they also take an oath to defend the constitution(s).

I suppose that in the long run, that's what elections are for.

ethan said...

HI!

I'M ANNE ALTHOUS!

I'M INCREASINGLY CONSERVATIVE, EVEN THOUGH I WON'T ACKNOWLEDGE IT!

ALSO, IF YOU HAVE BREASTS, THERE'S A 50/50 CHANCE I'LL CRITICIZE YOU!

IT DEPENDS ON YOUR POLITICAL PERSUASION!

ALSO, DID YOU HEAR I JUST GOT MARRIED!

IT WAS AWESOME! I JUST GOT MARRIED! DID YOU HEAR ME!

AND I'M OLD!

ethan said...

WUT?

YOU STILL AROUND?

DIDJA HEAR I JUST GOT MARRIED?

I'M PUSHIN' FUCKIN' 60!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

ANNE A.

traditionalguy said...

Ethan...Life become sweeter when the kids are grown and we have a little time to enjoy our accomplishments, travel, and share love with others. So do not fear getting older.

t-man said...

Oh,

I somehow doubt that Ethan has kids or will have any accomplishments to savor in his old age. Such people simply become more bitter as they realize they've wasted their lives hating and envying others.

wv: blogmud - what I've just descended into

Triangle Man said...

Next thing you know someone is going to try and prevent same-sex couples from splitting the rent and utilities because that is "substantially similar" to marriage. Oh, hey, and no shopping at the outlets. Too much like marriage.

bearbee said...

What precisely is the language in the Wisconsin constitution?

What is the Wisconsin Attorney General oath of office?

AllenS said...

ethan, on the left side of your keyboard is a key that says Caps Lock, touch it, would ya.

WV: diesoles

SGT Ted said...

Grow the fuck up ethan. Quit demanding that a woman you don't know adhere to your narrow views on politics and living life. Intolerant bigot.

MadisonMan said...

TriangleMan: That's great.

AlphaLiberal said...

Van Hollen is an idiot. Domestic partnership benefits are not the same as the right to marry. You can have one and not the other.

This is really Van Hollen assuming more power than he has. Yes, he is pretty clearly not content as A.G.

AlphaLiberal said...

hat Jim Doyle said:

''The Attorney General's job is to represent the state and defend state law when there is a good faith defense to be made,'' Doyle said. ''His representation should not be based on whether he likes the state law.'' .

This is an activist A.G. who is usurping the power of the Legislature.

AJ Lynch said...

So the liberal commenters want Van Hollen to do what they criticized Ashcroft for doing?

traditionalguy said...

The politics of Van Holen reminds me of George Wallace in Alabama in the early 1960s. It will excite a group that hates other people, but that is not the way to win for very long because hating is hard to keep going for very long.

G Joubert said...

Though I don't support SSM, I think an AG has the duty to both enforce the duly passed laws of his state and to defend the in court.

Yeah, but here there's the dilemma of which (apparently conflicting) state law to defend, and he's chosen the constitution over legislated statutes, an understandable choice when analyzed that way.

Bob From Ohio said...

"Governor Doyle — who just announced that he won't run for re-election — is predictably displeased.

Is Van Hollen launching a run?"


Bob from Ohio on The Volokh Conspiracy earlier:

Doyle just announced he is not running for re-election. Seems like the AG is announcing his candidacy for Governor.
8.21.2009 2:30pm


"The politics of Van Holen reminds me of George Wallace in Alabama in the early 1960s."

Try that argument to a group of black ministers sometime.

"This is an activist A.G. who is usurping the power of the Legislature."

A legislature has no power to violate a constitution.

Much ado about nothing though. Doyle can appoint a special counsel to represent the state.

If Van Holen was a bit more devious, he could have filed a brief conceding on behalf of the State that it was unconstitutional. That would have really left the law in a pickle.

google said...

Being a Portland Attorney we don't have those issues... we have our own special issues.