Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Last year, Angela McCaskill, the Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University, was placed on leave from her job for simply signing a petition.

That was a violation of her rights, plain and simple.

Well, someone in Wisconsin just lost his job for signing a petition. But there is a difference.

On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Tom Wolfgram in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, was defeated by a better than 20 point margin in his bid for re-election. Never before had Wolfgram, a three-term, eighteen-year incumbent, even faced opposition.

But then he signed the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker.

The petition successfully triggered a recall election, but proved unsuccessful in removing Gov. Walker.

But because petition signatories are a matter of public record, Wisconsinites (and the known universe) discovered that Judge Wolfgram had signed that petition to put a recall of the governor on the ballot.

The petition, or at least Wolfgram’s signature on it, triggered Wolfgram’s opponent, attorney Joe Voiland, to launch a campaign for the judicial post by attacking Wolfgram for lack of impartiality . . . for signing the Walker Recall.

Some argue that those calling to put a measure on the ballot must do so fully under the public lens. Others fear retribution to signers, equating the signing of a petition with the casting of a vote.

I fall into the latter camp. While opponents must have the access necessary to make any reasonable challenge to the validity of the signatures, that can be accomplished without allowing full public disclosure of all the personal data of those who have signed.

However, as in this case, once the public has the information, repercussions at the ballot box can hardly be prevented.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. drrik says:

    Interesting problem. Does a judge give up the right of political leanings and secondary activism when they assume the job and the role of a supposedly impartial arbiter? For if they are to be really impartial, then how can they then choose a side? It seems that if they choose to be partial, then it will inevitably affect their decisions, which is something that the people that vote for them ought to know. Full disclosure and all. Because the public gets to enjoy the “benefit” of the whole package. A judge that is not impartial is not really a judge at all.

    We have enough pretenders already.

  2. Jay says:

    I disagree, to an extent. Signing a petition for a recall–just like signing a petition to put something on the ballot does NOT mean that one agrees with the idea/proposal/what have you. Just that he or she thinks it should be debated and voted upon.

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