As I See It

As I See It

Wisconsin's longest running daily commentary, a daily tradition since 1971.

Wednesday - August 16, 2017 8:59 am

There are a number of quirky rules in our political system. Like the system of selecting judges. Under an arcane rule known as the “blue slip” members of the United States Senate are given the powerful ability to halt judicial nominations. The rule allows U.S. Senators an effective veto over the nomination of federal judges from their home state. That is why the Wisconsin seat on the 7th District Circuit Court of Appeals has remained vacant for the past seven years. It is the oldest judicial vacancy of any court in the country. President Obama tried repeatedly to fill that seat, only to have his nominations blocked by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. Johnson was well within the rules to use the blue slip to block Obama's nomination, but now the shoe is on the other foot. Republicans are in control, and President Trump has named his own pick to fill the judicial vacancy. But because politicians like the rules when they benefit them, they are also considering doing away with the blue slip rule. The same rule that allowed Johnson to block Obama's nomination could prevent Democrats from exercising the veto of Trump's pick. Johnson argues that circumstances have changed. But it seems the only thing that has changed is who can use the rule to their benefit.

Declaring opioid epidemic a national emergency not enough

New, better parking system to take effect

Lack of Wisconsin state budget starting to be a big deal

La Crosse's first roundabout working just fine

Tax reform next, but should we expect better results?

La Crosse may finally become more bicycle-friendly

WI Supreme Court justices need to recuse themselves

Don't sacrifice our environment for Foxconn

Transgender military ban unwise

Workload just increased sharply for Wisconsin legislators

Wisconsin can't afford to risk being conned by Foxconn

Higher income limits for voucher school students a bad idea

No earmarks, but still plenty of government waste

Kudos for more work to end opiod epidemic

La Crosse likes to say no

Legalizing pot could solve Wisconsin's road woes

Police, courts should work out their differences in private

Could you fail to do your job for two weeks and still be employed?

Ban fundraising during budget talks