Republicans in Wisconsin could not work fast enough to change the law and protect themselves from recall elections which six of their Senators will face in August. But with that foreknowledge, they could protect Scott Walker, who is not eligible for a recall petition until he has served a year in office. Republicans in the legislature have skillfully gamed the system and set up barriers to accountability every step of the way. So this is no different.

(Assembly Speaker Jeff) Fitzgerald said he believed some Democratic legislators would support a measure changing or weakening the current law.

“I have never been a fan of recalls (of lawmakers) on either side of the aisle – especially for a vote,” said Fitzgerald, referring to how single votes – such as passing legislation that strips public employees of most of their bargaining rights – can trigger recall efforts […]

But Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) derided any such effort to limit recalls.

“I think it’s extremely unlikely that they would get support (from Democrats,)” Barca said. “I don’t think they are going to get any traction on this.”

“From a political standpoint, it looks like politicians trying to avoid accountability.”

Now, this isn’t so easy to do and it wouldn’t save Scott Walker’s bacon. The recall laws are part of the state Constitution, and therefore, you would need a Constitutional amendment to change them. That would require two separate passages out of the legislature in different sessions (including at least one when Democrats could be in control of the state Senate), and then a referendum of the people, who may not be inclined to have their recall power taken away. So this is more of a bluff than anything.

But it shows how state Republicans want to protect their Governor, and how they will stop at nothing to change the rules to make that happen. Who knows, maybe some enterprising lawyer will devise a scheme to circumvent the Constitution and make a recall impossible. The state Supreme Court could then rubber stamp it the way they rubber stamped a waiver on the violation of the open meetings law by the legislature. That edict basically averred that anything the legislature does was illegal, so who knows? I’m only being partially facetious about that.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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