Wisconsin’s newest Supreme Court justice told an audience of supporters at her investiture ceremony Monday that the nation must welcome immigrants and the state must address its treatment of African-Americans in order to heal political divisions and ensure equal opportunity for everyone.
Justice Rebecca Dallet’s term on the court began officially last week. While judicial races are technically nonpartisan in Wisconsin, Dallet’s election in April was widely viewed as a victory for Democrats, trimming the conservative majority on the state Supreme Court from 5-2 to 4-3.
Dallet told the crowd at her Wisconsin State Capitol investiture ceremony that she was being sworn in at an unusual time in the country’s history, when many believe that the nation is as divided as it’s ever been, possibly since the Civil War.
“Our future lies not in division, but also not in uniformity,” Dallet said. “It lies in accepting and honoring our differences. It lies in welcoming immigrants and building diverse communities.”
Dallet said she shared the judicial philosophy of former U.S. Justice Dallet’s election also means there are six women serving on the seven-member Supreme Court. She called that a great accomplishment, referencing a quote by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked, ‘When will there be enough women on the court?’ she replied, ‘When all of them are.’”
Not Enough Votes for K-C Tax Break Bill
A top GOP lawmaker said Monday that Republican state senators don’t have enough votes to pass a bill that would offer Foxconn-style incentives to consumer products company Kimberly-Clark Corp.
The company said last month that it was open to using the incentives now that it had agreed to concessions with the United Steelworkers union.
Republicans in the state Assembly passed the incentives in February after Kimberly-Clark announced plans to close plants in Cold Spring and Neenah, which would eliminate 600 jobs. But Senate Republicans never took a vote before the Legislature adjourned in March, and several conservative groups came out against the plan, saying it was “simply bad economics and sets a troubling, if not unsustainable, precedent.”
Senate Republicans met recently to discuss returning to Madison to vote on the bill, but State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who co-chairs the Legislature’s budget committee, said they don’t have the votes to pass it.
“Right now we probably don’t,” Darling told a Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce forum in Madison. If senators pass changes to the plan, which is being pushed by Gov. Scott Walker, there’s no guarantee Republicans who run the Assembly will agree with them.
Foxconn Announces ‘Smart Cities’ Competition
Foxconn Technology Group wants its host communities in Wisconsin to be just as impressive as its planned $10 billion LCD screen manufacturing complex in the Village of Mt. Pleasant.
To that end, it’s searching for ways to improve work and living environments through the use of innovative technologies.
The Taiwan-based tech giant announced a competition Tuesday that’s open to students and faculty at the state’s colleges and universities. The “Smart Cities – Smart Futures” competition includes $1 million in prize money.
Schimel Calls Outgoing State Treasurer ‘Abusive’
Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel had some sharp words recently for outgoing Republican state Treasurer Matt Adamczyk.
Schimel and Adamczyk both serve on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands along with Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette.
The agency uses revenue from civil and criminal fines as well as timber sales to make loans to local governments. A change in state law recently gave it more power to make investments.
At the board’s last meeting, Adamczyk was questioning the qualifications of agency staff to make investments. La Follette told Adamczyk he was harassing employees.
As one member of the staff began reciting his history in finance, Adamczyk cut him off. That’s when Schimel chimed in.
“Matt, I gotta tell ya, I’m counting the days ’til you’re not on this board,” Schimel said. “I’ve had enough. Doug is absolutely right. The string of demands you’ve made on the people who work hard at this agency has been unreasonable and abusive.”
It’s not the first time Adamczyk has raised tensions on the board. Former board secretary Tia Nelson resigned after Adamczyk led a push to keep her from talking about climate change. Schimel initially supported Adamczyk in that dispute before voting to loosen the restrictions.
Adamczyk ran on a platform of eliminating the treasurer’s office, but voters overwhelmingly supported keeping it in a referendum earlier this year. He’s now running for state Assembly.
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