Avatar
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Judge’s ruling reduces First Amendment

Empower Wisconsin | April 2, 2020

The Washington Post likes to say, “Democracy dies in darkness.” 

Actually, it’s dying in well-lit courtrooms. 

On Tuesday, federal Judge William Peterson sided with Gov. Tony Evers and denied the MacIver Institute’s motion for a temporary injunction against Evers and his PR team. 

The free-market think tank, which operates the MacIver News Service, last year sued Evers for violating its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The governor’s press team barred MacIver reporters from attending a budget briefing in February 2019 and blocked MacIver from the general media list. This, despite the fact that the MacIver Institute has been a credentialed member of the Capitol press corps for years.

But Peterson, judge for the U.S. District Court Western District, decided that the MacIver Institute is simply a think tank, not a news organization, with an “idealogical mission.”

“… MacIver has not demonstrated a separation between the ideological mission of the think tank and the news organization,” the ruling states. 

But what of the clearly left-leaning organizations allowed to attend the Democrat’s briefings and are included on Evers’ media list? Well, Peterson asserts, The Progressive, The Capital Times, even The Devil’s Advocates far left radio show “are principally in the business of disseminating news.” 

And MacIver NEWS Service isn’t? The organization is devoted to covering state government, the budget and policy issues that impact the daily lives of its readers. As a former MacIver News Service journalist, I know firsthand the multitude of legislative committee meetings, floor sessions and political press conferences the news organization covers on a weekly basis. 

“Plain and simple, Judge Peterson just missed this,” said MacIver President Brett Healy. “Now more than ever, it is vital that the governor stop blocking MacIver and that all news sources have fair and equal access to information and briefings.” 

Indeed. Peterson’s ruling was followed by the announcement Wednesday that Gannett plans to implement furloughs for several Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters, including members of the Capitol Press Corps. Those reporters cover the Statehouse for Gannett newspapers — large and small — across the state. 

But this federal judge, following liberal and highly partisan Attorney General Josh Kaul’s bogus litmus test of what constitutes a news organization, insists, “Evers has reasonably concluded that MacIver is not a bona fide news organization.” 

During Wednesday’s teleconference with Republican legislative leadership, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) heartily welcomed MacIver’s Bill Osmulski, also a plaintiff in the First Amendment lawsuit. 

“We’re always happy to have you at our press conferences, and the liberal side too,” Vos told Osmulski before the reporter asked his question. True enough, the Capital Times and the Wisconsin Examiner, another left-leaning publication, were on the press call. 

MacIver has 10 days to respond to Peterson’s ruling, effectively telling the judge why they think he’s wrong. If Peterson stands by his decision, the news organization could appeal the ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Listen to more:

Explore More
Liberal group sends menacing mailer to voters

Liberal group sends menacing mailer to voters

A Wisconsin voter who registered to receive an absentee ballot for next week’s election not long after got a postcard from a left-wing group. He found its implications to be a threat of public shaming.

Read More »

August 6, 2020
Evers fails to discipline staffer in Tapegate

Evers fails to discipline staffer in Tapegate

Gov. Tony Evers would fine you up to $200 for not wearing a mask in a public space, but he won’t discipline a staffer for secretly recording a call — a la Richard Nixon — with Republican leadership. 

Read More »

August 6, 2020
Biden’s bunker strategy will backfire

Biden’s bunker strategy will backfire

For Joe Biden, these are the best of days. Riding high in the polls, he has a long list of Democrats scrambling to be his running mate, while others offer themselves for plum cabinet posts.

Read More »

August 6, 2020
All Woke Up: Canceling History

All Woke Up: Canceling History

Those who chose to forget the past — or wipe it out altogether — should be condemned to listen to state Rep. LaShawn Ford prattle on about white privilege and systemic racism.  

Read More »

August 6, 2020
Tool of the Week: Controlling Tony

Tool of the Week: Controlling Tony

Of all the strained logic and absurd arguments Gov. Tony Evers has used to defend his statewide mask mandate, the “speed limit” defense most betrays the Democrat’s ignorance of the separation of powers. 

Read More »

August 5, 2020
Is it really about the kids?

Is it really about the kids?

Remember during the Act 10 protests when Wisconsin’s glutinous teachers unions insisted their political temper-tantrums were all about the kids? 

Read More »

August 5, 2020

1 thought on “Judge’s ruling reduces First Amendment

  • Fungus grows in darkness – where do you think Evers came from? This case needs to be taken to higher courts as soon as possible. Evers power grab needs to be halted – he is a disgrace.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *