Empower Wisconsin | March 13, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Liberal federal Judge Lynn Adelman has fired off another insipid salvo, attacking Chief Justice John Roberts and conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court for “actively participating in undermining American democracy.”
It’s curious how a jurist who trampled all over the rights of Wisconsinites conservatives can sleep at night, let alone accuse the high court for diminishing constitutional rights.
Adelman, who serves on U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, has assembled a long and tiresome judicial activist career since President Bill Clinton nominated the self-important bloviator in 1997.
In an upcoming article titled, “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” Adelman insists the conservative majority has “contributed to ensuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.”
It’s the standard trope of many liberal activist judges, routinely invoked on the Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign trail by leftwing Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky.
Adelman hates voter ID laws and anything to do with election integrity measures. He also despises the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United case, which upheld free speech protections for all, including unions and corporations.
To Adelman, who has been lauded by the left as a staunch defender of civil rights, constitutional protections don’t extend to his political enemies on the right.
In 2016, Adelman presided over a federal lawsuit against the prosecutors and law enforcement agents in Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation. The judge clearly had no time for the mountain of evidence that showed just how abusive the government agents were in the politically-driven probe that targeted dozens of conservative organizations.
Adelman, who has often ruled against aggressive police practices, couldn’t see the problem with John Doe judges who signed off on early morning armed raids on the homes of conservatives without even reviewing the warrants.
The judge wasn’t interested in the civil rights of people like Cindy Archer, who had worked as an aide to former Gov. Scott Walker. Archer sued the John Doe prosecutors for violating her constitutional rights. They led raids on her home and interrogated her on seven different occasions. They harassed her and intimidated her. Archer was never charged with anything.
And like her fellow conservative targets, Archer was told she could say nothing publicly about being a target of the probe. Doing so could have landed her in jail and saddled her with hefty fines. The secret investigations came with strict gag orders.
“I was told to shut up and sit down. The officers rummaged through drawers, cabinets and closets. Their aggressive assault on my home seemed more appropriate for a dangerous criminal, not a longtime public servant with no criminal history,” Archer wrote in a June 30, 2015, Wall Street Journal op-ed. The column was published a day before she filed her civil rights lawsuit.
A few days later, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared unconstitutional what became known as “John Doe II” and ordered the abusive investigation closed down.
This isn’t the first time Adelman has attacked the “Roberts Court.”
In 2017, he wrote a piece titled, “The Erosion of Civil Rights and What to Do About It.” In it, the judge urged changing the qualified immunity for law enforcement agents to make it “more protective of civil rights.” But not for conservatives like Archer. Adelman dismissed her lawsuit, defending the John Doe prosecutors’ claims that they were protected from such litigation.
At the 2016 hearing on Archer’s lawsuit, Adelman mocked Wisconsin’s conservative-led Supreme Court.
“Is that the new federalism court now,” the judge sneered.
Adherence to the constitution, to the intent of laws, that conservatives and liberals alike should enjoy the same civil rights seem to be incomprehensible to a leftist judge who has truly undermined democracy.