Wednesday, April 06, 2011

thinking ahead on prosser-kloppenberg

the wisconsin supreme court election from yesterday is still too close to call. as i write this kloppenberg has a slight lead of 140 votes (out of about 1.5 million cast) with 3620 of the 3630 precincts reporting. as i look over the list for the ten missing precincts, it looks like they are: two precincts in crawford county, one in dane, two in dunn, one in jefferson, one in juneau, two in milwaukee, and one in taylor. all but jefferson and taylor are counties that have favored kloppenberg in the precincts that are already counted. (dane county, where madison is, and milwaukee county are both the largest population centers and pretty strongly in the kloppenberg camp)

so i would guess that kloppenberg will keep her lead. maybe it will grow a little, but it's going to be really close. i expect there will be a contentious recount and possibly a court challenge.

if there is a court challenge, there's an issue of how it would work if the case is appealed to the state supreme court. the prosser-kloppenberg race is over the swing seat on the state supreme court. currently the court is divided 4-3 favoring the conservatives, but prosser, one of those conservatives, is the one up for reelection in this race. so even if he is still on the court when the appeal is heard, he would have to be excluded from the case. that would leave a court divided 3-3, assuming the justices vote along partisan lines (as justices often do in these highly partisan fights).

on the federal level when the supreme court is divided evenly on a decision, there is no decision of the supreme court. instead the decision from the court below stands without a supreme court opinion. assuming they follow the same rule in wisconsin, whatever panel they get from the wisconsin court of appeals would essentially decide the case.

UPDATE: all precincts reporting has kloppenberg ahead by 204 votes. next up, the recount and then maybe the court challenge.