Interview: New AG Brad Schimel Fights 'Lawfare' in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel AP Image

If anyone truly doubts that the Left is on the run in American domestic politics, the results of the 2014 election should provide bracing reading. Aside from strengthening the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and taking back control of the U.S. Senate, Republican governors are now in charge of 30 of the 50 states. In 24 states, Republicans have complete control of the legislative agenda (including 5 of the 10 largest states by population), and in 19 more they control at least one house of the state legislature (of the “top 10,” only California is completely under Democratic control).

In my own state of Wisconsin, the Republicans swept every single state-wide office contested in November save one (secretary of state), and strengthened the Republican hold on both houses of the legislature. What is more, both houses are also arguably more conservative than they were before, as some older, less conservative legislators retired from office or were defeated in primaries.

This eventuality has reduced the Democrats and the interests that they represent to helpless fury, as Governor Walker and the state legislature begin to implement the next phase of the promises on which they campaigned and were elected. The result has been a form of what has come to be called “lawfare,” as the Leftists try to interfere with the legislative process by fighting every major piece of legislation in the courts.  This is where the state attorney general comes in.

In 2014, Wisconsin elected a new attorney general, Brad Schimel. Schimel had previously served as district attorney of one of the most conservative counties in Wisconsin (Waukesha) from 2006-2014, and has also served as an instructor in law enforcement and criminal justice at Waukesha County Technical College and Concordia University.

In an exclusive interview with PJ Media, Schimel shared some of the issues, local and national, with which his department has been dealing since the election.

On the day we spoke, there was jubilation in Republican circles throughout the state, because the United States Supreme Court had handed down an opinion declining to hear an appeal to Wisconsin’s voter ID law. This has been the final hurdle in putting a law into effect that was signed by the governor in May 2011, and illustrates how onerous the court challenges have made the legislative process. Schimel gave credit to what he called the “excellent brief” that his staff crafted requesting that the petition to hear the case be denied.

The current hot-button issue is Wisconsin’s new “right to work” law, signed on March 9, 2015. The labor unions immediately filed for an injunction, alleging that “right to work” amounts to an unconstitutional taking of union property by the state government. This demonstrates the Leftist mindset at work: Allowing ordinary citizens to decide freely whether they wish to associate -- or not -- with a union that may have been voted in during their grandparents’ time, and thus allowing them to keep some of their own money, especially if they object to the political use to which the unions put it, constitutes a “taking,” as if the unions own the workers and their wages in perpetuo, grudgingly allowing them to have the use of some of the money. Again, Schimel praised the brief that was presented in the Dane County court in which the suit had been filed, on the basis of which the judge refused to grant the injunction. “Though of course,” Schimel added,  “the hearing will still go ahead and have to be argued in court.”