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Did the Court of Appeals play Judge Randa?

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Did the Court of Appeals play Judge Randa?

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 14, 2014 7:51 pm

http://domsdomainpolitics.blogspot.com/ ... randa.html

Dominique Paul Noth says that's exactly what they did. Judge Randa fell for it hook line and sinker, with the result the investigation is no longer limited by the borders of the state but is now a federal matter, no longer a county DA's investigation but one under the oversight of the US 7th District Court of Appeals... and that court can look into campaign coordination on a national scale.
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Re: Did the Court of Appeals play Judge Randa?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu May 15, 2014 9:36 am

I'm not sure Noth's is understanding the case and current appeal correctly.
What Randa declared frivolous, and what the 7th required him to declare frivolous before he could issue a preliminary injunction was the Prosecutor's appeal on the grounds that he didn't have jurisdiction to stop their case; nothing more.

When the federal court does decide on that appeal it won't be on investigative facts but on constitutional grounds. Does the protection of state officials from lawsuit extend to (alleged) federal civil rights violations? Right now that's the only question before the 7th. My take on it remains that it does not, and the Federal court does (and must) have authority over a potential civil rights infringement by the individual states. There are plenty of examples of it having acted in the past to hear such charges.

On the other hand the matter of whether or not the John Doe is in fact a civil rights infringement is a completely different story, and Randa hasn't actually ruled on that yet (though his granting of the preliminary injunction seems to indicate he's thinks there is a strong possibility it is). Once he rules on that matter, the case will most likely go to the higher court again, but that still doesn't make it a matter the federal government would investigate. Our courts serve to decide on the facts and law presented to them, not investigate the cases themselves, and being heard in federal court doesn't expand the authority of state prosecutors.

This whole case still does rest on the original appeal in a way. If the 7th decides that the Federal court has no authority to stop the state investigation the case ends immediately. I'm just not seeing how they could make that decision. Imagine the federal government saying states cannot be sued for civil rights infractions.
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Re: Did the Court of Appeals play Judge Randa?

Postby snoqueen » Thu May 15, 2014 10:05 am

I think what Noth is saying is the constitutional question will be decided based on the facts of the investigation, but we'll find out. The higher courts aren't exactly investigative bodies, of course, so what's in the documentation they've been given?

It's one of the more interesting cases -- or groups of cases, taking the whole thing together -- that we've seen in a long time. Today, the prosecution wants all the case documents unsealed on the grounds the investigation is no longer secret so the public should be able to see everything -- basically an appeal to the court of public opinion.

If that happens, the noise machine will go into overdrive for sure.

I was also interested in Noth's implied accusation news coverage has generally been a recitation of ALEC talking points.
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Re: Did the Court of Appeals play Judge Randa?

Postby pjbogart » Fri May 16, 2014 10:51 pm

Appellate courts typically only answer questions of law. Questions of fact are the responsibility of the lower courts. I would call this rejection significant and a win for Walker. Hopefully the only win he gets this year.
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Re: Did the Court of Appeals play Judge Randa?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue May 20, 2014 12:34 pm

snoqueen wrote:I think what Noth is saying is the constitutional question will be decided based on the facts of the investigation, but we'll find out. The higher courts aren't exactly investigative bodies, of course, so what's in the documentation they've been given?


As PJ said, the 7th won't be looking into the facts of the case for the appeal.

The appeal is based on the theory that state officials are immune from lawsuits while in the commision of their duties. The USSC has previously ruled that such immunity does not protect them from civil rights lawsuits when constitutional rights are infringed, I think the 7th is going to give Randa the go ahead to continue the case based on that.

Once Randa does reach a final decision on the case (and if he finds for the plaintiff) I'm sure the defendants will appeal that decision and the facts of the case will play a bigger role in terms of determining whether or not the John Doe investigation does indeed violate the plaintiff's first amendment rights.

I would hope Randa or the 7th have the good sense to say no it doesn't Being unable to raise money to put out a message hardly qualifies as a first amendment issue even if you believe money is speech. No one is preventing the people with the money from spending it to put out a message.

For that matter I would hope to god no federal judge would go so far as to state that being under investigation actually violates civil rights.
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