On July 18th, the Madison Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a luncheon discussion of the history and future of recall elections in Wisconsin.
Christian Schneider, senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, lead off the discussion with a summary of his article The History of the Recall in Wisconsin. Schneider explored the public sentiment at the time of the recall’s passage by reading from newspaper articles of the time, explaining that most people assumed the recall would only be used against judges.
UW Political Science Professor Kenneth R. Mayer provided a chart illustrating the relative rarity of recall elections since the recall mechanism was first introduced in the United States. Mayer argued that rarity and the high rate of success indicates that recalls are filling a void that regular elections and impeachment cannot fill.
Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) concluded the event with a break down of Assembly Joint Resolution 63, a bill he drafted, which would amend the Wisconsin Constitution to provide that an elected official could only be recalled if he or she has been charged with a serious crime or if a finding of probable cause has been made that the elected official violated the state code of ethics. Assembly Joint Resolution 63 further provides that before a recall election is scheduled, the petition must demonstrate sufficient grounds for recall of the elected official.
The Madison Chapter of the Federalist Society has applied for Wisconsin CLE credit for this event.