The Huffington Post seems to have a corner on interesting articles about divorce. My friend Phil Tucker provided link to one entitled: "10 Questions to Ask Before Fighting Over the Kids".
The concept, of course, is so simple that one wonders why it is not universally followed by parents. The answer is the fog of war blinds combatants to the bigger picture. Perhaps putting it in the form of questions would help to pierce that fog.
There is an old saying that the Supreme Court reads elections returns. While that saying relates to the US SC, it also applies to the Wisconsin SC.
Today, the Wisconsin SC apparently finished the flood of decisions which it reserves to the end of its term. Interestingly, to the best of my counting, every single decision except one was split between the liberal judges (CJ Abrahamson and J. Bradley) and the conservative judges (Justices Gableman, Ziegler and Roggensack) with two swing judges (Justices Prosser and Crooks) determining the result. For example, I could not find one criminal case where the liberal judges did not side with the defendant and the conservatives did not side with the state.
I believe that the only unanimous decision all term was in Appling v. Walker, where the court found that same-sex domestic partnerships created by Chapter 770 do not violate the provision of the Wisconsin Constitution which prohibits "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals." Of course, the two liberal justices did not join the majority opinion, filing a concurrence instead. Still, all seven agreed on the result, for perhaps the only time all session.
While I do not profess to be an expert on Wisconsin constitutional law, please explain to me how a domestic partnership law is not "similar" to a legal status for marriage? Of course it is! That is why is was enacted in the first place - to give unmarried partners some of the same rights as married partners.
The only way I can explain the result is that the political scene has shifted away from the "one man, one woman" definition of marriage and the SC does not want to be caught on the wrong side. This has been an amazingly fast transition - DOMA was enacted in 1996 and signed into law by a liberal, Democratic president. Yet only 18 years later, conservatives are leaning over backwards to award status of unmarried couples, including those of the same sex.
As I've said before in this blog - I favor allowing same-sex couples to marry and as a result, I also favor domestic partnership laws. As generally tending to conservative views, I don't understand why government has any right inserting itself into the private relationship of two consenting adults in most cases (the reason for the caveat is that I continue to have a problem with legalizing prostitution or polygamy, but who says I have to be consistent?).
It is not unusual in our legal system where the politics drive the law, rather than the other way around. Sometimes (like here) the result is a good one. The process of getting there, however, can be, well, interesting.
The Wisconsin SC issued two new disciplinary cases today. Both make me shake my head.
The first is In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against David V. Moss Attorney Moss has compiled an impressive record. In about three years of practicing law, he amassed thirty-five counts of misconduct arising from eight client matters. His Wisconsin license is suspended for Wisconsin law license is currently suspended for:
- Failure to cooperate with OLR grievance investigations
- Failure to pay state bar dues
- Non-compliance with trust account certification requirements.
Other than that, his law practice is off to a good start.
Mr. Moss (I don't think calling him "Attorney Moss" is appropriate) apparently recognized that maybe practicing law was not for him. Even prior to being service with the disciplinary complaint, he sent a letter to OLR
saying he would not respond to any grievances and enclosed his State Bar membership card, seeking to resign from the state bar.
OLR did not take "I quit" as an answer and continued its action. Here is the amazing thing: The referee, James C. Boll, Jr., recommended a nine month suspension. Really? After 35 counts, a default and his mailing in his license - nine months?
The SC was a little bit better, imposing a 2 year suspension. No dissents.
The other case is In re Disciplinary Matter of Sayaovong. In that case, the attorney was charged with seven counts of misconduct arising out of two client matters. The attorney never bothered to respond to the complaint. As a result, the referee found that he was in default for failing to respond to the complaint. The "tough" sanction was a public reprimand. Really. Seven violations and no response and he didn't even get a time out. Again, no dissents.
Two more cases proving how pathetic our so-called disciplinary system operates in Wisconsin.