We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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The bidding is open for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

The buyers will take possession of this seat April 7, 2009 at 8:00pm and retain custody for 10 years.

Rent seekers and power crazed collectivists from the ruling class, your bids are recorded here.

Small government conservatives and people who believe in personal rights and responsibilities, your bids are recorded here.

Aaaannnnd, (suspenseful pause) as of February 2nd, 2009 the totals are:

Rent seeking collectivists and associated members of the ruling class – $1,068,551
Small government conservatives and supporters of individuals rights and responsibilities – $53,674

I often hear people on this blog and elsewhere say “the voters are idiots, we get what we deserve.” Leaving aside the grating sound of “we”, when the small government conservative is outbid by a 20 to 1 margin, there is no way the message of small government and liberty can be heard. Incidentally, over $20,000 of his $54,000 came from his own pocket. And while your at it, compare Abrahamson’s and Koschnick’s statements of financial interest. I thought the small government conservatives were supposed to be the rich ones.

12 comments to The bidding is open for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

  • Nuke Gray!

    Midwesterner, there is no mystery!
    Rich people are notoriously miserly and disinclined to spend money- Scrooge McDuck is a typical example.
    Poor people are people who really hate money, and can’t wait to give it away. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they CHOOSE to be poor, because there are many worthy causes that need the money!
    So where is the mystery?

  • asommer

    I thought the small government conservatives were supposed to be the rich ones.

    It turns out that rent-seeking is extremely lucrative, and some of the rent-seekers are intelligent enough to re-invest the proceeds.

  • RRS

    Shucks -

    I put my comment under the Lincoln post.

    But, legislative appointment is better because it places a buffer between the Judge and direct financial contributions for the office.

  • So the rich bitch is getting money from a teacher retirement fund? Huh?
    I can only hope, based on her massive financial statement and wide range of investments, that she is bleeding like everyone else.

  • Laird

    I agree with RRS (both here and under the Lincoln post!). Only political hacks will endure the indignities of the election process; judicial election ensures that the best lawyers won’t become judges. A lawyer with a long, distinguished career who desires to “wind down” and give something back to the community could be an excellent judge, but such persons rarely run for office, especially in state-wide elections. Furthermore, the general public has absolutely no basis upon which to form an opinion as to judicial competence, so in the end elected judges are “owned” by special interests, most especially the trial lawyers’ bar. That’s not to say that there’s any guarantee that appointed judges will be better (they’re still subject to selection and ratification by venal politicians, after all), but there is a better chance of getting relatively competent ones that way.

  • Midwesterner

    Well, yes, RRS and Laird. And so your solution is that we small government types should take our toys and go home? To where?

    As Paul Marks often humorously notes, “I would not start from here.” But in this case, it is where we are and it is not a unique situation.

    asommer nails it.

    It turns out that rent-seeking is extremely lucrative, and some of the rent-seekers are intelligent enough to re-invest the proceeds.

  • Laird

    No argument there, Midwesterner. I was merely making the point that popular election is a poor way to choose judges. Unfortunately, it’s the process in most states (although, fortunately, not at the federal level) and we have to live with it. It’s just an intellectual exercise; I’m not suggesting any particular course of action.

  • Nuke Gray!

    Laird, and others-
    Here in the Antipodes, we don’t elect judges, and we often complain that they seem out of touch, and unresponsive to community attitudes. In a freer society, of course, Judges would be hired by insurance companies to help solve cases, and would need to actually work for a living, but we aren’t there yet!

  • Tom

    I don’t wish to be discriminatory, but does it bother anyone else that this gal is 75 years and is apparently drawing a state pension and federal social security payments, according to her statement of economic interest? Can’t the political powers that be at least find someone a little younger and perhaps more in touch with the challenges faced by those under 70 or 60 or 50?

  • David Rogers

    “when the small government conservative is outbid by a 20 to 1 margin, there is no way the message of small government and liberty can be heard.”

    Actually, they can.

    A small government conservative named Steve Smith beat a big government Republican (incumbent, no less) AND a big government Democrat who was for all intents and purposes endorsed by the Republican governor, in Texas, in 2002. Smith was outspent 80 to 1.

    He won by eight points.

    (Then the governor and Senator Cornyn combined to oust Smith in the next election, and replace Smith with a law school study-buddy of Cornyn.)

    Money isn’t everything. It’s a lot. But it’s not everything.

  • Paul Marks

    The Mayor of Indianapolis (Mr Ballard) also beat similar odds.

    Good post Midwesterner. Yes the rich and connected are normally pro “liberal”.

    As for elected judges.

    Free market people have a small chance – but that is bigger than with an appointed judge.,

    Especially when the Governor has to appoint someone with the imput of the “best lawyers” the “experts” or whatever.

    If they are involved the result is bound to be a swine.

    Take the exaple of Alaska – a conservative State with a “liberal” bench.

    Because of the rigged appointment system even a conservative Governor has little chance to change things.

  • Paul Marks

    The Mayor of Indianapolis (Mr Ballard) also beat similar odds.

    Good post Midwesterner. Yes the rich and connected are normally pro “liberal”.

    As for elected judges.

    Free market people have a small chance – but that is bigger than with an appointed judge.,

    Especially when the Governor has to appoint someone with the imput of the “best lawyers” the “experts” or whatever.

    If they are involved the result is bound to be a swine.

    Take the exaple of Alaska – a conservative State with a “liberal” bench.

    Because of the rigged appointment system even a conservative Governor has little chance to change things.