Reconsidering Wisconsin’s Constitutional Recall Provision: Should the Recalls be Recalled?

The Madison Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society is hosting an event on July 18, 2012 debating the pros and cons of amending the Wisconsin Constitution in light of the recent political turmoil involving the historic spate of recalls.

Wisconsin recently endured a historic stretch of recall elections of Wisconsin senators and the Governor. In less than a year, 13 state senators and the Governor faced recall elections. It was only the third time in U.S. history that a sitting Governor faced a recall election, and the first time ever that the Governor facing a recall won the election.

Wisconsin’s recall process is in the State Constitution. Article XIII of the Constitution does not require any grounds for filing a recall petition against an elected official. Currently, the only limitation is that the recall petition may not be filed until the elected official has served one year of his or her term, and a certain number of signatures must be obtained from Wisconsin citizens.

State Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has drafted Assembly Joint Resolution 63, 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 speakers will debate the pros and cons of amending the Wisconsin Constitution in light of the recent political turmoil involving the historic spate of recalls.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Madison Club, 5 East Wilson Street, Madison, WI

$15 Federalist Society Members / $20 Non-Federalist Society Members

Lunch included, CLE Pending

Please RSVP by Monday, July 16 to:

Andrew Cook – or (608) 219-4632

About the Speakers:

Rep. Robin Vos – Rep. Vos currently serves as the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, and began his career in the Wisconsin Assembly when he was voted into office in 2004. In addition to serving in the Wisconsin Legislature, Rep. Vos runs a variety of businesses in Southeastern Wisconsin including rental properties, a car wash and a popcorn company. Since buying RoJos Popcorn Company in Burlington in 1996, Robin has successfully grown the business from a small 3-person, family-operated business to an operation that now employs 19 people. Before being elected to the State Assembly in 2004, Robin served on the Racine County Board for 10 years. Robin received his degree from UW – Whitewater in 1991 with a double major in Political Science and Public Relations. During college, Robin developed a passion for public service and became active in student government. He was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson as the student representative on the UW Board of Regents.

Professor Kenneth R. Mayer – Prof. Mayer’s teaching and research interests are in American government and institutions (especially Congress and the Presidency, campaign finance, and election administration. He is the author of With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power (Princeton University Press, 2001), The Political Economy of Defense Contracting (Yale University Press, 1991), and The Dysfunctional Congress? The Individual Roots of an Institutional Dilemma (Westview Press, 1999, with David T. Canon, currently being revised for a 2nd edition). His work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Public Administration Review, PS: Political Science and Politics, Regulation, and The New York Times. His current research focuses on how voting reforms are implemented by local election officials. He recently returned from a 3 week lecture tour in Australia, sponsored by the State Department, where he discussed the 2012 presidential election (and the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, which many Australians knew about).

Christian Schneider – Christian is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Schneider spent eight years working for the Wisconsin State Legislature. He holds a Master’s degree from Marquette University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Utah, both in political science. Schneider was the recipient of the 2005 “Blog of the Year” award and is a frequent contributor the Isthmus newspaper and to the “Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes” television program. His columns have been featured in the New York Times and on the National Review Online. Christian authored an article discussing Wisconsin’s recall history, WPRI Report: The History of the Recall in Wisconsin, Vol. 25, No. 3, April 2012.