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US Supreme Court will not hear Wisconsin John Doe case

US Supreme Court will not hear Wisconsin John Doe case

No review of important First Amendment issues involved in notorious investigation of conservatives.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an Order this morning denying the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Wisconsin John Doe case.

For background, see our prior posts, including Will Supreme Court take blockbuster “John Doe” campaign case?:

The case is O’Keefe v. Chisholm…. The issue on which review was sought had little to do — on the surface — with the substance of the abuses in the John Doe case, but rather, focuses on a technical legal point as to whether and when federal courts can or should stop state investigations….

But, the nature of the case necessarily involves the underlying ability of states to regulate campaign coordination and how that ability interacts with First Amendment rights.

While the Court will not hear the case, the underlying investigation currently is on hold anyway because of a separate federal court order not involved in the Supreme Court petition, and a state court order putting the investigation on hold.

Here is the Supreme Court Order:

For those of you who don’t remember, here’s what happened in Wisconsin to conservatives as part of the John Doe investigation:


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Too hot to handle for this Chickenscat Court!

American Human | May 18, 2015 at 10:39 am

This case is a bit complex for me what with dueling federal and state courts and now the SCOTUS declining to take the case and this being considered but not that. I’m not complaining but I am interested. Can someone, maybe Mr. Jacobson, please provide a bit more context. Is the SCOTUS not hearing the case good for the cause of justice and liberty or bad? I’m not sure.

    platypus in reply to American Human. | May 18, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Well, it is an indirect statement that the court does not consider this particular controversy worthy of its time in regards to constitutional issues. Cynics speculate that it is too hot for the court, and they may be right, but the truth is that these decisions (grant or deny) are NOT made by the judges. Anonymous clerks decide which cases get reviewed and they NEVER give a reason.

Looks like the the request for review was too narrow; the court was probably right to reject it on that basis. Unfortunately, the result may well be that Chisholm will get away with his Gestapo impression.

Wait, wait wait….

The motion of respondents John T. Chisholm, David Robles, and Bruce J. Landgraf for leave to file a brief in opposition under seal with redacted copies for the public record is granted.

I wonder what on earth Chisholm, Robles and Landgraf could possibly be trying to hide from the public.

That one should have been denied, and the SCOTUS should have forced their statements into the daylight so they could be analyzed by the public to determine if the “public servants” involved in this case should be re-elected (or possibly jailed).

Sam in Texas | May 18, 2015 at 6:12 pm

I don’t quite understand. The Court granted permission for a whole bunch of people to file amicus briefs, but denied a Writ of Certiorari? If it denies the writ, what is the point of simultaneously granting permission to file the briefs?

Once again, as with the HRC/Benghazi item above, what has to happen before these things become the basis for more than just paper shuffling?

The cert petition wasn’t really about Chisholm’s witch-hunt. That’s already been stopped by a state judge, and isn’t likely to restart. What the petitioners wanted was for the Supreme Court to officially rule that it would be unconstitutional to prevent issue campaigns from coordinating with politicians who happen to agree with them.

The federal district judge shut down the witch-hunt on the grounds that the “crime” Chisholm is trying to prove his targets did 1) isn’t against the law and 2) can’t be against the law. The 7th circuit reversed him, saying 1) the state judge has already shut this travesty down, so you shouldn’t have interfered; 2) you don’t know that such a law would be unconstitutional, because the Supreme Court hasn’t said so.

This left the Wisconsin people still OK, because Chisholm still can’t go after them, and in any case they deny that they coordinated in the first place. But it left a big question for other people, all over the country, who would like to do what the Wisconsin people deny having done. They wanted the Supreme Court to reverse the circuit court, and affirm that yes, you can go ahead and coordinate, the first amendment protects your right to do so. Unfortunately the Court didn’t take the bait.