Brad Schimel, GOP candidate for attorney general in Wisconsin, was allegedly caught on video making racist and sexist remarks at training conferences for state prosecutors in 2009 and 2013. Dane County circuit judge Richard Niess had previously ordered the videos released to the public, ruling that the public has a right to know what public officials do or say in their official capacities.
The Wisconsin Justice department appealed the ruling, claiming that Niess hadn’t considered the source of the allegations:
A further issue is whether the court improperly gave weight to public interest in discerning whether there is misconduct by public figures when the requesters(sic) themselves created the public interest in that controversy and provided no factual basis for it.
They also claimed that the videos contained strategies pedophiles could use to avoid prosecution and could possibly reveal the identities of victims. Niess reversed his ruling, stating that the videos weren’t particularly “earth-shaking.”
Schimel recently stated that he would support the ban on interracial marriage had he been attorney general in the 1950’s, because the state’s lawyer is required to uphold the law, not interpret it.
The statement comes amid a wave of state attorney generals refusing to uphold archaic bans on gay marriage. In a progressive society where conscience can sometimes be more important than a paragraph in a law book written a hundred years ago, people like Shimel are destined for extinction. It may not be the state lawyer’s job to interpret the law, but it certainly is his or her job to decide who is and is not prosecuted under it.
Hanging onto the letter of the law doesn’t quite jive when you’re in a position that regularly plea bargains murder to manslaughter in exchange for a slam dunk confession and a win.
Hopefully the voters of Wisconsin will see through Schimel’s false sense of duty and send him back to private practice.