Wisconsin's de minimis state attorney general draws another GOP line in the sand | Wis.Community

Wisconsin's de minimis state attorney general draws another GOP line in the sand

[img_assist|nid=89403|title=Van Hollen unretouched|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=166|height=208]All you need to know about how Republicans think and talk is summed up this morning by a quote from J.B. Van Hollen, the highly partisan attorney general of Wisconsin.

Reacting to the federal judicial panel's order overturning the GOP redistricting of Milwaukee's traditional Hispanic voting district into two, and requiring it be un-done and re-drawn, Van Hollen acted like the decision was a big victory for Republicans. Never mind that the court also lambasted GOP secrecy in its work, called the redistricting highly partisan, noted that it would disenfranchise many Wisconsin voters for two years, and openly derided some Republican staff testimony. For Van Hollen, it all came down to this:

"The judgments made by the Wisconsin Legislature have largely been vindicated," he said in a statement. "No constitutional defects were found and what began as a scattershot attack on every aspect of these laws has come down to a single finding that one line between two districts should be adjusted."

"One line between two districts"!? More like one line the GOP drew to cleave a district that shouldn't have been cleaved. Yes, to Van Hollen, the fate of many thousands of Hispanic voters in Wisconsin and elections in general are now reduced to  simple, two-dimensional geometry. His thinking perhaps isn't so surprising, since GOP rhetoric and ideology is pretty damned two-dimensional to begin with. The two dimensions being: US and THEM.

In law, there's a concept about issues that are unimportant: de minimis non curat lex, which translates from Latin as, "The law does not bother with the smallest things." But Van Hollen misapprehends that concept and turns it into a political tool. He takes big things and rhetorically minimizes them into small things, so he can claim a legal right to ignore them. Only, of course, when they suit his poltiics. So much for the law.

Of course, Van Hollen may only be pretending for now to minimize this decision by three federal judges (two appointed by Republican presidents), as he may well try to appeal the panel's decision to the US Supreme Court. I mean, it's either of no consequence or, if he appeals, it's a very big deal indeed. We'll see.

Like the Wisconsin Republican Party in general, the truth is that Van Hollen would love to keep the GOP's newest line in the sand, further diluting the vote of thousands of citizens who tend not to vote Republican and who mostly look different than the people in the GOP.

What a sorry excuse for the state's highest law enforcement official. "Van Hollow" is more like it.

Published

March 23, 2012 - 9:20am

Author