Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Judge puts 10-day freeze on Wisconsin abortion law

It’s never boring in Wisconsin … Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: “After a hastily called hearing, a federal judge Monday put a 10-day freeze on a new state law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital-admitting privileges. In a 19-page opinion issued Monday evening, U.S. District Judge William M. Conley cited a ‘troubling lack of justification’ for the law and said he would stay enforcement of the admissions provision until July 18, a day after a more deliberate courtroom hearing scheduled before him next week. ‘There will almost certainly be irreparable harm to those women who will be foreclosed from having an abortion in the next week either because of the undue burden of travel or the late stage of pregnancy, as well as facing increasing health risks caused by delay,’ the judge wrote.” But all that has to be balanced with keeping the base happy …

The — very expensive renovation of the Capitol building will be every bit as aggravating as everyone thought. At MPR, Tom Scheck writes: “It’s a major undertaking that could be a major pain in the neck. The renovation will displace legislators, legislative staffers, the governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office and the press corps for at least some part of the renovation, even as the House and Senate Chambers continue to hold session from January to May. … Rep. Diane Loeffler, DFl-Minneapolis, expressed concern that the Capitol lawn will be temporarily paved over to be used for parking and construction preparations. ‘The Capitol grounds to me are part of the Capitol public space. There are so many rallies, so many events held year round. This will threaten the tree cover and the permanent greenery,’ Loeffler said. Capitol planners said they will take steps to protect the trees on the site and that the grass will be completely replaced after the work is done.” It is, of course, heresy, but what kind of a 21st/22nd century Capitol could you build for $272 million if you started from scratch?

At WCCO-TV, Pat Kessler offers some video.

The AP says: “The Capitol Preservation Commission went over the first of four phases of construction during a meeting Monday and will reconvene in two weeks to give formal consent. Bids for companies that want in on the work are due soon. As part of the project, many features will be restored to their 1905 feel — such as tall French doors, rehabbed ornamental decorations and glass-door elevators. They’ll be staged alongside modern technological enhancements —such as wall-mounted TV screens, efficient heating and cooling equipment, a better visitor center for tour groups and more-reliable Internet access.

It’s to the point where every tree you can name has its own invasive bug … . Dan Kraker of MPR reports: “Minnesota’s coniferous trees are facing newly formidable foes: beetles. Stately, tall white pines all over the state and the tamaracks of northeastern Minnesota have had their natural defenses from beetles weakened. Scientists suspect climate change is to blame in both cases. … White pines have a lot of pitch, or resin, which acts like an anti-beetle defense system. Typically, bark beetles aren’t seen often in white pine during a drought. But Department of Natural Resources forest health specialist Ryan Blaedow said the agency has counted hundreds of white pines from the Twin Cities to Hinckley to St. Cloud with their top six to 10 feet killed.” How soon before we can grow palm trees up here?

Oh … wait … Stephanie Hemphill, also at MPR, writes: “[Kira] Reoh’s crew is planting little red oaks on land in the Superior National Forest that has long largely supported the spruce, pine, birch and aspen trees typical to the northlands. They’re planting trees that should do well as the climate continues to change in Minnesota’s north woods. As growing seasons become longer and winters are warmer, researchers are seeing more southerly tree species creeping northward into the boreal forest. They’re worried about what climate change could mean for the existing ecosystem, and they are predicting big changes that could make the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness more like southern Minnesota or Iowa by the end of the century.” Even though it is a colossal liberal hoax, you understand …

One more from MPR. Brett Neely says: “With nearly a year and a half until the next election, Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline’s re-election campaign is stepping up its fundraising early after national Democrats announced Kline would be a top target this election cycle and Kline’s challenger last year announced plans to make another try for the 2nd District U.S. House seat. A Kline spokesman said the campaign raised $482,000 in the three month period ending June 30th, a record amount for Kline, and has $1.1 million in the bank. Kline has $750,000 cash at the end of the first quarter, a sign that the campaign’s expenses have been minimal and the focus is on stockpiling funds ahead of what could be an ad blitz by Democrats.”

Not that it took 1,100 people being crushed to death … Thomas Lee of the Strib writes: “Target Corp. said Monday that it has joined a group of national retailers and former U.S. senators to address labor issues in Bangladesh. The Minneapolis-based retailer has been ‘actively engaged’ with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, spokeswoman Jessica Deede said. The alliance, led by Wal-Mart, Gap, and former senators George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe, will focus on improving working conditions in the impoverished Southeast Asian country. The group will hold a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to discuss its proposals. Target and the alliance both declined to comment on specifics, but the group reportedly will announce a $50 million fund to help boost safety for garment workers in Bangladesh.”

You can imagine the gang that coordinated this heist … . Mary Divine of the PiPress reports: “[S]omeone stole the 8-foot-tall inflatable yellow minion — part of a ‘Despicable Me 2’ promotion — from the McDonald’s at 2601 Orleans St. W. in Stillwater early Friday. The thieves stole the $250 inflatable object from the south side of the restaurant between 1 and 4 a.m., according to police reports. The ‘Despicable Me’ minions are small, yellow, cylinder-shaped characters with one or two eyes. They wear blue overalls, glasses and work gloves as they assist villain-turned-good guy and dad Gru. To remove it, someone cut the ropes securing the inflatable to the ground in four spots.” Somehow I doubt they’re going to try and fence it …

Here’s Jim Anderson of the Strib on the prank kidnapping in Forest Lake: “A juvenile and three adults — all sisters — could face charges after staging a phony abduction caught in a bizarre and chilling surveillance video Sunday night at a Wal-Mart store in Forest Lake. The mother of the young women contacted Forest Lake police about 2 p.m. Monday afternoon and reported that the group had perpetrated the prank, which drew intensive media coverage … Even though the video seemed suspect, [Capt. Greg] Weiss said police have to take such incidents seriously. ‘It’s unfortunate, because we really have to do something,’ he said. ‘It puts us in a bad spot, but I’m satisfied with how this was handled. We did everything by the book.’ Investigators spent a lot of hours on the case, and charges or referrals might be pursued.” I know four young women who are going to be keeping Forest Lake ditches and boulevards a lot cleaner …

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by AARON MCCLINTOCK on 07/09/2013 - 07:06 am.

    RE: Wisonsin blurb

    I usually enjoy your snarky comments, but snark’s better when it’s informed snark. “But all that has to be balanced with keeping the base happy …” is an example of bad, uninformed snark. Federal judges have no bases, as they are unelected and serve for life, provided they maintain “good behavior.”

    • Submitted by Jim Camery on 07/09/2013 - 07:39 am.

      I think we’re talking about Walker’s base

      Who’s base is being kept happy with the anti-choice bill (hidden in a budget bill) is pretty clear.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/09/2013 - 08:45 am.

      Actually, the Snark Would Be True if This Were a State Judge

      since Wisconsin now has a highly-contested, very expensive, very ideologically-based system for electing judges which leaves judges in the position where they do, indeed, have to weigh whether the judgement they render will anger some vehement constituency and result in highly-funded-usually-by-outsiders attempts to defeat them in their next election.

      (Attempts have been made to bring a similar system of elections to Minnesota whereby the tools are provided to the wealthy and to outside interest groups to manipulate the Minnesota judiciary in their own favor.)

      That this FEDERAL judge was willing to put this stay in place is a testament to the fact that there is tremendous value in judicial positions that are not, once filled, subject to the vagaries of public opinion,…

      and that there are still a few federal judges that value precedent and the constitution over whatever ideology they originally held when they were appointed.

      It is comforting to know that there are judges who still seek to approach each case with an open mind, but after so many years of Republican presidents appointing “conservative” judges while making it very difficult for Democratic presidents to appoint even moderate, let alone liberal judges, the federal judiciary now has a decidedly big money, big business, anti-woman, anti-labor, anti-little guy bias.

      Sadly, as we see with Supreme Court justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas, in their opinions such as Bush v. Gore, “Citizens United,” and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, Federal judges are now, far too often, seeking to bring about their own favored outcomes,…

      and are willing to twist their interpretations of the constitution beyond all recognition or ignore it completely to support what they ALREADY wish to do – to substitute their own “conservative” ideas in place of the brilliant ideas of our nations’ founders in order to create exactly the “ruled-by-the-rich” nation the founders sought to prevent us from EVER becoming,…

      and, thereby, (unconsciously) bring our nation closer and closer to their own, ideology with the inevitable “King Midas in Reverse,” reverse Robin Hood results we see so clearly playing themselves out in Wisconsin.

    • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 07/09/2013 - 08:46 am.

      I think that comment was aimed at the legislators who enacted the law, not the judge who put the hold on it.

      • Submitted by Brian Lambert on 07/09/2013 - 09:40 am.

        Thank you, sir …

        I was suggesting that it is Scott Walker playing to his base. Not the judge.

        Subtlety is a double-edged sword.

        • Submitted by AARON MCCLINTOCK on 07/09/2013 - 09:56 am.

          On its face, [Judge’s statement about the irreparable harm to women], followed by “But all that has to be balanced with keeping the base happy” does not suggest, subtly or otherwise, any action or consideration by Scott Walker.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/09/2013 - 08:03 am.

    Capitol renovation

    Yep, it’s a heresy that I share.

    Most state capitol buildings are ugly, inefficient relics of the Victorian era. A couple might be kept as examples, but in most cases, the states’ business could be better (as in more efficiently and less expensively) accomplished with solidly-built new structures. I’m not totally opposed to “classical” design, and don’t believe Frank Geary should be allowed near the design competition, but with that aside, we could get almost a quarter of a football stadium for the money being spent to renovate a capitol building that, to a non-native, is indistinguishable from at least a couple dozen state capitol buildings around the country.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/09/2013 - 09:22 am.

    Dead Pine Forests May Equal Catastrophic Forest Fires

    As we have seen out West the past two years and in East Texas last summer, large stands of dead pine trees pose an explosive danger of fast-moving, uncontrollable forest fires.

    For years we have very wisely tried to preserve the pine forests in northern Minnesota in their most pristine condition, but I hope our state and national naturalists and public safety planners are now creating contingency plans to replace the pine forest as they die (which, due to these, newly invasive insect pests and the warming climate, they will).

    It may be tempting to let nature take its course, let the massive fires, with the equally massive numbers of destroyed homes and rural northern communities happen, then let nature re-seed on its own,…

    but this will NOT be our parent’s and grandparent’s climate and it would likely be more useful if we, by careful evaluation of where nature is heading and carefully-designed assistance of ways to help nature along, sought to avoid those conflagrations and that damage, harvested the dead and dying trees while their wood was still salvageable, prevented the massive release of CO2 into the atmosphere that huge forest fires would cause, and helped create what nature, itself might have taken 100 years to accomplish.

  4. Submitted by John Edwards on 07/09/2013 - 04:44 pm.

    Is this Wisconsin?

    Is this WisPost or Minnpost? Brian’s obsession with Wisconsin-related articles is fascinating.
    Whenever he finds a story in that state that he thinks can advance his liberal views in it goes . . . at the expense of Minnesota news.

    Moreover, it would be very helpful for readers of the story to know that Judge Conley is a 2009 Obama appointee so his ruling is not surprising. That vital information was not in Brian’s excerpt, which is understandable because it is highly unlikely it was in the original news story.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/10/2013 - 12:44 pm.

      Thank God no!

      This is not Wisconsin! It is always interesting though how certain white male politicians are driven to legislate on women’s health issues. BTW I can easily identify judges appointed by Bush – so what.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/10/2013 - 01:54 pm.


      Why is the President who appointed a judge “vital” information? You may not know this, but the President spends very little time mulling over District Court appointments. Typically, he rubber-stamps a nomination made by folks on the ground i the state where the judge lives.

      Of course, I understand that conservative media outlets have to mention Obama every chance they get, either because they need to remind their viewers of the context for everything they don’t like, or for other reasons that might be best explained by a mash-up of Freud and Birth of a Nation..

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 07/11/2013 - 11:55 am.


    There are two kinds of people in the world, and it isn’t left vs right or young vs old. There are those who want to stick their noses in your private business and those who don’t.

  6. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 07/11/2013 - 09:15 pm.

    Won’t there always be a judge

    Who will agree that a law is incorrect and stop it’s implementation until a higher court will take a look at it?

Leave a Reply