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Mob Scene in Madison

Last night, a mob seized control of Wisconsin’s state Capitol. The Capitol was supposed to be secured, but the mob was let in through the ground-floor window of a Democratic legislator. The mob was vulgar and threatening, as usual. Ann Althouse’s husband Meade shot this video on the scene:

Ann reports that this morning, the mob tried to prevent Wisconsin’s Assembly from voting by blocking Republicans from entering the Capitol:

Legislators can get into the building, but Republicans are being blocked from getting to their offices and into the Assembly chamber. It’s the Assembly that needs to vote on the bill that the Senate passed last night, leading to the renewed protests. Meade heard from a source that Democratic legislators unlocked at least one door that leads to the doors for a cluster of Republican legislative offices. That would appear to be part of a scheme to prevent the vote.
“This is what democracy looks like” — that’s the chant we’ve heard for 3 weeks. How do you like this new democracy, that has a mob storming the Capitol and, with the aid of the minority party, blocking the access of the majority party into their offices and into the legislative chamber? It looks more like anarchy to me.

The attack on democracy that the Democratic Party has launched in Wisconsin is disgraceful. It amounts to an attempt to reverse the 2010 election. No one, regardless of political orientation, should countenance the Democrats’ deployment of mob rule.
UPDATE: The comment of the day comes from George Turner:

http://law.justia.com/codes/wisconsin/2010/13/13.26.html:

Wisconsin Code 13.26 13.26(1) Each house may punish as a contempt, by imprisonment, a breach of its privileges or the privileges of its members; but only for one or more of the following offenses:

13.26(1)(b) Disorderly conduct in the immediate view of either house or of any committee thereof and directly tending to interrupt its proceedings.

13.26(1)(d) Giving or offering a bribe to a member, or attempting by menace or other corrupt means or device to control or influence a member’s vote or to prevent the member from voting.
13.26(2) The term of imprisonment a house may impose under this section shall not extend beyond the same session of the legislature.

Very interesting. The procedure for punishing a malefactor for contempt is set out in the following section:

13.27 Punishment for contempt.
13.27(1) Whenever either house of the legislature orders the imprisonment of any person for contempt under s. 13.26 such person shall be committed to the Dane County jail, and the jailer shall receive and detain the person in close confinement for the term specified in the order of imprisonment, unless the person is sooner discharged by the order of such house or by due course of law.
13.27(2) Any person who is adjudged guilty of any contempt of the legislature or either house thereof shall be deemed guilty also of a misdemeanor, and after the adjournment of such legislature, may be prosecuted therefor in Dane County, and may be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than one year in the county jail.

This is obviously based on a very quick review, but I understand this to mean that if either house of the Wisconsin legislature can identify some of the rioters–ringleaders, presumably, who may be known by name–they can by vote order such persons imprisoned for the remainder of the legislative session. Something to consider.

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