Recall groups not allowed to take part in GOP lawsuit

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- A Waukesha County judge ruled Thursday that those behind the effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other Republican lawmakers cannot be a part of a lawsuit filed by the Walker campaign, regarding exactly who is responsible for examining recall petitions, and throwing out fake and duplicate names. The judge is expected to take up this case next week.

The lawsuit brought on by the Walker campaign is an attempt to make the Government Accountability Board more vigilent in examining recall petitions, and throwing out fake or duplicate names. This comes after the GAB said they won't automatically disqualify names like Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler, as long as they're accompanied by a valid, state of Wisconsin address.

Organizers of the recall effort were hoping to be involved in the lawsuit, that could have big implications in how signatures on petitions are checked and potentially thrown out. Thursday was a rough day in a Waukesha County courtroom for Attorney Jeremy Levinson, who represents those behind the recall effort. Levinson was apparently more than 35 minutes late, and then his request to allow recall organizers to be a part of the lawsuit was denied by a judge.

The judge is expected to look further into the lawsuit next week, and hopefully determine exactly whose job it is to pick out invalid signatures. With thousands of signatures expected, Walker's campaign believes sifting through the petitions is the job of the GAB.

Kevin Kennedy leads the GAB, and says his group will argue it is the recall candidates' responsibility to pick out fake names, duplicate names and unrecognizable signatures as has been done in the past. "We want some clarification from the court as to what the GAB is supposed to do when it receives signatures that are invalid on the face of the petition. That is really what we are focusing on. We are prepared to defend the process that we've developed for reviewing recall petitions," Kennedy said.

The judge's ruling Thursday determined this lawsuit is a fight between Walker's campaign, and the GAB, leaving Levinson's group, or those efforting the recalls on the sidelines. However, Levinson said Thursday one bad day in court isn't killing his confidence. "I remain as confident leaving as I did coming in today that our Governor will face a recall election. There is very little question about that," Levinson said.

This lawsuit is making its way through the court system much faster than normal, with the January 17th deadline for turning in recall petitions looming.