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Griffin v. Wisconsin State Government Accountability Board
April 28, 2010
I GRIFFIN (SPIRITUALLY KNOWN AS ISIS ARIEL MAGDALAH), PLAINTIFF,
WISCONSIN STATE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY BOARD, WISCONSIN BAR ASSOCIATION, JUDGE THOMAS DONEAGAN, JOHN DOES, AND JANE DOES, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: J.P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
Pro se plaintiff I. Griffin, who asserts that she is also "spiritually known as Isis Ariel Magdalah," files an application for a writ of quo warrantor and a motion for an intervention of right. Griffin's motion alleges that Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas Donegan*fn1 is not qualified to hold his position because he did not take the federally required oath of office. The motion also challenges the requirement that an individual must have retained a law license for at least five years to run for Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge. Finally, Griffin makes allegations against the Wisconsin Bar Association claiming that it has an unconstitutional monopoly on "judicial elections" and is "restricting and discouraging interstate commerce." Griffin's confusing motion suggests that her motivation for filing was her inability to run for Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge against incumbent Judge Donegan. For the reasons discussed below, the court will deny her motion.
Quo warrantor is an ancient and extraordinary remedy used to correct the "usurpation, mis-user, or non-user, of a public officer or corporate franchise." United States ex rel. Wisconsin v. First Federal Savings & Loan Association, 248 F.2d 804, 807 (7th Cir. 1957). The writ can be used to determine if an individual is in lawful possession of a public office, and then, if the official is not in lawful possession of the office, to oust that individual. Heller v. CACL Federal Credit Union, 775 F. Supp. 839, 843 n.7 (E.D. Pa. 1991). However, federal courts do not have original jurisdiction over quo warrantor proceedings. First Federal Savings, 248 F.2d at 808-09. ("there is no original jurisdiction in the federal district courts to entertain a writ in the nature of quo warrantor.").
Griffin's action must be dismissed because the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. Further, even if the court did have jurisdiction, her action for quo warrantor fails on the merits. Griffin argues that Judge Donegan does not properly hold his position because he never took the oath of office required by Section 8 of the Judiciary Act of 1789. However, this oath applies to federal judges and justices. Judge Donegan is a state court judge serving in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Therefore, Judge Donegan is not required to take the federal oath.
The court now turns to Griffin's request to intervene. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24, a court must permit a party to intervene when: 1) a federal statute gives the party an unconditional right to intervene; or 2) the party claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a). A party filing such a motion must state the ...
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