WI Supreme Court Upholds Walker Union Bill, Smacks Down Judge Sumi
Well, that was quick… and quite the smackdown for the judge that tried to stop the bill in its tracks.
Here’s the interesting part (emphasis mine):
¶4 IT IS ORDERED that the certification and motions for temporary relief in Case No. 2011AP613-LV are denied.
¶5 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the petition for original jurisdiction in Case No. 2011AP765-W is granted, State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983), and all motions to dismiss and for supplemental briefing are denied.
¶6 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all orders and judgments of the Dane County Circuit Court in Case No. 2011CV1244 are vacated and declared to be void ab initio.State ex rel. Nader v. Circuit Court for Dane Cnty., No. 2004AP2559-W, unpublished order (Wis. S. Ct. Sept. 30, 2004) (wherein this court vacated the prior orders of the circuit court in the same case).
¶7 This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature. It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides: “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.” Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part: “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published. (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”
The Dane County Circuit Court listed in paragraph 6 is the one Judge Sumi sits on… therefore, paragraph 6 is vacating all of her various attempts to stop this law… I’m not a lawyer, but my research on “ab initio” indicates that the Supreme Court is saying that Judge Sumi’s orders were flawed and/or illegal from the beginning.
Paragraph 7, of course, is perfectly correct in describing what Judge Sumi was trying to do… overturn a law that was legally enacted simply because she disagrees with it, not because it violates any sort of law (legislative procedures do not normally have the force of law). As the decision itself states (again, emphasis mine):
¶13 It also is argued that the Act is invalid because the legislature did not follow certain notice provisions of the Open Meetings Law for the March 9, 2011 meeting of the joint committee on conference. It is argued that Wis. Stat. § 19.84(3) required 24 hours notice of that meeting and such notice was not given. It is undisputed that the legislature posted notices of the March 9, 2011 meeting of the joint committee on conference on three bulletin boards, approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes before the start of the meeting. In the posting of notice that was done, the legislature relied on its interpretation of its own rules of proceeding. The court declines to review the validity of the procedure used to give notice of the joint committee on conference. See Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d at 361. As the court has explained when legislation was challenged based on allegations that the legislature did not follow the relevant procedural statutes, “this court will not determine whether internal operating rules or procedural statutes have been complied with by the legislature in the course of its enactments.” Id. at 364. “[W]e will not intermeddle in what we view, in the absence of constitutional directives to the contrary, to be purely legislative concerns.” Id. The court’s holding in Stitt was grounded in separation of powers principles, comity concepts and “the need for finality and certainty regarding the status of a statute.” Id. at 364-65.
This is a stunning rebuke of a sitting judge, but then that judge’s actions were stunning in and of themselves.