Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Judge Rules Against Walker’s Anti-Union Bill on a Technicality; But Walker and The Fitzgeralds Could Still Ram It Through Again
I was doing errands this morning before noon, and suddenly I was aware that Capitol Square was thick with suits. At least two media trucks were in evidence, and there was the occasional, triumphant honk of a vuvuzela, one of the rallying instruments used during the February Uprising. I should have known what was up:
A Wisconsin judge struck down the state’s controversial anti-collective bargaining law on Thursday, but Democratic state senators say that doesn’t mean the measure won’t still go into effect. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin’s open meeting law when passing the measure, which strips most public employees in the state of collective bargaining rights. A March 9 committee meeting on the measure, concluded Sumi, was “held on less than two hours notice in a location that was not open and accessible to citizens.”
“Judge Sumi’s ruling today speaks for itself, the Republicans’ actions violated the law,” said state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) in a statement. “Today we see the price of the Republicans refusing to negotiate and putting their partisan political advantage ahead of the best interests of the people of Wisconsin.”
Senate Republicans rushed to pass the anti-union bill on March 9, while their Democratic colleagues were still out of town. Democrats had left the state to deny their Republican colleagues the quorum needed to pass budget-related measures. But in an unexpected move, Walker and the Republican lawmakers split their bill into two, allowing the non-budget collective bargaining measure to fly through with no Democrats in the room.
The state Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for June 6 to determine whether it will take the case. If it decides to do so, both Republicans and Democrats widely believe that based on the court’s ideological make-up, the law will be upheld.
“If [Republicans] can get a Supreme Court appeal, I know we’ll lose on that,” said state Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee).
But it may not even make it that far; Republicans may not be able to appeal to higher courts in this instance. That’s because, as a Democratic state Senate aide explained, Republicans asserted legislative immunity so they would not be party to the case when it was initially considered. Democrats, instead, took up the defense, so as to allow a legal challenge to come forward.
So without a member of the defense interested in an appeal (the Democrats certainly won’t petition for one), it’s not entirely clear how the case moves forward.
There will probably be an update later this evening regarding the defeat of the bill in court from one of the media outlets here in Madison. This video above is from the noon news show. I will revise the video should the new one say anything further.
Understand that Judge Sumi did not rule on the merits of the law, merely that the Republicans had broken the rules in not adequately informing the Democrats, according to the Open Meetings Law, as to their next move. So that means that these idiots are going to try it again, but it won’t be easy this time. Some of those Republicans who voted for this questionable bill are facing recall efforts; some GOP moderates also have had second thoughts about Walker and the Fitzgeralds’ (i.e., The Troika) strong-arm, lawless tactics causing bad feeling all over the state, and not just in Madison. Rep. Paul Ryan‘s (he with the Eddie Munster hair line) Medicare bill has struck fear among elderly Wisconsinites and their families, and surely throughout the country; and former Governor Tommy Thompson is making tentative moves towards running for Senator Herb Kohl‘s Senate seat in 2012. It’s been extremely bad politics and extremely bad timing. While Scotty may not be thinking of his own survival (he’s still facing recall), his continual disregard for Wisconsin voters, Wisconsin prosecutors as well as union members may make his agenda even harder to push.
A more prudent man would keep his head down and make friends and influence people, but no. This guy and his friends are fanatics. And that’s one thing Americans cannot stand, fanatics.