Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Overturns Collective Bargaining Ruling

Late this afternoon the Wisconsin Supreme Court posted their ruling that overturns the previous ruling from Dane County Judge Sumi. The lower court found the Republicans in violation of the Open Meetings Law and prevented the publishing of the collective bargaining rights-stripping bill. The Supreme Court didn't rule on whether or not the Republicans violated the Open Meetings Law, just whether or not the law can be enforced.

The court ruled that any law passed in violation of another law is still a law, the Republicans can pass a law by violating the Open Meetings Law or any other law governing the lawmakers, and thus the lower court couldn't prevent the collective bargaining rights-stripping bill from being published. And they did this not to save taxpayer money, as Governor Walker admitted, but to take more money away from taxpayers i.e., public workers.

You read that right, the majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including Justice David Prosser, believes that our lawmakers aren't subject to our laws.

What is the purpose of being able to create laws for lawmakers if they can't be enforced?

Well, it looks like the Republicans got what they wanted out of Prosser. We all knew he would vote against the rights of Wisconsin citizens. Prosser was the key vote. The vote was 4-3 to overturn the previous ruling. Justices Prosser, Gableman, Roggensack and Ziegler concurred with the majority opinion, while justices Abrahamson, Walsh Bradley, and Crooks dissented.

If the Republicans didn't get their way they were going to add the anti-collective bargaining measures to the budget through an extraordinary session. That wouldn't have gone down well for the Republicans, and they know it, which is why they have avoided voting on the bill a second time.

The court didn't conclude that the Republicans followed the rules, just that they don't have to follow them. The Republicans violated the Open Meetings Law when they passed the collective bargaining rights-stripping bill, there's just nothing we can do about it. Unless I'm wrong, the Wisconsin Supreme Court just set legal precedent to allow our lawmakers to violate any law they like.

The collective bargaining rights-stripping bill still isn't law, but there doesn't seem to be anything left to prevent Secretary of State Doug La Follette from being forced to publish it - which will then turn the bill into law.

This was a rushed ruling (less than a week) with very coincidental timing and results. Several justices note the rush to release an opinion in their dissents.

The short decision basically invalidates the Open Meetings Law by making it unenforceable, and the ruling begs more questions than it answers. In my non-legal opinion, the Supreme Court didn't properly address the issues in this case, they barely addressed them at all.

Looks like political collusion to me!

Come to the Capitol to protest this ruling and the Walker budget, a massive protest is happening right now!

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