Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

This is what democracy looks like

9

The state Supreme Court reinstated the budget repair law as expected, overturning Judge Maryann Sumi in a stinging opinion. The Supreme Court decision was 4-3 with Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler in the majority.

The court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi’s ruling, which had held up implementation of the collective bargaining law, was void ab initio, or invalid from the outset.

In its decision, the state’s high court concluded that “choices about what laws represent wise public policy for the state of Wisconsin are not within the constitutional purview of the courts.”

The court concluded that Sumi exceeded her jurisdiction, “invaded” the Legislature’s constitutional powers and erred in halting the publication and implementation of the collective bargaining law.

The court added that its role is limited to determining whether the Legislature employed a “constitutionally violative process in the enactment of the act. We conclude that the Legislature did not violate the Wisconsin Constitution by the process it used.”

Here’s the ruling.

By the way, former Justice Janine Geske must feel a little embarrassed.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske says a quick decision is unlikely in the open meetings case regarding the passage of the collective bargaining law.

She says there could be a quick decision on whether the justices will take the case in general. Deciding the merits of the case, however, could take some time. And that means lawmakers shouldn’t count on a quick ruling as they take up the budget starting Tuesday.

Even if the justices can reach a resolution, Geske said she expects a split decision that will take some time to draft, particularly because there’s more than just this case at stake, including the potential to shape the “whole legislative-judicial relationship.”

“We could have the mirror image of this down the road where the Democrats were in power and the Republicans weren’t, and the result ought to be the same,” Geske said in a new WisPolitics interview. “The court is going to be writing for the future in terms of guidance both for the Legislature and for the court system, and that’s what becomes difficult. It’s not whether someone wins or loses here, but what is the law in this area.”

Everybody and their grandmother was expecting this decision any minute, and she was predicting weeks.

By the way, I just want to wish a very special happy birthday to Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now (the self-described partisan organization with the fascist-sounding name). Here’s your present!

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