Wisconsin Anti-Worker Law Struck Down
Good news may be short-lived.
by Stephen Lendman
It happened last year as well. On May 27, 2011, Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi rescinded Walker's bill. In a 33-page decision, she ruled Republican lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open meetings law.
On March 18, she placed it on temporary hold. Victory was short-lived. Republican lawmakers immediately appealed to Wisconsin's Supreme Court. They urged a prompt ruling. They faced a June 30 budget deadline.
They warned without prompt resolution they'd include anti-worker provisions in the budget bill. They practically intimidated the High Court to accommodate them.
It didn't disappoint. On June 14, the Supreme Court ruled 4 - 3 for reinstatement. They claimed legislators weren't subject to state open meeting law provisions. As such, they acted lawfully.
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson disagreed. She rebuked her colleagues sharply. She accused them of judicial errors and faulty judgment, saying:
The Court unjustifiably "reached a predetermined conclusion not based on the fact(s) and the law, which undermines the majority's ultimate decision."
Majority justices, in fact, "make their own findings of fact, mischaracterize the parties' arguments, misinterpret statutes, minimize (if not eliminate) Wisconsin constitutional guarantees, and misstate case law, appearing to silently overrule case law dating back to at least 1891."
Republicans praised the decision. Democrats said they'd amend state constitutional provisions to assure meetings law enforcement. Doing so could take years. They'd also have to regain majority rule.
In March 2011, a protracted Senate battle ended when hard-line Republicans violated Wisconsin's open meetings law. It requires 24 hours prior notice for special sessions unless giving it is impossible or impractical.
The epic battle ended along party lines after State Assembly members passed Walker's bill 53 - 42. It followed the Senate voting 18 - 1 with no debate. The measure read in part:
"This bill authorizes a state agency to discharge any state employee who fails to report to work as scheduled for any three unexcused working days during a state emergency or who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit-down, stay-in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls."
"Under the bill, engaging in any of these actions constitutes just cause for discharge."