From Madison, Wisconsin’s ABC affiliate WKOW:
MADISON (WKOW) — The state Supreme Court has struck down Dane County Judge MaryAnn Sumi’s restraining order on the collective bargaining law.
Allahpundit breaks out the so-called “humpbot” with trepidation. Law Professor William A Jacobson of Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion hits some overviews of pertinent portions of the decision before focusing in on paragraph 13:
The Court adopted the argument I had made here many times, that the Courts had no business questioning the legislatures interpretation of its own rules:
¶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….
This is a sweeping victory for Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker. (And for my prior legal anaylsis, but that’s another matter. I’ll be spiking the football, for sure.)
This also is a vindication for the legal strategy of not backing down to the unjust, unwise, uncalled-for, unlawful rulings of Judge Sumi, who engaged in clearly unsound legal reasoning which — whether intended or not — took on the appearance of political posturing.
Definitely goto Law Professor William A Jacobson’s site so you can follow his well-deserved football-spike. The good professor noted paragraph 7 in his “highlight-in-passing” on his way to paragraph 13. I want to focus in on paragraphs 7-9 because it is a very powerful smack-down of activist Judge Maryann Sumi and her decision to ignore Wisconsin’s Constitution and the Separation of Powers that is so critical in a Constitutional Republic.
¶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.”
¶8 In Goodland v. Zimmerman, 243 Wis. 459, 10 N.W.2d 180 (1943), the court focused on fundamental separation of powers principles and addressed whether a court has the power to enjoin publication of a bill duly enacted by the legislature. The court first explained that “governmental powers are divided among the three departments of government, the legislative, the executive, and judicial.” Id. at 466-67. The court then explained that the “judicial department has no jurisdiction or right to interfere with the legislative process. That is something committed by the constitution entirely to the legislature itself.” Id. at 467. The court held that “[b]ecause under our system of constitutional government, no one of the co-ordinate departments can interfere with the discharge of the constitutional duties of one of the other departments, no court has jurisdiction to enjoin the legislative process at any point.” Id. at 468. The court noted that “[i]f a court can intervene and prohibit the publication of an act, the court determines what shall be law and not the legislature. If the court does that, it does not in terms legislate but it invades the constitutional power of the legislature to declare what shall become law. This [a court] may not do.” Id.
¶9 Although all orders that preceded the circuit court’s judgment in Case No. 2011CV1244 may be characterized as moot in some respects, the court addresses whether a court can enjoin publication of a bill. The court does so because whether a court can enjoin a bill is a matter of great public importance and also because it appears necessary to confirm that Goodland remains the law that all courts must follow. State v. Cramer, 98 Wis. 2d 416, 420, 296 N.W.2d 921 (1980) (noting that we consider questions that have become moot “where the question is one of great public importance . . . or of public interest,” or “where the problem is likely to recur and is of sufficient importance to warrant a holding which will guide trial courts in similar circumstances”). Accordingly, because the circuit court did not follow the court’s directive in Goodland, it exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers under Article IV, Section 1 and Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution, and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.
Very clearly, Judge Maryann Sumi usurped the authority the Wisconsin Constitution placed exclusively in the hands of the Wisconsin Legislature. And, very clearly, the Wisconsin Supreme Court smacked her down but hard and issued a very clear and powerful declaration toward any other activist Judge who would, in the future, try to legislate from a Wisconsin Bench.
I also want to focus in on paragraphs 15 and 16 of the decision.
¶15 The court’s decision on the matter now presented is grounded in separation of powers principles. It is not affected by the wisdom or lack thereof evidenced in the Act. Choices about what laws represent wise public policy for the State of Wisconsin are not within the constitutional purview of the courts. The court’s task in the action for original jurisdiction that we have granted 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.
¶16 Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and Justice N. Patrick Crooks concur in part and dissent in part from this order.
Clearly the Rule of Law won today. Also, while the decision was 4-3, the 3 dissenters nevertheless “concur[red] in part” with the majority decision.
Let’s break it down a bit, shall we?
1) The Wisconsin Legislature did not violate the Wisconsin Constitution in its actions.
2) Governor Walker did not violate the Wisconsin Constitution in his actions.
3) Judge Maryann Sumi did violate the Wisconsin Constitution in her activist actions.
4) The Courts have no jurisdiction over internal Legislature rules.
5) Leftists and law-breaking Unions, mobs, activist Judges hardest hit.
This is a win for Rule of Law and Separation of Powers and a loss for thugocracy and mob-rule. But let’s not rest on our laurels, shall we?