Breaking: WI judge issues third version of TRO

posted at 11:01 am on March 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Nothing builds confidence in a judicial decision that has to get rewritten twice in order to actually have its intended effect.  Judge Maryann Sumi has revised her temporary restraining order yet again in order to stop the state of Wisconsin from enforcing its reform bill:

The contentious collective bargaining law, Wisconsin Act 10, which would strip most public workers of nearly all collective bargaining rights and force them to contribute more to their pension and health plans, is not in effect, according to an amended restraining order released on Thursday morning.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi made the amended ruling at 8:15 a.m. She has already issued an emergency order blocking Wisconsin’s secretary of state from publishing the law. Sumi called a hearing Tuesday to weigh District Attorney Ismael Ozanne’s lawsuit alleging Republican legislative leaders violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law during debate on the proposal.

Sumi re-issued her order on Tuesday — and this time she has warned that anyone who violates it will face sanctions. She amended the ruling on Thursday to read, “Further, based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29 evidentiary hearing, it is hereby declared that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published …”

If Sumi expects to have her decisions upheld by the state Supreme Court, perhaps she should take care to write them properly in the first place.   She will have trouble explaining how she justified interfering with the publication of  law in defiance with Wisconsin precedent, and I doubt that the Supreme Court will give her three tries to get that right.  Furthermore, her commentary about the legislature’s ability to work around her won’t exactly be seen as uninterested jurisprudence, either.

This puts even more pressure on the Supreme Court to take the case immediately and clarify matters, not the least of which is Sumi’s attempt to enjoin parties not part of the original lawsuit.


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