They’re not just blindly defying the order here. The argument, as it was last week when the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law, is that the TRO only names certain parties and therefore only those parties are enjoined by it. There’s no mention of the Department of Administration in the order, so hey — the Department of Administration’s going to go right on ahead and execute the CB law. Grassroots conservatives will love that, but if Wisconsin were chock full of grassroots conservatives, Mickey Kaus wouldn’t be writing posts like this. Now that the judge has doubled down on the initial order and emphasized that the law shouldn’t be implemented further until there’s been a ruling on the merits (“That’s what I now want to make crystal clear”), if GOP officials ignore her and go ahead with it, they’ll be held in contempt and it’ll play straight into the left’s hands before the crucial state supreme court election next week. I.e. “we must stop this lawless band of rogue Republicans by ending their majority on the bench,” etc etc etc
Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said he has a legal obligation to implement all laws that have been passed by the Legislature, signed by Gov. Scott Walker and “published into law.”…
Huebsch pointed out that the DOA is not a party to the lawsuit, and the order “fails to state” the law is not in effect.
“It is unclear how she can issue an order binding non-parties to a case who have not had their day in court,” he said in an email.
A Department of Justice official echoed those statements.
Steven Means, executive assistant to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, said the DOJ continues to believe that Sumi’s order does not apply to state agencies that are not parties in the open meetings lawsuit brought by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.
That’s great, but if the end result of this play is (a) a Democratic-controlled court that’s hostile to the CB law and (b) national momentum for the left after winning the election, it’s an awfully steep price. The vote is next Tuesday; wait until then, at least, and if there hasn’t been progress in the court by then, decide you’re going to go ahead with implementation the next day. Protect Prosser right now as best you can. That should be top priority.