WI Republicans will have to be courageous one more time

How could Wisconsin Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi do otherwise than strike down Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining bill? Her son, remember, was a former field manager for both the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.

Of course, Sumi promised her son’s prior affiliations wouldn’t affect her in any way. “My kids are adults, they are independent and they lead their own lives. I do not consult my family about my decisions,” she said in a statement in March, after conservative bloggers at Big Government and elsewhere first called the conflict to light.

Maybe Sumi wasn’t biased against the bill. But if that was hard to believe before, it’s even harder to believe now, after she has dismantled it entirely and with flimsy justification. What’s worse is Republicans are by no means guaranteed an appeal to the state Supreme Court:

Republicans may not be able to appeal to higher courts in this instance. That’s because, as a Democratic state Senate aide explained, Republicans asserted legislative immunity so they would not be party to the case when it was initially considered. Democrats, instead, took up the defense, so as to allow a legal challenge to come forward.

So without a member of the defense interested in an appeal (the Democrats certainly won’t petition for one), it’s not entirely clear how the case moves forward.

Fortunately, there’s another way:

Democrats widely expect Republicans in the state legislature to simply attempt to re-pass the measure as law, and this time, the Democratic state senators won’t be leaving the state to slow down the process. …

The only way the outcome could change, Carpenter believes, is if some of the Republican senators facing recall elections change their minds.

It must be extremely nerve-wracking to face a recall election as a politician, but the bill has been a sound piece of legislation from the start and the Republicans, even those whose own political futures are uncertain, know this. They’ve demonstrated courage and resolve in the face of countless protesters, 14 irresponsibly absent senators and one clearly partial judge. Which would be worse to lose — a recall election or the courage of conviction and principled perseverance they’ve come to be known for? If the tenacity they’ve shown in the past is any indication, they’ll repass the bill.