Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

In Wisconsin, All Senate Votes Must Take Place In Front Of Screaming Mobs

In Wisconsin, All Senate Votes Must Take Place In Front Of Screaming Mobs

That apparently is where the case is heading.

According to reports, the testimony before Judge Sumi this morning regarded, in part, the fact that the March 9 Senate Committee meeting to re-work the budget bill (because 14 Democrats had fled), took place in a small room which only could hold 20 spectators, and access to the Capitol was restricted to a single entrance for crowd control purposes (and even then, a closed entrance was breached).

This, the Democratic District Attorney who brought the lawsuit claims, was a breach of the Open Meetings Law and even Senate Rules.  The D.A. called a witness to testify that 3000 people wanted to attend but were denied, as reported by JSOnline:

Nearly 3,000 people tried to get into a key March 9 legislative conference committee meeting, but were unable to do so, a witness testified Friday in Dane County Circuit Court.

Rich Judge, chief of staff to Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), said 2,967 signed their names on a spontaneous petition when they couldn’t get into the meeting where Republican legislators quickly passed a controversial portion of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill. The petition was dropped off at Barca’s office.

Clearly, the committee meeting should have taken place in a stadium, so that all these people — who trapped a Republican Senator outside the Capitol on March 1, could have attended:

Update 3:45 p.m. Eastern – The court concluded the hearing. No ruling was made as to whether there was an Open Meeting Violation (and thus no court ruling on the D.A.’s charges with regard to room and building access), but the Judge continued the TRO against the Secretary of State until the case concludes saying she had heard nothing that would cause her to vacate the TRO.

This means that the “temporary” injunction will remain for at least several weeks, because the necessary parties, namely the legislators, have immunity during and for a period of time before and after the legislative session which starts next week. The Court requested briefing on that issue and the merits of the case, with the final briefs not due for about 7 weeks.

I hate to make gloomy predictions, but based on the court rulings so far, it is likely Judge Sumi will find an Open Meetings Violation.

——————————————–
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
Visit the Legal Insurrection Shop on CafePress!
Bookmark and Share

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Tags:
,

Comments

I still don't understand. Even the judge indicated that the quick fix for this is to do it over. Why not do a call of a senate to lock the democrats in… and, well, do it over?

I want this to pass. But I question the competence of the GOP who can't seem find the ways that any legislative staffer could tell them could be done to get this done.

What's the hold up?

Just so I understand, it's now the law in Wisconsin that no public body can lawfully act unless everyone who wants to be there to physically witness it (or object to it) is in attendance?

@conrad – that hasn't been ruled on by court yet, it's the evidence being presented by the D.A.

@Just A Guy – probably several reasons. First, legislature not in session now, so probably they were hoping for a deserved legal win without having to revote. Second, Supreme Ct. election is next week, and they probably don't want a revote on the front pages. Third, who knows if they have the votes for a revote. Fourth, given all the above (particularly 1 and 2), why should they revote just because a Judge makes a mistaken ruling? That said, I have a feeling that is what it will come to if the court proceedings drag on much longer.

I am absolutely astounded at the complete circus Judge Sumi has turned this into. She's breeding contempt for the law and the courts, and enabling thuggery. If she is successful, Wisconsin is a lost cause – everyone who actually works should just leave and let the wreckers find someone else to pay for it.

Isn't there a legal principle that allows civilized people prevail over mobs? Shouldn't the standard that defines whether "Open Meeting" laws are being violated take into consideration whether a meeting is even possible when the mobs are allowed to prevent a meeting from even taking place?

I'm truly stunned. I listened to the proceedings and 99% of objections made by the attorney for the state were overruled by Sumi.

She is nothing more than a political hack of the worst kind.

This law will not affect me in the least. I live in Georgia but feel truly sorry for what has become of our justice system.

A COUNTY, repeat COUNTY, judge is allowed to halt the proceedings of an entire state. A judge who has no concept of the rule of law, but is on the national stage and refuses to gracefully exit. Shameful.

When I read about this circus, I can't help but recall how the Democrats literally locked the Republicans out of committee hearings while they were drafting the ObamaCare bill.

And recently, we heard Mika Brzezinski wondering (with scorn) why the Republicans in WI “wouldn’t even compromise” with the Democrats.

This theatre of the absurd makes it clear that the Liberal Democratic Socialists are simply pouring the sweet sickening syrup of insincerity on top of everything they are serving up to the public. While I worry whether enough people will actually come to know all of the details and facts relating to these matters, I believe many people are indeed getting a real bad taste in their mouths.

More:

A several-week delay at County Kangaroo level means just that much longer in getting the case to SCOWI.

Since the winner of Tuesday's SCOWI election takes office 8/1/11, it is not hard to imagine CJ Abrahamson delaying SCOWI consideration of the appeal(s) until 8/2/11.

Real American | April 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

as if there was any doubt how this union-controlled hack leftist activist "judge" would rule. There is no rule of law, just rule of union thugs. That's why Walker and the GOP should just ignore her. She has no authority to make these rulings and since she isn't going to follow the law, why should they comply with her "rulings."

I followed the Twitter feeds and the live blogging on Daily Kos which, sad to say, is giving the best live blogging coverage.

The DA spent the day building a record to demonstrate that the Joint Conference Committee (JCC) violated the Open Meetings law. It looks like almost all Sumi's rulings from the bench have favored the DA. No surprise there.

Daily Kos reported that the testimony of Jeff Renk, Assistant Chief Clerk for the Senate, sent a Notice at 4:18 for a 6:00 PM meeting. This does not meet the 2 hour minimum notice period. It shocks me that the Chief Clerk for the Senate can be compelled to testify about Senate business. Apparently parliamentary privilege does not extend to employees the legislature in Wisconsin.

It appears to be uncontroverted that the senate complied with Senate Rule 93(2), which states that no notice is required for special session meetings other than posting a notice on the legislative bulletin board. This should be a complete defense, resulting in a reversal of the TRO and dismissal of the case on summary judgment.

It looks like the hearing concluded with the TRO left in place until the legislative session ends in May, ostensibly so Sumi can obtain the testimony of the Republicans on the committee.

There is no way to spin this. It is a complete disaster for the Walker Administration and the Senate. I would assume that Wisconsin has a mechanism to certify a question to the Supreme Court. If they can get a Supreme Court ruling that Senate Rule 93(2) governs then they can jam it down Sumi's throat. If not I foresee Walker resigning in disgrace.

Would that Scott Walker had the cojones to say, "She doesn't have jurisdiction; we're ignoring her ruling; the law is published and in effect. And to quote her honey, Bambi – we won."

"Kinder, gentler", "new tone" and "new civility" only get you so far. And with Donks, they get you nowhere. Time to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Past time, truth be told.

I do not understand this. We tried to get into a hearing and vote in the CA legislature and were restricted to no more than 30 people as the room wasn't large enough. I guess we should have started a flash mob on the spot. Instead we drew straws (I lost) and decided who would represent us.

"I want this to pass. But I question the competence of the GOP who can't seem find the ways that any legislative staffer could tell them could be done to get this done."

They control the governor, the legislature, and the state's highest court. And after a month, they still can't get an enforceable law passed. But they've managed to alienate every Reagan Democrat in the state, if not the country. How can you question their competence?

"If not I foresee Walker resigning in disgrace."

Wait. The Doyle administration got spanked by the WI Supreme Court for illegal raids on state funds. No one resigned over that to my knowledge. In this case, this is a fight over conflicting rules regarding Senate procedure. How does one extend this to Walker? Perhaps you have been exposed to too many millirems of Dkos?

There was one interesting resignation from the Doyle administration that I am aware of though.
http://retiredoyle.blogspot.com/2009/08/jim-doyle-hiring-illegals.html

"Chandra Miller Fienen, daughter of State Senator Mike Miller, has been employed by Jim Doyle for about a year."

"Chandra Miller Fienan has resigned from her position as Gov. Jim Doyle's legal counsel following reports that she is not licensed to practice law in Wisconsin."

http://retiredoyle.blogspot.com/2009/08/breaking-news-chandra-miller-fienen.html

No license. Legal Counsel. Isn't that interesting…..

"It appears to be uncontroverted that the senate complied with Senate Rule 93(2)"

Wow. That's not what I got out of Jambois' dismantling of the senate clerk. He clearly established the rule establishes the manner of notice but is silent on timing, IMO. You can watch the exchange here.

I can question their competence because while they've had it all their way majority-wise, and could have reconsidered the bill after the democrats returned ("having voted on the prevailing side, I hereby give notice of reconsideration") and got this done before it ever went in front of a judge, they decided not to do so.

Success is the ultimate arbiter of competence.

The actions I'm referring to could have… should have been done several weeks ago. Bifurcating the bill should have happened the day the democrats left, since their presence wasn't required to consider/vote on the non-fiscal aspects of the bill.

I've posted here, weeks ago, that the course was simple, easy to plan and even easier to execute.

That this is even still under discussion is what speaks to the competency issue. Letting it drag on speaks to the competency issue.

This isn't rocket science or Einstein ordering off the menu. So why is Wallace making this appear to be so difficult?

On April 6, call them back into session and get this thing done.

That the judge is wrong pales in comparison to achieving the goal.

The road to hell being paved with the best of intentions aside, my concern is more that the ultimate goal is achieved… less on the road used to get there.

I think the plan will depend on the WI Supreme court election on April 5th.

If Prosser keeps the seat I think Gov Walker will let this run it's course. If Kloppenburg wins the seat we should see a do-over soon afterwards.

If you live in WI go out Tuesday and vote for Prosser. The only thing worse than a political hack judge is a bunch of hacks on the state Supreme court.

"I still don't understand. Even the judge indicated that the quick fix for this is to do it over. Why not do a call of a senate to lock the democrats in… and, well, do it over?"

I think it's clear the legislators wouldn't touch a revote with a 100' pole. They really REALLY want the issue to just go away. With recall efforts making credible threats to their employment and public opinion pretty firmly set against them, the very last thing they want is to have to vote again on the issue. I'd expect there to be some defections if they did unless Walker has some serious markers to call in.

Are Judge Sumi's court proceedings open for mobs to disrupt? Why not? Why shouldn't the "Open Meeting" laws apply? Doesn't the presiding officer of a legislative body have the same power to maintain order during official proceedings that a judge has?

"The only thing worse than a political hack judge is a bunch of hacks on the state Supreme court."

How can you call Sumi a "poitical hack". She was appointed by that liberal pinko, Tommy Thomson.

from Wisconsin open meetings laws:

"A closed session may be held for any of the following purposes:

(a) Deliberating concerning a case which was the subject of any judicial or quasi-judicial trial or hearing before that governmental body."

in addition it's not clear a courtroom meets the definition of "governing body" in the law. It seems to be geared at legislative bodies in specific.

A lot of the questions in this thread could be answered (and usually not the way the poser of the question thought) with a quick perusal:
http://www.wisfoic.org/an-openmeetingslaw.html

Why is it that when Democrats win a majority, they tell Republicans "We won and you have no choice in how we legislate" but when Republicans win a majority, the Democrats demand "cooperation" and tell Republicans they must cave to the demands of the left in the name of bi-partisanship?

I am as disgusted with the Wisconsin Democrats for fleeing their posts as I was with the Killer Ds. Hopefully, history will repeat itself, and in a few years, Wisconsin will have a filibuster proof majority.

I am also disgusted with the actions of the public sector workers of Wisconsin who can't accept that it is time for their gravy train, on the backs of taxpayers, to come to a complete stop.

If Wisconsin doesn't get its budget under control, due to an activist judge who has clearly overstepped her bounds, you can expect to see a mass exodus of those who do NOT belong to the public sector unions and who are willing to take their businesses to RTW states.

I wonder if it every occured to those PSWs who the hell is going to pay their salaries when they are the only ones left in Wisconsin?

sort of runic rhyme | April 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm

"… must take place in front of screaming mobs"

Given the WI dissenter sixties type demographics, politics a la Ed Sullivan and the hysterical hormonal Mopheads' fans come as no surprise.

The Wisconsin judiciary may further expose itself as part of the anarchist-teeny bopper-sexual Revolution posing as conventional leftists who simply remember golden oldie catchy tunes.

Judge Sumi is on the ballot, unopposed, on Tuesday. Write in "anybody but…" 🙂

No, write in Prosser

"If Wisconsin doesn't get its budget under control, due to an activist judge who has clearly overstepped her bounds, you can expect to see a mass exodus of those who do NOT belong to the public sector unions and who are willing to take their businesses to RTW states."

Except the polling shows pretty substantial and often majority support for the union position in Wisconsin:

http://www.wpri.org/polls/March2011/poll0311.html

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_state_surveys/wisconsin/wisconsin_poll_support_for_budget_cutting_not_for_weakening_collective_bargaining_rights

Looks like it's time for Gov. Walker to send out those layoff notices that were ready to go out in March.

I've linked to the following case before, and in my purely personal opinion, it has quite recent precedential value on the question of jurisdiction, and relevance to this matter.

In the 2009 case of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. DOA, found here, the Wisconsin Supreme Court enunciated the outlines of an important principle of court jurisdiction — i.e., the power of courts to review and to act — in cases involving the interplay of both internal legislative rules of proceeding, statutory construction, and constitutional adjudication.

As best as I was able to follow the proceedings yesterday (and I was not there) it seemed to me that there may be some serious questions the parties thereto may end up examining, as to whether Judge Sumi appropriately confined the proceedings within those constitutional boundaries.

I say that because of her continued allowance of testimony, elicited by the DA, regarding purely internal legislative discussions, and witness opinions regarding their views of compliance (or not) with internal House, Senate and Joint rules of proceeding.

Because of that, my personal sense was that the judge may have overstepped the limited bounds of such jurisdiction, ones so recently enunciated by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Here is why I think so.

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. DOA case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court restated the long recognized principal that Courts do indeed have the authority or jurisdiction to interpret whether any statute complies with relevant constitutional directives.

They added that "even if the statute might otherwise be characterized as a legislative rule of proceeding, we may interpret the statute and apply it to the legislative action to determine whether that action complies with the relevant constitutional mandates."

Thus, if the state constitution requires an action or forbearance on the part of the legislature, and an otherwise "purely" internal legislative rule permits or commands otherwise, the Court may appropriately take remedial action to underscore the requirements of the constitutional directive, including, where necessary, ruling on the constitutionality of a legislative rule.

But the Court set the permissible boundary of judicial review and remediation at the doorstep of otherwise purely legislative prerogatives.

Here was how they put it, at page 12:

. . . Article IV, Section 8 of the Wisconsin Constitution states in pertinent part that "[e]ach house may determine the rules of its own proceedings." Rules of proceeding have been defined as those rules having "to do with the process the legislature uses to propose or pass legislation or how it determines the qualifications of its members." Custodian of Records for the LTSB v. State, 2004 WI 65, ¶30, 272 Wis. 2d 208, 680 N.W.2d 792. We have interpreted Article IV, Section 8 to mean that the legislature's compliance with rules of proceeding is exclusively within the province of the legislature, because "a legislative failure to follow [its own] procedural rules is equivalent to an ad hoc repeal of such rules, which the legislature is free to do at any time." Id., ¶28. Accordingly, courts will not intermeddle in purely internal legislative proceedings, even when the proceedings at issue are contained in a statute. State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358, 364, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983).

In other words, recent precedent of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin strongly suggests that courts are not free at all to examine the purely internal workings of the legislative process, including interpreting the compliance or non-compliance with legislative rule(s), except insofar as those rules may impinge on constitutional requirements.

I suppose I should have added in my above comment that, although I was not there at the hearing, I was (on the recommendation of Professor Jacobson), following the Twitter feed of reporter Jessica Arp of WISC-TV in Madison, WI, who indeed was there, and who, I might add, quite thoroughly documented the identification of the various witnesses, as well as much of the content of their testimony during those proceedings.

She also quite helpfully answered many followers' questions that were submitted during the course of the hearing as well.

Thank you, Jessica! Good job!

What is described here, as "incompetence" may also be a fundamental Republican timidness, similar to what we see in D.C. The people, who organized and voted in Republican majorities around the country want action now, and they look forward to having fights if necessary. Timid behavior by the elected Republicans is not well received.
I hope that Prosser wins on Tuesday and that the Republicans then repass the bill.

I agree with Rick that Republican timidity, or even timorousness, is maddening. They always seem so afraid, whereas the Democrats simply don't care a fig as the run roughshod over the rule of law.

Part of the problem is they know the media deck is stacked, and another part is that they know the unionized employees will be breathing down their necks for years to come.

Still, at some point, if they don't get it together, they'll fade away like the Whigs and be replaced by much more militantly fiscal conservative party.

"…you can expect to see a mass exodus of those who do NOT belong to the public sector unions and who are willing to take their businesses to RTW states."

I said something similar several days ago. What sane business owner would consider locating or expanding a business in Wisconsin knowing the public employees want to harm your business if you don't support the public employee demands? Even the police unions are demanding that businesses support the public employee unions or face boycott.

How can a business be sure the police will diligently investigate crimes committed against it if the business doesn't explicitlly support the public union? It strikes me as similar to the "protection rackets" practiced by the mobs of yesteryear. Or maybe the fire department won't respond quickly to an emergency if a business doesn't explicitly support the public employee demands.

The public employee protestors (I'm sure not all public employees are sympathetic with the protestors) have created the impression that Wisconsin is hostile to business. A business owner with expansion plans would have to be insane to locate there rather than a business friendly state.

"In other words, recent precedent of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin strongly suggests that courts are not free at all to examine the purely internal workings of the legislative process, including interpreting the compliance or non-compliance with legislative rule(s), except insofar as those rules may impinge on constitutional requirements. "

But this isn't a matter of following internal rules. It's a matter of following the law. The open meetings law is not an internal rule for the legislative body. It's a law, it has the power of law, and it must therefor be under the purview of the courts.

But this isn't a matter of following internal rules. It's a matter of following the law. The open meetings law is not an internal rule for the legislative body. It's a law, it has the power of law, and it must therefor be under the purview of the courts.

State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983) was also about a statute. The court said: "Because we conclude this court will not determine whether internal operating rules or procedural statutes have been complied with by the legislature in the course of its enactments, we do not address the question of whether sec. 13.49(6), Stats., applies to this legislation.

The case Sumi referred to, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. Department of Administration, 768 N.W.2d 700 (2009), wasn’t about the legislative process used to pass a law, it was about the resultant law — or, more specifically, absence of a law. No law was passed that made the changes to the open record law that were specified by the collective bargaining agreement. That wasn’t merely a statutory violation; it violated the Wisconsin constitutional requirement that all laws be enacted by bills. The defendants argued that the legislature's power to make its own rules extended to the power to enact bills by including them by reference in other bills. The court, except for Abrahamson, rejected that argument.

Why is it, in this supposed two party system, we conservatives always end up behind the eight ball? It seems no matter what we do to try and move the country back to the center we are blocked by some liberal tactic.

The left always seems to have an out and we end up standing there with our proverbial (enter your favorite here) in our hands?

On the other hand, as with the likes of Obamacare, they just push ahead with their agenda and we just have to swallow hard.

It's about time we catch a break!!

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend