Thursday, June 16, 2011
For the past five years, since before the gut-check woman (Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler) was elected to our State Supreme Court, I have blogged, written, railed, and wailed that our highest court was becoming dysfunctional.
Well, they’re there. Fully dysfunctional.
The speedy justice they delivered regarding Judge Sumi and Act 10 (the so-called “budget repair bill”) has again exposed the highest court as a bunch of bickering, partisan spoiled brats, and has moved the general public’s confidence in the courts down still another notch.
No matter which “side” you’re on, the justices have given us plenty to grouse about concerning this case. If you’re on the right, you likely believe that Judge Maryann Sumi was a “Dane County Liberal Activist” who overstepped her bounds when she held up publication of the Act, preventing its implementation. If you’re on the left, you likely believe that the Supreme Court acted in a totally partisan way in making the decision, and that Justice Prosser delivered the goods for his pals, just in the nick of time.
This whole stinking mess played out in what is certainly the most partisan political atmosphere in state history. The Supreme Court has been a circus ever since Justice Ziegler’s campaign, amplified by the campaign of Justice Gableman, and typified most recently by the disgusting spectacle of the public spat between Justice Prosser and Chief Justice Abrahamson.
Confidence in the courts is no small matter. Judge Sumi is a circuit court judge, and the words “Dane County Liberal” should not be used as a descriptor, not even by the Senate Republican Leader. Nor should our state’s highest court be thought of by anyone, including the Assembly Democratic Leader, as bought-and-paid-for by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. But that’s the way it is, like it or not, in the hyper-partisan politics of the 21st century.
For my two cents, this case should never have been heard by Judge Sumi in the first place. They used to teach in high school civics in Wisconsin that the legislature makes its own rules, plain and simple, and those rules are NOT subject to judicial review. The courts come into play when someone alleges their rights have been violated by a law ALREADY PASSED AND IN EFFECT. Now, we’re left with the uncomfortable question of whether or not the legislature is bound by the state’s Open Meetings law, what really constitutes “publishing” a law in Wisconsin, if union-organizing is really a “constitutional right”, and many other important questions which have a huge and direct bearing on how the state legislature conducts its business.
This accusation by one "side" of the Supreme Court that the other "side" based their decision on politics, rather than law, is extremely troubling. This is unprecedented stuff, uncharted territory. It casts every decision - past, present, and future - by this court, into doubt. The people of Wisconsin should step in and put a stop this sort of dangerous, inflammatory behavior by the Justices of our Supreme Court. In other words, this should NOT be allowed to stand.
In other words, we’re screwed. We need to recall a few Supreme Court justices, along with the other politicians.
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 11:48 AM