So today Judge Sumi reminded the Walker administration and Attorney General Van Hollen that her original temporary restraining order from last week was still in effect and that no further action of ANY kind to enact Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill” was allowed in reference to the Walker administration’s bullying of the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish the bill. Her exact quote was:
“Now that I’ve made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin.”
You can read more about today’s activities in the Wisconsin State Journal’s article titled “Judge bars further implementation of collective bargaining law, threatens sanctions”.
Now, the right wing is all upset about this (naturally) and are accusing the Judge Sumi of bias and saying that she should recuse her self because of past dealings with unions. If you can stomach the vitriol you can read about it with what Andrew Breitbart is serving up at his Big Government Web site. I’d like to remind these right wingers of a couple of points here:
- The current case that Judge Sumi is presiding over actually has NOTHING TO DO WITH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING NOR UNIONS. How can that be you ask? Well it’s because it’s the lawsuit filled by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne about the violation of Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Laws. The actual topic of whatever was voted on in the offending Legislative session is irrelevant. Judge Sumi has no conflict of interest with Open Meetings Laws, so she’s free to rule on this.
- Judge Sumi actually has donated small amounts of money to both Republicans and Democrats. Also, she was appointed to the court by Republican Tommy Thompson. Click here for more details.
Besides, if you want to argue about judges and recusing themselves one needs look no further than US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his Republican activist wife Virginia Thomas who up until November 2010 worked for the Tea Party group called Liberty Central. Or one could look at how Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has said he doesn’t recuse himself either, even though he was the former Republican leader in the Wisconsin Legislature. Click here for more details.
So in the last 3 weeks we’ve seen Walker in the Republicans do the following:
I guess the old saying about being “in for a penny, in for a pound” is true. But seriously, if they’re so confident that this is what’s so good for people and what the people want why do they have to keep thumbing their noses at the law, rushing things through, and operating under the cover of darkness. The only thing I can think of is that Walker and the Republicans know their goose is cooked and the only way to get what they want is to keep playing hardball.
Regardless, things should really start getting interesting as Judge Sumi is scheduled to resume hearings on the restraining order tomorrow morning in Madison. At that time we’ll get an idea about what she thinks about the restraining order that she issued being violated (assuming she thinks it was).
What is it with these Republicans currently in charge in Wisconsin? From Walker to the Fitzgerald boys none of them make any sense. They say their primary goal is to fix the budget and that they need $3.6 billion in concessions from the public sector to do that. They say that State workers need to pay more for health care and pension costs. Ok, fine. The unions agreed to all of these financial demands on Friday, February 18th. Now Walker and the GOP say that’s not enough and that the only way to solve the budget problem is to give the municipalities the tools that they need by ending collective bargaining ability of employees. According to the Republicans somehow the collective bargaining ability of employees keeps the local municipalities from being able to solve their budget problems. Huh? If local governments know how much they can spend and how much they need to save why on Earth would they agree to a contract with anybody that was more than what they could pay for? Agreements by definition are between 2 different parties. Nobody is forcing the local governments to sign deals that they can’t pay for. Besides as what’s been repeatedly demonstrated by the employees and people protesting these last 2 weeks is that they ARE willing to and HAVE concede(d) all the money the State and the local governments need to balance their budgets. That sounds like a problem solved to me. The thing that I haven’t even mentioned yet is that a large group of local government leaders from around the State of Wisconsin have just sent a letter to Walker saying that THEY DON’T WANT collective bargaining rights of employees eliminated (Click here for letter). In fact they say that in fact the elimination of these rights causes more problems than it solves. Finally, if ending collective bargaining rights of public employees is the end all solution for solving budget problems why is it that Texas has one of the largest budget problems in the whole country (up to 20% of the state’s GDP) (Click here for article)? Why do I mention Texas you ask? Well because it’s been run by a Republican governor for about 10 years now, is highly deregulated, and is one of the most anti-union states in the entire country. The public employees their can’t even negotiate for salary. So if busting the unions is the answer to budget problems why hasn’t it not just worked in Texas, but why isn’t Texas the poster child for financial security?