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 it’s generally been a pretty good couple of days all things considered. There was the big rally at the Capitol Square on Saturday the 26th that drew between 70,000 – 100,000 people. Of these people in attendance there were very few Walker / Tea Party supporters…. and when I say very few I mean like less than 50 people in total. Not too shabby. Walker went on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning where he regurgitated the same old garbage that he’s been saying for weeks now. David Gregory actually held his feet to the fire a bit (of course not the level I’d prefer, but you can’t have everything) which you could tell was irritating Walker. I think his generally insecurity as a person came out a bit when he started to have to answer a few “big boy” questions. Also on Sunday the government tried to remove the protesters from the Capitol, ostensibly for cleaning purposes, at 4 PM. There was an announcement made earlier in the day that this would happen and at 4 PM the police started asking people to leave. Some did leave, but others were determined not to and didn’t. The interesting thing though was that the police did not step in, start arresting people, and hauling them out. As always it appears the police know what side they’re truly on and are really cool with the protesters (as they are protesters themselves!). Finally a new New York Times / CBS News poll was released today showed that nationwide the US public “oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent.” This is an increase in percentage points for opposing weakening rights of previous polls from the past couple of weeks. The poll also suggested that Americans would rather increase taxes that decrease services. Interesting.
Which brings me to my pessimistic blog post title. Walker is due to release his FY2011-2013 budget tomorrow (3/1/2011) at a press conference. No one was expecting it to be very pleasant to begin with, but based on the fact that it’s one of the last major weapons in his arsenal that he has complete control over and with the heat he’s been taking I’m expecting him to be more brutal and vindictive with it. The reasons for this belief are that he acts like a spoiled brat (not bratwurst mind you, but the ornery child type) to begin with and we all know how those types like to lash out when they’re not getting their way. Another reason for this is to possible try to prove that his two threats last week to start laying workers off weren’t just paper tigers. In case I haven’t mentioned it he first threatened to layoff 1500 people if the Wisconsin 14 didn’t come back and pass his debt restructuring scheme by last Friday and then warned that he’d “have to” layoff 5000-6000 people if his plans weren’t passed by Tuesday (tomorrow). We’ll see what happens there as there was a new article put out today that details his debt restructuring scheme as nothing more than borrowing money on a 10 year loan which will actually cost the Wisconsin taxpayer $14 Million the first 2 years. If he succeeds in this plan he’ll be joining the ranks of all the other governors that he constantly scolds for “kicking the can down the road” and not “dealing with the problem today.” Hypocrite. We’ll also see where he gives his budget press release from as even though they failed to clear the Capitol building last night, they are slowly but quietly trying to get everyone out as they’re not allowing anyone into the building any more. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has a great blog post on it today.
All that said I have to leave this post with one final thought. I stumbled across the following story today which sums up the whole state of the US economy and Tea Party politics:
“A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, ‘Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie.’ “