Tuesday, March 29, 2011
"If it wasn't clear last time, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi made it clear on Tuesday: Any further implementation of Gov. Scott Walker's law limiting public employee unions is barred, and anyone who violates her order risks sanctions." excerpt from the Wisconsin State Journal article 3/29/2011, http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_9bb38eb8-5a14-11e0-a6ee-001cc4c03286.html
I have spent a large portion of my day following the progress of the legal proceedings that took place in Madison Wisconsin.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the case, or with the legislative process here in Wisconsin, I can share some links if you're interested in learning more. Suffice to say, Wisconsin is not unique here in the States or in many other parts of the world which have suffered attacks on Unions, entitlement programs, Education and Health Care. It's pretty much the same here as in much of Europe, leaders claim they are "broke" and yet somehow manage to have enough money to provide big tax breaks for the wealthy and fund unending wars and "interventions" in the Middle East.
So, who is Maryann Sumi and how does she fit in? If you're from Wisconsin, it's likely you are at least familiar with her recent role in the Governor Walker/Republican party bag of tricks, manipulations and outright lies that have been employed in an attempt to strip Union bargaining rights, among other things. To tell the entire story would take days, but in a nutshell, the Republican leaders are now being called out on their behavior. The two most pressing issues, lawsuits actually, are in reference to the middle of the night passing of Walkers Union busting bill without giving sufficient notice or allowing an open meeting. The second issue comes in the outright manipulation of constitutional law and legislative process in order to get the bill officially made into Law. In Wisconsin a bill must be published by the Secretary of State before it becomes Law. In this case, the Secretary of State Doug La Follett immediately filed a complaint stating that the Republicans had violated the open meeting rule and therefore the validity of the bill was questionable. This is where Judge Sumi comes in to play. Judge Sumi issued a restraining order which prevented La Follett from publishing the bill until the process could be reviewed to determine if proper procedure had been followed. Here's where it gets good, Assembly leader Scott Fitzgerald, Walkers croney, finds what he thinks is a loophole in the law and has the bill published by the legislative reference bureau (which is usually the role of the Secretary of State, by Law) and then decides that move is adequate to make the bill official law. This event happened last Friday and over the weekend Gov. Walker began implementing changes by raising State employees healthcare and retirement plan contributions, and ceasing payments of Union Dues. What? Who is this guy, Darth Vader?
He may well be, but if so Judge Sumi is the Yoda to Walkers Vader. Throughout a long day of complex, unprecedented process filled with irrelevant arguments and many attempts to derail the process, Judge Sumi maintained her professionalism and authority. She did not hesitate to chastise time wasting or nit-picking and yet gave equal and fair consideration to comments from all sides (unless they began to fall into the nit picky category)
As of today the one clear outcome was that Judge Sumi is not playing and is not afraid to assert her authority in the face of some pretty powerful players...we can only infer that when she say "anyone who violates her order risks sanctions" that includes the Governor himself.
For her Courage, Patience and Integrity Judge Sumi is my heroine of the day!
If you're interested in seeing any or all of the hearing you can view it at- http://www.wiseye.org/
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard