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Thursday, May 26, 2011

It’s Always up to the Judges

"I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father.'" — American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Fox News reports that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi strikes down Wisconsin collective bargaining Law:

“Wisconsin's law taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public workers was struck down Thursday by a circuit court judge but the ruling will not be the final say in the union fight that brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol earlier this year.

The state Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for June 6 to decide whether it will take the case and Republicans who control the Legislature could also pass the law a second time to avoid the open meeting violations that led to the judge's voiding the law Thursday.

Gov. Scott Walker pushed for the law as a way to help balance the state budget. His spokesman had not seen the ruling and had no immediate comment. Spokesmen for Republican leaders in the Legislature also did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Walker and Republican leaders have said they would pass the law again as part of the state budget next month if necessary.

A spokesman for Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, whose office defended the state, did not return a call. Ismael Ozanne Whil, the Dane County district attorney who argued for striking down the law, also did not immediately return a message.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin's open meetings law during the run-up to the bill's passage in March. She said that renders the law void. She had previously put the law on hold temporarily while she considered the case.

Sumi said violating the open meetings law betrays the public's trust.

"The court must consider the potential damage to public trust and confidence in government if the Legislature is not held to the same rules of transparency that it has created for other governmental bodies," she wrote in a 33-page decision. "Our form of government depends on citizens' trust and confidence in the process by which our elected officials make laws, at all levels of government."

The law called for public workers at all levels, from janitors at the state Capitol to local librarians, to contribute more to their pension and health care costs, resulting in savings to the state of $300 million through mid-2103. The law also strips them of their right to collectively bargain any work conditions except wages. Police and firefighters are exempt.”

In another, but unrelated case the United States Supreme Court has upheld Arizona’s law penalizing employers over illegal immigrant workers in the case of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting. The Associated Press reports:

“The Supreme Court has sustained Arizona's law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers who are in the United States illegally, rejecting arguments that states have no role in immigration matters.

By a 5-3 vote, the court said Thursday that federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.

The decision upholding the validity of the 2007 law comes as the state is appealing a ruling that blocked key components of a second, more controversial Arizona immigration enforcement law. Thursday's decision applies only to business licenses and does not signal how the high court might rule if the other law comes before it.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a majority made up of Republican-appointed justices, said the Arizona's employer sanctions law "falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states."

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, all Democratic appointees, dissented. The fourth Democratic appointee, Justice Elena Kagan, did not participate in the case because she worked on it while serving as President Barack Obama's solicitor general

Breyer said the Arizona law upsets a balance in federal law between dissuading employers from hiring illegal workers and ensuring that people are not discriminated against because they may speak with an accent or look like they might be immigrants.

Employers "will hesitate to hire those they fear will turn out to lack the right to work in the United States," he said.

Business interests and civil liberties groups challenged the law, backed by the Obama administration.

The measure was signed into law in 2007 by Democrat Janet Napolitano, then the governor of Arizona and now the administration's Homeland Security secretary.

The employer sanctions law has been only infrequently used. It was intended to diminish Arizona's role as the nation's hub for immigrant smuggling by requiring employers to verify the eligibility of new workers through a federal database. Employers found to have violated the law can have their business licenses suspended or revoked.

Lower courts, including the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, previously upheld the law.”

While these cases are distinctly different they have one thing in common — the will of the people through their elected representatives be challenged by the left. In the Wisconsin case it’s about the unions finding a sympathetic county judge who will over rule the will of the legislature and the governor. After rioting in Madison and a boycott by the Democrat members of the Wisconsin State Senate legislation was passed to curtail the bargaining capabilities of the public service and teachers unions.

The legislation was eventually passed by the elected Republican majority. It did not take long for the losing Democrats find a sympathetic and Democrat county judge and file suit against the new law. The judge reached into her bag of tricks and found a reason to overturn the law. No doubt this will go to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where the law will be upheld by the conservative majority and the Democrats will no doubt look to he federal court for relief. This is what the Democrats do. When they lose at the ballot they turn to the courts.

The Arizona case is different, but similar in the challenge. This is a law that gives the state of Arizona the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized (illegal immigrant) workers. In this case the Court said:

“The Chamber of Commerce of the United States and various business and civil rights organizations (collectively Chamber) filed this federal preenforcement suit against those charged with administering the Arizona law, arguing that the state law’s license suspension and revocation provisions were both expressly and impliedly preempted by federal immigration law, and that the mandatory use of E-Verify was impliedly preempted. The District Court found that the plain language of IRCA’s preemption clause did not invalidate the Arizona law because the law did no more than impose licensing conditions on businesses operating within the State. Nor was the state law preempted with respect to E-Verify, the court concluded, because although Congress had made the program voluntary at the national level, it had expressed no intent to prevent States from mandating participation. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.”

The Court stuck to the Tenth Amendment in its decision:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

These two cases are indicative of how the courts and judges have usurped the will of the people and their elected representatives. They interpret the Constitutions of the federal and state governments based on their political agendas. The latest example was the Senate’s defeat of the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals —than God.

Liu is one of the new brand of “constitutional scholars” who believe the Constitution must adapt to changes in the world — just like Obama. Liu has also aligned himself with progressive legal groups, including the American Constitution Society, where he is chairman of the board of directors. That's prompting opponents to argue that Liu is "too far outside the mainstream" to take a seat on a court just one step below the Supreme Court of the United States.

"He believes the Constitution is something judges can manipulate to have it say what they think culture or evolving standards of decency requires of it in a given day," said the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Republican Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

"Liu believes that judges have the authority to impose their views using clever verbal camouflage to disguise what they're doing."

Liu opponents point to a number of his writings, including a book he co-authored in 2009 called "Keeping Faith with the Constitution," in which the authors opine about their concept of judicial interpretation.

"Applications of constitutional text and principles must be open to adaptation and change as the conditions and norms of our society become ever more distant from those of the Founding generation."

That theme — that the Constitution's text and principles must be adapted to changes in the world — repeats throughout the book and raises eyebrows among conservatives.

The ACS is an extreme left-wing group that believes we should literally tear up the Constitution — a document that has severed this nation well for over two hundred years — and become an oligarchy of judges, not representatives of the people. They believe they know better than the people and the Founders. Mr. Liu and his cohorts at ACS have repeatedly shown a lack of respect for the Constitution as the Supreme law of the land:

Mr. Liu holds a radical view of constitutional rights. For example, in his 2008 Stanford Law Review article he supports a judicial role in establishing constitutional welfare rights--i.e., "affirmative rights," to education, shelter, subsistence, health care and the like, or to the money these things cost. This is the view of rights President Obama raised that caused a stir, and which Judge Sotomayor rejected when asked if she took such a view during her confirmation hearing.

In a 2006 article entitled "Education, Equality, and National Citizenship", Liu suggests that the Constitution "assigns equal constitutional status to negative rights against government oppression and positive rights to government assistance on the ground that both are essential to liberty."

Mr. Liu has stated: "it becomes pretty clear why 'originalism' or 'strict construction' don't make a lot of sense. The Framers deliberately chose broad words so they would be adaptable over time."

Mr. Liu recklessly attacked the nominations of Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito. In the case of Roberts, he wrote, in an op-ed, that "[h]is legal career is studded with activities unfriendly to civil rights, abortion rights, and the environment." These unfounded charges were dismissed by judicial experts on both sides of the aisle and Roberts was confirmed with bi-partisan support.

Mr. Liu actually testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the confirmation of Alito. Liu testified that then-Judge Alito was "at the margin, not the mainstream," and that the America envisioned by his record on the bench "is not the America we know. Nor is it the America we aspire to be." Alito was also confirmed with bi-partisan support.

In a 2008 Stanford Law Review article, Mr. Liu wrote that judges should engage in "socially situated modes of reasoning that appeal to the culturally and historically contingent meanings of particular social goods in our own society" and to "determine, at the moment of decision, whether our collective values on a given issue have converged to a degree that they can be persuasively crystallized and credibly absorbed into legal doctrine." According to a Washington Times editorial: "Mr. Liu's goal was to create a judicially enforceable, constitutional right to welfare."

It has been noted that Mr. Liu doesn't meet the standards for federal judges outlined by the American Bar Association. These standards include "at least 12 years' experience in the practice of law" and "substantial courtroom and trial experience." Mr. Liu, who is only 39 years old, hasn't even been out of law school for 12 years and has no experience as a trial lawyer.

42 of California's 58 county district attorneys opposed Liu's nomination in a March 2010 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying they believe Liu is hostile to the death penalty.

Mr. Liu implies racial quotas should continue indefinitely and in remarks before the American Constitution Society in August of 2003 advocates reviving "the idea of remedying societal discrimination as a justification for affirmative action."

Mr. Liu offered an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court in which he and others argued that the state's ban on same-sex marriage (approved twice by the voters of California) was unconstitutional.

According to a trustworthy source, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel initially vetoed Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu’s candidacy for the Ninth Circuit on the ground that Liu’s left-wing record made him too controversial. But new White House counsel Robert Bauer, eager to please the Left, successfully pushed back.

Judges and potential judges like Goodwin Liu are anathema to our Constitution and the principles and values of our founding fathers. This is just another reason we must return the Congress and Presidency to Republican control. We don’t need judges like Goodwin Liu or anyone connected with the ACS or ACLU.

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