"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." — Thomas. Jefferson
Justice has been served in Wisconsin, with the rebuke of a judicial activist judge, union dues taking a hit, and Democrats losing a source of coerced donations.
What happened in the streets of Madison and in the unruly, mob-packed Capitol there in February and March, when enraged public workers, mostly teachers, took over, despoiling the place, was to us ordinary tax-paying folks, plainly despicable.
Events then foretold of a potential ripping of both the rule of law and doing fiscal damage to the state's taxpayers, besides physical damage to the Capitol. Thankfully, the law and fiscal sanity and some measure of respect for others' rights and property, finally prevailed when the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday, June 14, sided with the Governor Scott Walker-led bill to curb some, but not all, collective bargaining "rights" of public employees.
On June 15 Fox News reported that the controversial Wisconsin Union Law set to take effect after high court ruling:
“Wisconsin’s contentious union rights law is set to go in effect following a sharply divided ruling by the state Supreme Court.
The decision is a major victor for Republican Gov. Scott Walker after a long and dramatic battle that was met with heavy protests in the state’s capitol and across the country.
The high court upheld Walker’s law in a 4-3 vote Tuesday evening, determining that a judge overstepped her authority when she voided the governor's plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
An avalanche of lawsuits is expected, because legal challenges couldn't be brought until the law took effect.
Walker says the legislation is necessary for Wisconsin to address its $6.3 billion budget shortfall.
"The Supreme Court's ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again," Walker said in a statement.
Union leaders blasted the court's decision. Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, called it "an affront to our democracy."
The law passed in March after weeks of protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the state Capitol. But the law has been tied up in the courts since a Democrat filed a lawsuit accusing Republicans of violating the state open meetings law during the run-up to passage.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court said the judge had no authority to interfere with the legislative process.
"We've done the best we can ... It looks like we've lost," Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who filed the lawsuit, said after the ruling.”
In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she said Republican lawmakers violated the state's open meetings statutes in the run-up to passage of the legislation and declared the law void.
The law, which also requires public employees to pay more for their health care and pensions, sparked weeks of protests when Walker introduced it in February. Tens of thousands of demonstrators occupied the state Capitol for weeks and Democratic senators fled the state to prevent a vote, thrusting Wisconsin to the forefront of a national debate over labor rights.
In a one-sentence reaction to the ruling, the governor said: "The Supreme Court's ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again."
Walker has claimed that the law was needed to help address the state's $3.6 billion budget shortfall and give local governments enough flexibility on labor costs to deal with deep cuts to state aid. Democrats saw it as an attack on public employee unions, which usually back their party's candidates.
The Supreme Court's ruling will likely be the precursor to an avalanche of lawsuits and legal challenges that couldn't be brought until the law took effect.
The decision came just hours before the Wisconsin Assembly was expected to begin debating the state budget. Had the ruling not come down, Republicans planned to put the collective bargaining provisions into the budget so the changes could take effect during the court fight.
GOP legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, issued a joint statement saying they always believed the bill was legally approved.
"We followed the law when the bill was passed, simple as that," the brothers said in a statement. "We're finally headed in the right direction by balancing the budget and focusing on jobs, just like Republicans promised we would do."
Ozanne filed his lawsuit the next week claiming Republicans didn't provide the proper public notice of the meeting in violation of state law.
Sumi, the judge who initially heard Ozanne's lawsuit, first issued a temporary order blocking publication of the collective bargaining law while she weighed his arguments and then last month declared the law void.
Attorneys for the state Department of Justice, representing the Republicans who control the Legislature, asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, in part to speed the process. Walker counted on the law being in effect in the budget he put forward for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
In vacating Sumi's ruling, the Supreme Court said she had "usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature."
After the law was enacted and signed by Gov. Walker, you'll recall, Judge Maryann Sumi, a liberal activist judge, issued first a temporary restraining order, then a permanent injunction barring it from going into effect. In this she was doing the bidding of union attorneys. Legal experts en masse predicted this week's high court decision, so outlandish was Judge Sumi's orders. The new budget-fixing law limits certain collective bargaining for public employees, not including law enforcement and firefighters, and forbade their unions from tapping members' government paychecks for automatic dues withdrawal.
It was said by Madison insiders the automatic dues withdrawal feature going belly up was at the crux of union bosses' opposition. It was the inner-deeper-hidden-secret behind their implicit orders for the 14 Democrat state senators to flee the state rather than stand up and be counted. Shutting down the democratic process somehow held appeal for these pro-union senators. Do you think, just maybe, campaign contributions had something to do with it? Just wild speculation here.
Judge Sumi's action was a morale boost, at least temporarily, for the big-spending unions' special interests, and their army of attorneys, intending from the beginning to toss the issue to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where blame could be assigned to those dang "conservative" judges. Judge Sumi's injunction order was not given a snowball's chance in hell, but she held firm. Liberal judges, same as major league baseball umpires, are never wrong?
Gov. Walker, vilified by teachers and the ardent left (or am I being redundant here?) as Nazi-like, was magnanimous in his comments the day the high court struck down Judge Sumi's order, "vacating" it in legal terms. Gov. Walker said; "The Superior Court's ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again." But then what do the union bosses care about Wisconsin moving again as long as they can they can reap their dues money and increase their power. Public service and teachers unions have never given a damn about the public, the state or the nation they only care about their job security and money.
Anyone watching their TVs during February and March saw images of angry teachers and public service workers making a mess out of the state capital. They had supporters from the ranks of the left wing college students and out of state union organizers. They painted their faces, banged drums and made a despicable mess of the capital building and its surroundings — all in the name of free speech. The news media drooled over these demonstrations, after all wasn’t this an expression of free speech and American democracy — the First Amendment right to petition the government. They hung the governor in effigy, held up signs with obscene slogans and the MSM loved it.
But the MSM or even the more conservative outlets like Fox did not venture up to Green Bay, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Racine or even Milwaukee where they could have gotten a good glass of beer. No, they hung around Madison getting interviews with Marxists professors, screaming union teachers and know-nothing lefty college students with painted faces. Had they gone to those other mentioned town they might have gotten a different story. Wasn’t it the people in greater Wisconsin the ones who elected Scott Walker with almost a 60% plurality, Senator Ron Johnson with over 60% and gave the state a Republican majority in the legislature? I guess no one wanted to talk with those folks. After all what does a meat cutter in Green Bay or a brewer in Milwaukee know all their interested in is the Green Bay Packers.
There were a few counter demonstrations outside of the capital but they got little coverage. The counter demonstrations were smaller, more civilized and cleaner than the Marxists inside of the capital building who had little respect for private or government property. You see the problem these supporters of Gov. Walker had was that they worked for a living, had mortgages to pay and families to feed. They were the folks who paid the bills. Richard Nixon called them, “the silent majority.”
The rouge Democratic legislators hiding away in Illinois were quite content to see the democratic process trampled on and see the turmoil they were creating. They were doing the bidding of their union supporters like good little Marxists who believed that chaos was the way to bring the system down following the playbooks of Saul Alinsky and Cloward–Piven.
Once Walker’s bill was passed without the involvement of the Democrats it took about ten minutes for the Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to find a liberal judge and file his suit. This is how the left works — lose at the ballot box, find a lefty judge and file a suit. The hell with the people!
Now comes the good part. The chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, David Prosser, was up for reelection. The left ran an extreme liberal against him and then brought in the union organizers with their money to defeat him. They believed if they could replace Possner with the lib they would win the day in court.
But, as they say, “a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.” Those people, who work for a living, in Green Bay, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Racine and Milwaukee got to vote. Even with all of the media support for the lib candidate for judge and all of the union support Possner won. The rest is history.
Predictably, the Associated Press's report of the high court decision subtly almost imperceptibly takes the side of the public employees. It must be recognized, of course, that major newspapers and electronic media too, are staffed by card-carrying members of another union, the Newspaper Guild. Perhaps bias is inherent in their pro-union stories?
AP's Bauer is impressed with the minority chief justice's ornery dissent in the final 4-3 vote, calling her dissent "blistering" in one fawning reference, "fiery" in another. He quotes liberally (a-hem!) from Judge Shirley Abramson's dissent, calling her fellow jurists names, such as "storyteller." But Bauer does not quote from the strongly-worded majority opinion. Ah, but what does the majority opinion count for anyway? Not much it appears.
“In a fiery dissent, Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote that the majority decision was "hastily" reached and has unsupported conclusions. She said a concurring opinion written by Justice David Prosser, a former Republican speaker of the Assembly, was "long on rhetoric and long on story-telling that appears to have a partisan slant."
Not a mention in Bauer's tale about phony "sick leaves" taken by teachers to protest at the Capitol on full pay, closing schools in Madison and Milwaukee. Would they sanction that bogus excuse for their students? Those Get Out of Jail Free cards came from fellow public union activists at the Madison-based University of Wisconsin. Unions' collusion, anyone?
At the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reporters Pat Marley and Don Walker side with the unions, deriding the Supreme Court as acting "with unusual speed." The judges, they wrote, "issued their order just one week after hearing oral arguments." Just think. One week! Tsk, Tsk.
Republicans, they add ominously, "run the Assembly," as if holding majorities in both houses is some sort of crime.
Finally, in a concluding paragraph, the Journal-Sentinel guys — omitting dirty details about the protests on "sick leave" and the hate-filled labeling of Gov. Walker as Hitler-like — their version of events gets something right by a quote from the high court order itself:
"In its ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court said it took up the case because the lower court had 'usurped the legislative power with the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the Legislature.'"
State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) nails it when she said Judge Sumi "stepped all over the people of Wisconsin." Sadly, it's just the beginning of turf wars of the public employee unions using judicial activist judges as they try to wrest control of legislatures from We the People. Senator Darling is quoted:
"You think of all the chaos and discord and acrimony that's gone on in this Capitol as the result of Judge Sumi's decision for which she had no cause, no basis, no rule of law. She just did what she wanted for political reasons. To me, it was despicable."
Wisconsin is just one example of the marriage of the public service and teachers unions to the Democrat Party and the damage they are doing the nation.