Breaking - Supreme court overturns Sumi decision | Wis.Community
Site banner
Community News from the Chippewa Valley
Wis.Community

Breaking - Supreme court overturns Sumi decision

[img_assist|nid=55194|title=Scales|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=73]The state Supreme Court has overturned the Dane County judge's decision that overturned the collective bargaining changes in the state Budget Repair Bill.

A quick read indicates that the ruling is based on a decision that the closing of the capitol doors did not violate the constitutional mandate that the capitol be open during hours when the legislature is in session. The court did not get into the issue of whether the open meetings law was violeated, since the decision allows that the legislature would have to interpret its own rules. 

"In the posting of notice that was done, the Legislature relied on its interpretation of its own rules of proceeding," the court wrote. "The court declines to review the validity of the procedure used to give notice of the joint committee on conference."

This is a very difficult decision for those hoping for a judicial intervention in the Walker/Conservative juggernaught rolling over Wisconsin.

More soon - the ruling itself is available at http://www.wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seq...

Gov. Walker Press Release:

Gov. Walker: Statement on Supreme Court ruling 6/14/2011

Contact: Cullen Werwie, 608-267-7303

Madison – Today Governor Walker released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling:

The Supreme Court’s ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again.

Excerpts from the ruling:

9   Although all orders that preceded the circuit court’s judgment in Case No. 2011CV1244 may be characterized as moot in some respects, the court addresses whether a court can enjoin publication of a bill.  The court does so because whether a court can enjoin a bill is a matter of great public importance and also because it appears necessary to confirm that Goodland remains the law that all courts must follow.  State v. Cramer, 98 Wis. 2d 416, 420, 296 N.W.2d 921 (1980) (noting that we consider questions that have become moot “where the question is one of great public importance . . . or of public interest,” or “where the problem is likely to recur and is of sufficient importance to warrant a holding which will guide trial courts in similar circumstances”).  Accordingly, because the circuit court did not follow the court’s directive in Goodland, it exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers under Article IV, Section 1 and Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution, and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.  

10  Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution vests the legislature with the constitutional power to “provide by law” for publication.  The legislature has set the requirements for publication.  However, the Secretary of State has not yet fulfilled his statutory duty to publish a notice of publication of the Act in the official state newspaper, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 14.38(10)(c).  Due to the vacation of the circuit court’s orders, there remain no impediments to the Secretary of State fulfilling his obligations under § 14.38(10)(c).

11  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that we have concluded that in enacting the Act, the legislature did not employ a process that violated Article IV, Section 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution, which provides in relevant part:  “The doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy.”  The doors of the senate and assembly were kept open to the press and members of the public during the enactment of the Act.  The doors of the senate parlor, where the joint committee on conference met, were open to the press and members of the public.  WisconsinEye broadcast the proceedings live.  Access was not denied.  There is no constitutional requirement that the legislature provide access to as many members of the public as wish to attend meetings of the legislature or meetings of legislative committees. 

12  It has been argued to the court that the legislature amended Article IV, Section 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution by its enactment of the Open Meetings Law.  That argument is without merit.  Article XII, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution establishes the requirements that must be met in order to amend the Wisconsin Constitution through action initiated in the legislature.  Article XII, Section 1 requires that both houses of the legislature pass the proposed amendment in two successive sessions of the legislature, and then the proposed amendment must be submitted to the people.  It is only when the people have approved and ratified a proposed amendment initiated in the legislature that a constitutional amendment occurs.  Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression v. Elections Bd., 106 Wis. 2d 593, 603, 317 N.W.2d 420 (1982).  It is beyond dispute that the Open Meetings Law, Wis. Stat. § 19.81, et seq., was not adopted by the constitutional process required by Article XII, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution.

13  It also is argued that the Act is invalid because the legislature did not follow certain notice provisions of the Open Meetings Law for the March 9, 2011 meeting of the joint committee on conference.  It is argued that Wis. Stat. § 19.84(3) required 24 hours notice of that meeting and such notice was not given.  It is undisputed that the legislature posted notices of the March 9, 2011 meeting of the joint committee on conference on three bulletin boards, approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes before the start of the meeting.  In the posting of notice that was done, the legislature relied on its interpretation of its own rules of proceeding.  The court declines to review the validity of the procedure used to give notice of the joint committee on conference.  See Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d at 361.  As the court has explained when legislation was challenged based on allegations that the legislature did not follow the relevant procedural statutes, “this court will not determine whether internal operating rules or procedural statutes have been complied with by the legislature in the course of its enactments.”  Id. at 364.  “[W]e will not intermeddle in what we view, in the absence of constitutional directives to the contrary, to be purely legislative concerns.”  Id.  The court’s holding in Stitt was grounded in separation of powers principles, comity concepts and “the need for finality and certainty regarding the status of a statute.”  Id. at 364-65. 

Published

June 14, 2011 - 5:09pm

Author