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Monday, March 28, 2011

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald Should Get Contempt Citation

via mal

" ... Nothing in this government happens in secret. ... I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10."
- Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi, in decision granting Temporary Restraining Order of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's bizarre machinations last Friday resulting in the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) publishing the anti-collective bargaining bill [2011 Wisconsin Act 10] is Fitzgerald's self-admitted attempt to implement as law precisely what he is enjoined from doing as a named defendant in State of Wisconsin ex rel., Ismael R. Ozanne v. Fitzgerald et al [Case No: 11 CV 1244].

This ought to earn Fitzgerald a contempt citation Tuesday morning.

It is a plain fact that Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is a named defendant in the March 18 order by Judge Maryann Sumi [Case No: 11 CV 1244] granting a motion by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne on behalf of the state of Wisconsin for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, the anti-collective bargaining bill.

The named defendants are Scott Fitzgerald, Senate President Michael Ellis, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, GOP Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, and Secretary of State Doug La Follette.

"It's published," Fitzgerald said. "It's law. That's what I contend." (Marley and Stein, MJS, March 26)  Fitzgerald refers to the LRB's publishing the language of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.

Judge Sumi found that the rushed, secretive process violated Wisconsin's Open Meeting Law that forbids exactly what occured in the Republican attempt to jam legislation through before the people knew what was happening.

Sumi cites Wisconsin Constitution Article IV, Section 10 as the policy rationale in the Open Meeting Law (19.81(3)) of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Reads Judge Sumi's order in part:

I begin with Wisconsin Constitution Article IV, Section 10, a straightforward statement of the public's expectation for the legislature: 'the doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy.'
Sumi found a probability of success of D.A. Ozanne's case on the merits.

Sumi also found that Republican leaders illegally held a "closed session of a body that took decisive action propelling 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 forward," noting in her decision that resulting action taken at an illegal meeting is voidable.

"I am now issuing a restraining order preventing further implementation of this act," writes Sumi.

Sumi repeated: "I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10."

But defendant Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald acted last week to implement 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 in plain violation of the restraining order.

Dane County DA Ozanne said last Friday, "I was surprised to learn shortly before 5 p.m. this afternoon that, despite Judge Maryann Sumi’s temporary restraining order, an effort was undertaken to try and make 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (Governor Walker’s Budget Repair Bill) effective. I was even more surprised to learn that the impetus for an attempt at publication, contrary to Judge Sumi’s order, came from a named defendant in the lawsuit. ... I look forward to presenting our case on behalf of the People of the State of Wisconsin Tuesday morning, March 29, 2011, at 8:30 a.m." (WisPolitics)

That would be Scott Fitzgerald who said publicly he consulted with others to see that the LRB acted to implement 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.

"Every attorney I have consulted said this will now be law," Fitzgerald said. "It wasn't a secret. I think they left the door open for this." (Clay Barbour and Ed Treleven, Wisconsin State Journal)

It appears that contra Fitzgerald and the Walker administration, 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 will not take effect.

But Republican lawlessness must end. Fitzgerald should be held in contempt.

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