Tuesday, March 29th, and it’s time for Scott Walker and his enablers to put up or shut up. Can the courts tell you and your lackey legislature what to do, or not? Are you going to knuckle under to a pipsqueak judge in Madison? Come on, Big Boy. Let’s see what you got.
This is our Florida 2000 here in Wisconsin. This is the point at which those who pretend to have the Power see how far they can take it. Will the Republican jihad in Madison have the balls to flaunt the clarified order of Judge Maryann Sumi that the temporary restraining order applies to them and all of them?
The comments of the sputtering Assistant AG outside the courtroom were ominous: the legislation "absolutely" is still in effect, said Steven Means, words he will either live to regret…or not. And then there are the fine comments of DOJ mouthpiece Bill Cosh: “Whether the Department of Administration or other state officers choose to comply with any direction issued by Judge Sumi is up to them.” Well, we’ll see about that. For its part, the official administration position, apart for the DOJ dweebs, is unclear at this hour. Will they comply or not?
No doubt, the great legal minds of the radical Republicans are working hard in the country clubs and the boardrooms of the WMC at this very moment. Pray tell, visiting Marquette law professor Rick Esenberg, what say you at this momentous time of our state’s history? Are you and your fellow travellers willing to roll the dice that the Department of Administration can continue to ignore the judge’s TRO just because, well, she’s “just” a judge and, like, there is “separation of powers” and stuff? Good luck with that.
Oh, here’s Esenberg, quoted as some kind of impartial news source in the morning’s Journal Sentinel:
"There is applicable Supreme Court precedent that a court has no authority to enjoin the publication of a law," he said. "The state has repeatedly cited that law to her and as far as I know she has not only failed to explain herself about why she feels she has the authority, she hasn't even acknowledged there is an issue. That just leaves me speechless."
If only it did leave him speechless.
Before Esenberg or any of the other highly-paid lawyers in the Republican brain-trust put their increasingly vulnerable clients unduly at risk, they’d better think about the effect of their advice on their arrogant clients. How do you think Scott Fitzgerald will feel wearing the jail orange that Esenberg always wanted draped on the backs of your political opponents in the Brave Wisconsin 14? One more stunt like browbeating the LRB to “publish” the union-busting bill, and that’s just where the Fitz in FitzWalkerstan is likely to end up.
And what of DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch? Is he willing to follow the advice of the brainianc that helped bring us Assembly flash-votes in the middle of the night, frivolous lawsuits in Oconto County, arrest warrants going out for political opponents, an illegal conference committee with illegally short notice, a Senate meeting illegally, without the constitutionally-required quorum for a bill with obvious fiscal implications or 24-hour notice, and a rushed Assembly vote that was also without adequate public notice? Does Huebsch look and feel good in orange as well? Given the miserable track record of those like Esenberg giving the radical Republicans this wonderful advice, is he – or Scott Walker, for that matter – willing to roll the dice?
Well, it all depends on what happens a week from tonight, doesn’t it? If partisan sexist hothead molesting-priest-protector David Prosser manages to squeak out a victory in his reelection campaign to the state Supreme Court next week, I’m sure the Republicans will feel perfectly free to thumb their nose at the Rule of Law. The Forces of Evil in the Capitol will know then that they have four justices in the bag – and their benefactors in the “private” sector paid dearly for it.
The last thing they want is an independent voice like Joanne Kloppenburg on the Court who might (I said “might”) put a spike on the tracks of their runaway train. I wouldn’t be surprised if Walker’s administration tried to stall a declaration of compliance with the lawful orders of the judge until it sees how the election turns out. They’ll either breathe a sigh of relief or go running for the hills.
Like the entire nation during the Stolen Election in Florida in 2000, we in Wisconsin are staring, mouths agape in horror, at the unfolding hijacking of Democracy by remarkably arrogant Republicans who fly with the Light of the Just as they try to destroy honest government in a state known for just that. We can’t wait to get to the polls a week from now and in recall elections this summer and next year to, at least, put the brakes on the Walker Disaster.
But first, let’s see what the brilliant Walker legal brain trust comes up with tomorrow in response to Judge Sumi’s orders. You know they are going to be wrong – it’s just a matter of how wrong and in what way. I fear a constitutional crisis is brewing in Wisconsin. The radical Republicans in Madison don’t care what they destroy to serve their corporate masters.