-By Greg Sargent
May 26, 2011- We keep getting told by our friends on the right that Scott Walker has already “won” the confrontation in Wisconsin or that he’s “crossed the Rubicon.” Turns out the end-zone dancing was just a tad premature:
A Dane County judge has struck down Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation repealing most collective bargaining for public employees.
In a 33-page decision issued Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said she would freeze the legislation because GOP lawmakers on a committee broke the state’s open meetings law in passing it March 9….
In the decision, Sumi appeared to be bracing for an outcry from Republicans and supporters of the law, noting that judges are supposed to apply the law even if their decisions will be “controversial or unpopular.” Sumi writes that Ozanne showed by “clear and convincing evidence” that the open meetings law had been violated.
“This decision explains why it is necessary to void the legislative actions flowing from those violations,” wrote Sumi, who was appointed to the bench by former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson.
This does not mean that the Walker proposal has been defeated. It could go to the Supreme Court, which will decide in June whether to hear the case. But it’s still a big boost for Wisconsin Democrats and the recall effort.
Here’s why. It gives Democrats and labor a powerful new weapon to make the case that Wisconsin Republicans deserved to be recalled because they abused the power of their office. The argument Dems and labor are making is that the decision by Senate Republicans to jam the rollback of bargaining rights through is precisely the kind of conduct that justifies the extraordinary step of recalling them. Now a court has pronounced that they violated state law.