June 9, 2011

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial "bizarre"

Says it — or they, or she, or he — of this week's Wisconsin Supreme Court marathon oral arguments, characterizing as among Governor Scott Walker's lawyer's various claims and assertions:
... the bizarre argument articulated Monday by Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John, who said during a state Supreme Court hearing that courts could not invalidate a statute because lawmakers violated the open meetings law.
While St. John's hour-long ramble was indeed occasionally bizarre to the extent the ethically-challenged judge Mike Gableman had several times interruptingly to leap from the bench — albeit not literally — to come to the attorney's assistance, the argument St. John was attempting to make is that courts could not invalidate a bill until it had become law.

Moreover, St. John is in denial over whether Republican lawmakers violated the Open Meetings Law (which they very clearly did: one of St. John's own colleagues admitted it on the record, leaving the trial court no choice but to enjoin the WISGOP shenanigans). What is bizarre is the Journal-Sentinel editorial board's reliance on the organ's own report of the proceedings, which claims Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi "was allowed" to file a brief in an action brought by (purportedly) Walker's right-hand building maintenance supervisor Mike Huebsch.

"Normally, judges don't file briefs in cases with the Supreme Court," reports the J-S, which is true as a general matter, I suppose, except in this case, the Dane County Circuit Court, Judge Sumi presiding, was named as a party to the action,* so it would be abnormal if a party to an appellate court case didn't file a brief. But the facts of the matter — which bear repeating once again — are that Judge Sumi was ordered to file the brief, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 809.51(2) and pursuant to the Supreme Court's order of May 4, 2011. Those are just the plain facts.

And those would be kind of important points.

"Normally, Wisconsin circuit court judges don't flagrantly disobey orders of the Wisconsin Supreme Court," is more like it, and accurate.

* "Respondent," to be exact, which of itself should be self-explanatory.


xoff said...

It is often (almost always) the case that editorial writers rely on their own paper's reporting on an issue, rather than doing any original research, and therefore repeat the same mistakes.

illusory tenant said...