March 18, 2011

FitzMeeting held within 120 minutes +/- three

That's even a pretty wide tolerance for rebar
"We are supremely confident that we followed the law perfectly," said Andrew Welhouse, spox for Scott Fitzgerald.
This is possibly the highlight* of today's Dane County circuit court hearing in Ozanne v. Fitzgerald. Plaintiff Ozanne is the Dane County district attorney. The defendants are the top Republican leaders in the Wisconsin legislature. At issue is the time elapsed between the notification of and commencement of a conference committee meeting; that is, a meeting between both legislative houses (each of which is run by a Republican called Fitzgerald, which sounds like a happy coincidence until you realize they are brothers). Anyway:
Judge Sumi: Before you move on, can you tell me how the two-hour notice requirement was met. Or, what evidence would I hear if I were to hear evidence on this.

AAG Lazar: Well, and that's, that is a big question. {Affirmative - ed.] I think the question has been looked at. We haven't fully developed it. We do know the timetable was that at some point around four o'clock — and we have been told that, I don't know that it could be pinpointed — between four, maybe 4:06, 4:03, 4:04, there was a notice published on, or posted, on a bulletin board. There's going to be some testimony as well about an e-mail that's irrelevant. The relevancy is the notice that was posted on the bulletin board.

The testimony is going to come out that I don't think anyone can establish with any definitive answer exactly when that happened. It was around four and we will note that the conference committee met and went into session I believe at 6:03. So we think that there was compliance with the two-hour requirement. We think that they, the plaintiffs in this case, bear the burden of proof of establishing that there was not, and I don't believe that they will get there, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Sumi then politely points out that the burden is not on the plaintiffs but rather on the defendant Republican legislative leaders to prove they're entitled to an exemption from the public meetings law, a point which AAG Lazar in effect concedes. It was a rough moment for the AAG, in particular those moments 4:06 and 4:04. But she did well with what she had and you can't blame her. The blame lies with those Republican leaders who, had they the definitive evidence to present, would have presented it in court this morning.

Instead I imagine the foregoing was more definitive in the sense of its considerable role in the judge's reverberating decision to prevent the publication of Scott Walker's hastily retooled "budget repair bill."

Thus has Sen. Fitzgerald arrived at the corner of Hubris and Karma.

Gov. Walker, for his own part, strains to pretend obliviousness.

Recall (pun intended), he and they expect all this to just blow over.

* A highlight of another sort occurs while the PA system is acting up, and during AAG Means's presentation, a computer reboots and a crescendo of synthesized strings begins to rise, giving the court pause. "This happens every time I speak, your honor," cracks Means.


Anonymous said...

In FitzWalkerstan, 120 minutes is 24 hours when it suits the megalomaniacs.

Governor Walker isn't faking (I had to take the !/ out to get to his barbeque). He has no idea what he is doing or that he stole that silly slogan from Kentucky. He almost makes Palin look informed.

tomkraj said...

Reason to believe Senate GOP leaders have evidence that hearing notice was published at 2 hours before mtg. Does not matter. They needed 24 hours.

Channel published about 4:20. Anyone have evidence "public" knew sooner? Judge believes 2 hours is inadequate. I would argue form of "posting" is inadequate.

illusory tenant said...

Conceding they were exempt from the 24-hour requirement, is what I'm assuming here. Others are now arguing they needn't even have honored the 2-hour requirement. It's getting desperate out there.