Tuesday, June 14, 2011


You rarely see an opinion as thoroughly dismissive as the one that was handed down today by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi got mailed home in a manila envelope. Ann Althouse gets to the money quotes:

In Goodland v. Zimmerman, 243 Wis. 459, 10 N.W.2d 180 (1943), the court... explained that the “judicial department has no jurisdiction or right to interfere with the legislative process. That is something committed by the constitution entirely to the legislature itself.” Id. at 467. The court held that “[b]ecause under our system of constitutional government, no one of the co-ordinate departments can interfere with the discharge of the constitutional duties of one of the other departments, no court has jurisdiction to enjoin the legislative process at any point.” Id. at 468. The court noted that “[i]f a court can intervene and prohibit the publication of an act, the court determines what shall be law and not the legislature. If the court does that, it does not in terms legislate but it invades the constitutional power of the legislature to declare what shall become law. This [a court] may not do.” Id.

Emphasis mine. In other words, Maryann Sumi isn't a divine right monarch after all. But there's more:

... [W]hether a court can enjoin a bill is a matter of great public importance and also because it appears necessary to confirm that Goodland remains the law that all courts must follow.... Accordingly, because the circuit court did not follow the court’s directive in Goodland, it exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers under Article IV, Section 1 and Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution, and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.

Again, emphasis mine. Not only is Maryann Sumi not a divine right monarch, she violated the state constitution, and the Wisconsin State Supreme Court called her out on it.

We elect legislatures to craft laws. We elect governors to execute the laws that the legislature creates. That's what happened in Wisconsin with the budget repair bill. And it's a damned good thing that Maryann Sumi didn't get by with what she tried to do.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

OK, now what about getting her off the bench?