Last March, facing rising opposition, Republicans in Wisconsin met abruptly in a closed meeting to pass controversial legislation stripping Wisconsin public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Today, that bill was struck down by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi. Judge Sumi, a Republican-appointed judge, ruled that Act 10 was passed in violation of the state’s open meetings law.
In her decision, Judge Sumi wrote that the tactics used by proponents of Walker’s unionbusting bill were in clear violation of the state’s constitution, “We are entitled by law to free and open access to governmental meetings, and especially governmental meetings that lead to the resolution of very highly conflicted and controversial matters.” According to Judge Sumi, the methods by which the bill was passed denied the people of Wisconsin their stake in the legislative process. She ruled that the abuse of power was so egregious that the court had no choice but to strike down the law.
Judge Sumi’s ruling reaffirms what we’ve said all along about the strong-armed approach used by anti-worker politicians in Wisconsin: Gov. Walker and his Koch-funded allies have disregarded the democratic process in an attempt to ram through an extreme, politically motivated law. Their intent was never to balance the budget, but instead to attack working Wisconsin families as payback to corporate donors.
Clearly, the fight to protect working women and men in Wisconsin and other states is far from over. And today’s ruling provides a powerful reminder of how far extremist politicians will go to put corporate interests in front of the issues that matter to middle class Americans.
Photo courtesy of CGEU