Wis. AG will appeal TRO on budget

Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 21, 2011, 1:00pm

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said on Friday his office will appeal the temporary restraining order issued by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi on Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill.

Sumi made her ruling Friday morning. In it, she said a legislative committee violated the state's open meetings law when it approved a new version of Walker's budget bill on March 9.

The bill has been a source of controversy for weeks, eliminating nearly all collective bargaining rights for those public employee union members. Walker, a Republican, had proposed the bill in response to state budget deficits.

"The Department of Justice plans to appeal today's motion granting a temporary restraining order enjoining the Secretary of State from publishing the 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly referred to as the Budget Repair Bill. The Legislature and the Governor, not a single Dane County Circuit Court judge, are responsible for the enactment of laws," Van Hollen said in a statement.

"Decisions of the Supreme Court have made it clear that judges may not enjoin the Secretary of State from publishing an act. Further, the Secretary of State is without discretion to refuse to publish an act because of perceived procedural irregularities or constitutional concerns. Decisions of the Supreme Court are equally clear that acts may not be enjoined where the claim is that a rule of legislative procedure, even one as important as the Open Meetings Law, has been violated."

The attorney general added, "No matter whether individual citizens agree with the substance of the bill or the manner in which it was enacted, I would hope all see the value in ensuring this matter be given the opportunity to work its way expeditiously through the judicial process."

Procedurally, in order to appeal a non-final order in any pending matter, which Sumi's temporary restraining order is in this case, permission from the appellate authority is required before an appeal may be filed, Van Hollen's office explained.

The department, the attorney general said, will be seeking this permission and with it will file its appeal.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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