Secretary asks supreme court to withdraw or dismiss petition relating
to budget repair bill
Legal wrangling over the budget repair bill continues with latest
petition filed by Secretary of State Doug La Follette, who argues that
it’s premature for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide issues
presented in a petition that was certified from the appeals court.
By Joe Forward, Legal Writer,
State Bar of Wisconsin
April 7, 2011 – Wisconsin
Secretary of State Douglas La Follette recently asked the Wisconsin
Supreme Court to dismiss a petition to review issues concerning the
budget repair bill.
In a motion
filed today, La Follette says supreme court review of Dane County
Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi’s March 18 restraining order to
temporarily stop publication of 2011 Wis. Act 10 would be premature and
not in the interests of justice or judicial economy.
Judge Sumi issued the order to determine whether Republican lawmakers
violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law in passing the act on March
9. The order prevented La Follette from publishing the act, a
requirement for implementation of the law. On behalf of La Follette and
four Republican lawmakers, the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed an
appeal on March 21.
The appeals court on March 24 filed a certification to the supreme
court, asking it to decide whether Judge Sumi had the authority to stop
publication of the act and whether voiding the act is a remedy if
lawmakers violate open meetings laws in passing it. In addition, the
appeals court refused to overturn Judge Sumi’s temporary
restraining order (TRO).
On March 29, La Follette obtained substitute legal counsel, arguing
that a conflict of interest exists between the arguments asserted by
Republican lawmakers and La Follette’s constitutional and
statutory responsibilities as secretary of state.
In hearings March 31 and April 1, Judge Sumi issued a preliminary
injunction to halt publication of the act until further order of the
court, and made clear that publication of the act by the Legislative
Reference Bureau (RB) on March 25 did not implement the law.
Today, in a motion filed with the supreme court, La Follette argued
that it would premature to decide issues relating to Judge Sumi’s
temporary restraining order.
“If this court were to grant an interlocutory appeal on the
original temporary order, the subsequent circuit court orders and full
evidentiary record would not be before this Court,” La Follette
argued through his attorney, Roger Sage. “Review of the original
non-final order is not in the interests of justice or judicial
Timeline of events
March 9: Republican members of the Wisconsin Senate and of a joint
legislative committee pass parts of the budget repair bill, 2011
Wisconsin Act 10.
March 11: Gov. Scott Walker signs the bill.
March 16: Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne files a lawsuit,
asserting lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law in
passing the bill.
March 19: Judge Sumi issues a temporary
restraining order, preventing Secretary of State La Follette from
publishing the law, a requirement for implementation.
March 21: The Wisconsin Department of Justice, on behalf of four
Republican lawmakers and Secretary of State La Follette, files a petition
for leave to appeal Judge Sumi’s decision and asks the
appeals court to stay the TRO to allow publication of the act.
March 24: The District IV Wisconsin Court of Appeals certifies
the DOJ’s petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court (the supreme
court has not decided whether to grant certification).
March 29: The Dane County Circuit Court grants La Follette’s
request for substitute counsel in place of the Department of Justice.
The appeals court denies the DOJ’s request for an order that its
petition for leave to appeal Judge Sumi’s March 18 TRO has been
rendered moot by the LRB’s publication of the law on March 25.
March 31 and April 1: Judge Sumi issues a preliminary injunction to
halt publication of the act until further order of the court, and
clarifies that publication of the act by the LRB did not implement the
April 7: La Follette asks the supreme court to withdraw or dismiss the
petition for leave to appeal Judge Sumi’s March 18 TRO as
court asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide budget repair bill
issues – March 24, 2011
Department of Justice files petition in case halting publication of
budget repair bill – March 21, 2011