Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a hero among Republicans for pushing through a law neutering public employee unions.
But a judge today ruled the law null and void, because the Assembly passed it by trampling all over Wisconsin's open meetings laws.
The ruling by Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi was the upshot of the way a GOP-controlled committee did an end run around 14 Democrats who left the state to prevent action on the bill.[jump]
They used a stealth move to avoid quorum rules and approve the measure, which went on to the Assembly the next day and passed.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca accused Republicans of malfeasance the night the committee met - with protesters chanting right outside the committee room's doors. As the roll was called, Barca yelled, "No!," leaped to his feet and declared, over and over, "This is a violation of the state's open meetings law."
Judge Sumi agreed.
"This case is the exemplar of values protected by the Open Meetings Law: transparency in government, the right of citizens to participate in their government, and respect for the rule of law. It is not the court's business to determine whether 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is good public policy or bad public policy; that is the business of the Legislature. It is this court's responsibility, however, to apply the rule of law to the facts before it."
An appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court is all but inevitable.