The state Supreme Court began hearing arguments this morning on if it should take up a legal challenge to how the Governor’s collective bargaining bill was passed. The high court is being asked to overturn a decision by Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi, who voided the law after ruling the Legislature violated the Open Meetings Act during passage of the bill.
Assistant Attorney General Kevin St. John asked the court to rule quickly on the matter, calling it unprecedented for a court to invalidate a law on the sole basis of a pre-existing statute. The state has argued a violation of the Open Meetings Law would only be a procedural issue, and should not void passage of a bill.
Justices questioned St. John for over an hour on why the high court should intervene. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson focused in on claims by the state that Judge Sumi exceeded her authority in blocking implementation of the law with a restraining order. Abrahamson says the real issue comes down to if the court has the power to stop legislative action on the basis of a violation of the Open Meetings Law.
The court also heard from Marie Stanton, the attorney representing Judge Sumi, who called on the court to dismiss the petition.
Justice Michael Gableman questioned if the circuit court ruling could stop future laws from taking effect. Stanton says it already has the duty to do so, and this case would not grant it any new powers.
Arguments in the case continue this afternoon. It’s not yet known when the Supreme Court could rule on the request.