Apr 30, 2013

Wisconsin GOP: Not Lawful Is No Problem

If Republicans pass a bill into law that is unlawful and unconstitutional, and furthermore is found to be irreparably harmful to Wisconsin citizens by a circuit court judge who subsequently halts implementation (issues an injunction) of the law; then that the law is on hold until a higher court rules or another order rules otherwise.

This is a fundamental check of the judicial branch of government on the other two branches, needed especially when the two branches are temporarily occupied by corrupt partisans.

But a fundamental check not anymore, if the Republican Party's conception of government is ultimately upheld.

A new bill proposed by Republicans, and supported solely by Republicans shows how intent the GOP is on using their gerrymandered legislative majorities to pass unconstitutional bills against political opponents, and in service to moneyed interests such as the Koch brothers and the Cline Resource and Development Group mining interests.

Under the new bill, Assembly Bill 161 (and Senate Bill 154), judicial oversight by a circuit judge is radically altered and its rulings no longer have the force of law, if Republicans object (within 10 days).

Then, an injunction is no longer operative (the injunction is stayed) and whatever unconstitutional laws the Republicans enact will remain the law of the land until and unless another state appellate court acts.

During that period of time, GOP lawlessness is the law of the land.

This GOP bill eviscerates judicial protection of citizens from corrupt partisans. (See also the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau memo of April 10, 2013.)

Notes John Nichols:

(T)he purpose of judicial oversight is to frustrate the ambitions of power-hungry legislators and executives. The whole point of the separation of powers outlined in the federal and state constitutions is to ensure that no branch of government can casually diminish the rights of citizens, or create imperial government.
So, can the Republicans do this?

The only quote I found on the constitutionality of the proposed bill is by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske.

Geske said,"To statutorily undo a court order before another court has acted on it is clearly to me an infringement on a court's independence, I don't think it will withstand constitutional scrutiny." (Marley. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, April 10, 2013)

Assembly Bill 161 reads like the 2011 U.S. House spending bill declaring a House bill passed by the GOP has the force of law should the U.S. Senate fail to approve another spending bill within some three weeks of passage of the House bill.

That bill was widely ridiculed as unconstitutional, and the bill faded.

But the undeniable effect of the Wisconsin bill is: The Constitution is not in force, and judicial enforcement of the law no longer is operative because the Republicans have said so, and this matter will not fade so fast.

Consider:  In the case of the Wisconsin Assembly Bill 161, Republicans say a judicial order has no force of law because the Republicans have crafted a bill explicitly stating such.

So what happens when a judge finds this law (a fast-tracked bill for now) unconstitutional, and Republicans object to the judicial order, saying their objection nullifies the judicial order under their unconstitutional law?

In that case, the matter becomes more than an obscure GOP power-grab, and becomes a full-blown Wisconsin constitutional crisis—the like of which I have never seen in this state.

Welcome back to Scott Walker's Wisconsin, still here and still power-mad and corrupt.

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