March 22, 2011

DOES WISCONSIN’S JUDGE SUMI have a conflict of interest? “Her son is a political operative who also happens to be a former lead field manager with the AFL-CIO and data manager for the SEIU State Council. Both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO have members who are public-sector employees in Wisconsin.”

Meanwhile lawprof Rick Esenberg isn’t impressed with her opinion: “Having taken a closer look at the text of Judge Sumi’s decision in Ozanne v. Fitzgerald, I am quite frankly astonished. The court seems to have managed to enjoin publication of the statutory changes in the budget repair bill without addressing any of the difficult issues that the case presents. . . . Sumi’s rationale – that the people “own” the government and nothing can happen in secret – can’t be right. That would require invalidation of an official action every time the open meetings law is violated – something that the open meetings law itself does not contemplate. It requires a further balancing of interests which require the consideration of things other than an open meetings violation. She purports to do that but her analysis ultimately reduces to the open meetings violation. Given the terms of the open meetings law itself, that can’t be enough.”

It’s as if the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

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