The PJ Tatler

Does Wisconsin's Judge Sumi have a conflict of interest?

Maryann Sumi is the judge who blocked the Wisconsin union bill, citing open meetings law. And in answer to the question in the headline: Maybe!

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. In fact, as a federation, the AFL-CIO can boast of several member-unions that represent public-sector employees. Maryann Sumi is hardly an unbiased judge in the matter.

Evidence with links in the post. And there’s this, from the comments:

According to Two sections of Title 28 of the United States Code (the Judicial Code) provide standards for judicial disqualification or recusal. Section 455, captioned “Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge,” provides that a federal judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The same section also provides that a judge is disqualified “where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding”; when the judge has previously served as a lawyer or witness concerning the same case or has expressed an opinion concerning its outcome; or when the judge or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial interest in the outcome of the proceeding. (emphasis added)

Hitch: The son no longer works for either of the unions for which he did previous work. At least, not that we know of. He is apparently a political consultant, and may be working for any number of folks with connections to the case. The questions need to be asked, and might have been answered easily by reading his company’s website…before they took it down, anyway.  Lawyers in the audience, what say you?

Aside: Who runs a company website on blogspot?

I’m still floored that more jokes haven’t been made over the fact that the judge’s name is Sue-Me. Did she rise to her judgeship from the firm of Dewey, Cheetham & Howe?