Judge to Wisconsin GOP: What part of ‘no’ do you not understand?

JUDGE TO WISCONSIN GOP: WHAT PART OF ‘NO’ DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?…. Nearly two weeks ago, a state judge issued a restraining order, blocking implementation of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union measure. Last week, state Republicans came up with a not-so-clever scheme to circumvent the court order and pretend that their proposal is, in fact, ready-to-enforce law.

Yesterday, the same state judge gave this another shot, issuing another order blocking the measure, since GOP officials were apparently confused by the first one.

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi said that her original restraining order issued earlier this month was clear in saying no steps should be take to advance the law. The GOP governor’s administration did so after the bill was published Friday by a state agency not named in Sumi’s earlier temporary restraining order.

“Further implementation of the act is enjoined,” Sumi said.

“Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined. That is what I now want to make crystal clear.”

So, the ambiguities have been removed and we’re finally all on the same page, right? Wrong. Almost immediately after Judge Sumi issued this new order, some Republicans said that as far as they’re concerned, the union-busting measure is still the law, court order or no court order.

And how, pray tell, does the GOP reach this conclusion? First, Republicans believe Sumi blocked enforcement of the measure, but didn’t say the measure isn’t law.

Second, and on a related note, since the GOP thinks the union-busting proposal is now law, and the restraining order still only gives instructions to the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office about blocking implementation, Republicans still believe agencies not mentioned in the order can ignore it.

The Walker administration’s Department of Justice said, “Whether the Department of Administration or other state officers choose to comply with any direction issued by Judge Sumi is up to them.”

A legal process really isn’t supposed to work this way, with officials having the discretion to choose between a court-imposed restraining order and the opinions of a gubernatorial administration.

But for now, that’s apparently where we are. We should receive further clarification on Friday with another hearing.

Between now and then, the Walker administration should probably pay careful attention to this language from yesterday’s court order:”Now that I’ve made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin.”