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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ind. Gov't. - More on the Wisconsin walkout issues

"Attorney General appeals restraining order on labor law" is the heading to a very long March 21st story by Jason Stein and Lee Bergquist of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here is the part about the AG's arguments:

In its appeal Monday, the state made several main arguments. First, the state argued that the court has no jurisdiction over GOP legislative leaders being sued or over La Follette because they all enjoy legal immunity.

The state constitution gives legislators immunity from lawsuits during the legislative session. La Follette, the state said, can't be the subject of a legal action because he wasn't involved in the committee vote in question.

Second, the state argued that the court can't block a bill that hasn't yet been published into law because that amounts to interfering with the Legislature in its area of responsibility of passing laws. The appeal cited a 1943 Supreme Court decision that it said forbids courts to block a legislative measure from being published.

The order from the appeals court directed Ozanne to respond to this specific argument from the state by Tuesday.

Last, the state argues that the courts can't block or strike down a law passed by the Legislature purely on the basis of lawmakers failing to follow legislative rules or the open meetings law. Citing a 1983 state Supreme Court ruling, the appeal said that courts can strike down laws only if lawmakers failed to follow the state constitution.

Howard Schweber, a professor of political science and legal studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, agreed that laws can't be struck down because the Legislature didn't follow its rules in passing them. But Schweber noted that Sumi hadn't struck down the law, only restrained a state official from publishing it.

"They're trying to make this an argument about the authority to strike down a law. But that's not what's going on here," he said.

What would happen in Indiana if the issue of failing to follow the Open Door law were raised? Is is hard to say. Yes, our law does apply to the General Assembly, by virtue of IC 5-14-1.5-2(a)(1). But our Supreme Court has held many times that it will not inquire into the internal legislative procedures, but will look only at the face of the law passed.

A second interesting J-S story yesterday, this one by Meg Jones, is headed "Supreme Court debate focuses on rancor among current justices: Collective bargaining battle looms over race for Wisconsin's high court."

[More] See also this March 23rd WSJ story, headed "Wisconsin's Battle Supreme: Liberals in the state are trying to make the April election for a state supreme court justice a referendum on Governor Walker."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 22, 2011 11:08 AM
Posted to Indiana Government