Saturday, March 19, 2011
Unless you have be living under a bus, by now you have heard that a lower court judge enjoined the enforcement of the union busting bill that was signed into law by Wisconsin Gov. Walker. The decision is Wisconsin v. Fitzgerald, (March 18, 2011) and can be downloaded here Download Wisconsin v. Fitzgerald (March 18, 2011).
The decision was based upon the following langague in the Open Meeting Law.
“Public notice of every meeting of a governmental body shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of such meeting unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no case may the notice be provided less than two hours in advance of the meeting.”
There is no primary authority in Wisconsin interpreting this language. The decision by Judge Sumi is a bit disappointing to me. It is only 8 double spaced pages long and appears and reads like a speech. No doubt that this case is going to the Wisconsin Supreme Court so I am surprised that the decision was not more scholarly.
However, this does not mean that the Judge was wrong or that the decision should be reversed. While the decision does not do a good job in documenting the facts, if less than 2 hours notice were given then the court's decision is clearly correct and ultimately the legislation will be declared void. Even if 2 hour notice were given, it seems that there is also a strong argument that 24 hours notice still should have been given. I fail to understand how it would have been "impractical" to give shorter notice.
Therefore, my view is that at the end of the day this decision will be upheld on appeal even though it could have been written in a more scholarly fashion.
More interesting to me is whether Gov. Walker will give up the fight on this Bill and simply pass another. My guess is that he will not because he does not want to admit that he was wrong-very wrong.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein