Emails obtained through the Wisconsin Open Records law indicate former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk emailed all county employees and circuit court judges, including Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi, with a memo announcing her intention to file suit against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill.
In response, Falk received three responses from court employees. Kathy Melzerand Elaine Creagerresponded with encouraging notes. Peter Anderson repliedwith “doubts about the appropriateness of sending a message about filing a legal action to the judges of the circuit court where the action is likely to be filed.”
Anderson is Sumi’s colleague on the bench. He’s a judge who felt it was inappropriate to give the judges a heads-up that this lawsuit was coming.
There was no similar statement from Sumi. Instead, with this knowledge in hand, she moved quickly to agree with Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne’s suit to void the budget repair law.
Was this all a set up from the beginning?
The end result, of course, was that Sumi’s ruling was ridiculous and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported, “The court concluded that Sumi exceeded her jurisdiction, ‘invaded’ the Legislature's constitutional powers and erred in halting the publication and implementation of the collective bargaining law.” The Supreme Court reinstated the budget repair legislation, including the curtailment of collective bargaining privileges.
Ozanne was quoted by the AP as saying, “We've done the best we can…it looks like we've lost."
That sounds more like an apology to supporters than an acknowledgement of a loss in the judicial process.
As I said, Education Action Group received Falk’s communication via an Open Records request. At the same time, we filed one for Ozanne’s communications. He ignored our repeated requests.
Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and EAGnews.org, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.
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