Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen [official website] on Thursday filed a filed a Petition for Supervisory Writ [text, PDF] directly to the state Supreme Court over a circuit court judge's temporary blocking [JURIST report] of a controversial bill that limits the rights of public employee unions. The suit claims that Dane County Circuit Court [official website] Judge Maryann Sumi did not have the constitutional authority to block the publication of the Budget Repair Bill [Senate Bill 11 text, PDF]. It then asks the Wisconsin Supreme Court [official website] to immediately take jurisdiction of the case and dismiss it. A Petition for Supervisory Writ is not a direct appeal of any lower court decision, but rather a procedure that starts a new action altogether [Wis. Stat. 809.70 text] because the petitioner claims a judge violated his or her constitutional authority.
Last month, Sumi issued an order [JURIST report] clarifying that the temporary restraining order issued March 18 prohibits not only publication of the bill, but implementation of its provisions as well. Sumi's order was issued in response to debate among government officials [JURIST report] that the law went into effect after it was published on the Wisconsin Legislative Bureau's website. The lawsuit [complaint, PDF] over the bill alleges that Republican lawmakers did not follow the state's open meetings law [text], a rule requiring 24 hours notice—or two hours if there is an emergency—before a public meeting. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne [official website] filed the complaint [JURIST report] in an attempt to invalidate the law, which strips public unions of the vast majority of their collective bargaining right.