Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scott Walker attempts to influence judicial branch

Comments by governor overstep their bounds

Gov. Scott Walker once again made the threat of layoffs for state workers if the budget repair law continues to be delayed.

We're used to these threats by now, and know that Walker isn't afraid to make them. He's made them to the people, and he's made them to legislators. It's an inexcusable tactic of threatening people's jobs and lives to get his way, without consideration of other options that are on the table for balancing the budget. In short, it's using the working class people of Wisconsin as hostages in order to get everyone else to bend to his whim.

Using it to influence the judicial branch, however, is a new low, even for Walker.

An impartial branch of government (such as the judiciary) shouldn't be influenced by anything other than the Constitution, stare decisis, and the law before the judge(s) that's in question. Scott Walker, however, feels differently, believes that his threats are sufficient and appropriate "reminders" of what he'll do if his policies aren't carried out.

But should Judge Maryann Sumi give in? If she wants to uphold the rule of law -- and the respect for a separation of powers -- she should stand her ground. Judge Sumi was presented with a situation that merited a temporary hold on the law. Senate Republicans rammed the budget repair bill through committee, without sufficient notice to the public, and passed it within a matter of hours. To push aside that fact would ignore the rule of law in our state, would destroy the rights of all Wisconsin citizens to be presented proper notification of meetings that discuss bills that will affect their lives.

Judge Sumi made the decision to place a hold on the law until it could be further reviewed. Scott Walker has made the decision, however, to hold the jobs of thousands of Wisconsinites hostage in order to influence Judge Sumi's ruling.

How brash of this governor! If there's one thing about Scott Walker that we know, it's that he has no qualms whatsoever with violating respected boundaries of governmental norms. But this goes beyond what is expected even of our current governor. By trying to influence the judiciary in this way, Walker violates the respect of checks and balances, of keeping his influence out of an impartial branch of government.

Judge Sumi is no activist -- she ruled in a way any respectable judge would rule. Gov. Walker, on the other hand, is proving day-in and day-out that he, as the chief executive of our state, is an extremist, willing to carry out his policies by any means necessary, including those that destroy the structure of our government.

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