Thursday, June 16, 2011

WI Sup Ct issues a ruling of injustice

State Sup. Ct. ruling allows legislature to enforce its own rules

A quick statement about the recent State Supreme Court ruling.

As it was two days ago, I know it's old news; still, the implications of the ruling that the anti-collective bargaining bill was passed legally are too staggering to ignore.

What the State Supreme Court essentially said in its majority opinion is that the rules of the legislature (even when passed as law) are subject to that body's own interpretations, that no other institution has the right to determine whether violations occur. That may seem like a healthy dose of autonomy between branches of government -- but in reality, the judgment has serious consequences.

If a violation of a law that affects legislative rules occurs, who will step in to remedy it? Like the fox watching the hen-house, the legislature cannot fairly police itself. Through the common practice of checks and balances, the judiciary must involve itself within the disputes of the legislature. Who else but the interpreters of the law are best equipped to determine whether or not our elected representatives are acting within it?

The legislature, too, is empowered with certain privileges, including the right to change or modify laws that it deems improper. But to grant this body the power to enforce its own rules (as this ruling now does) borders on Nixonian. Indeed, in the same way as the embattled president once insisted "when the president does it, that means it's not illegal," the state legislature can now assume that when it breaks the rules, it's really not that big a deal.

We shouldn't allow the players of our democracy to also be the referees. It's also not the time for the people to become mere spectators to this atrocity.

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