Void ab Initio

By lex, on June 14th, 2011

The Wisconsin supreme court has overturned the decision of a lower court judge who had struck down legislation restricting public sector union collective bargaining privileges:

The court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi’s ruling, which had held up implementation of the collective bargaining law, was void ab initio, or invalid from the outset.

In its decision, the state’s high court concluded that “choices about what laws represent wise public policy for the state of Wisconsin are not within the constitutional purview of the courts.”

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 court added that its role is limited to determining whether the Legislature employed a “constitutionally violative process in the enactment of the act. We conclude that the Legislature did not violate the Wisconsin Constitution by the process it used.”

Irrespective on where you come down on the issue of public sector unions and collective bargaining – for my own part, I think it’s bizarre to have public employees daggers drawn with the public they serve – this is a welcome return to the notion of constitutionalism.

It’s the role of legislatures to represent the will of the people, and the role of the people to hold their legislatures accountable for their actions (except for New York’s 9th Congressional district * , that is). Judges serve to interpret the constitutionality of legislation, not substitute their personal preferences for the peoples’ expressed will.

If Judge Sumi doesn’t like what her representatives are doing in Madison, she has the right to oppose them in the ballot booth, like everybody else. But not from the bench.

We remain a nation of laws, not men. Nor women neither.

Fortunately, with the summer coming and their students out of school, the teacher’s unions won’t have to burn up any more sick days in capital protests. No doubt they’ll spend the balance of their time off back in Madison, complete with stilt puppets and bongo drums.

** 05-18-2018 Link was gone; could not find new one – Ed. 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Politics

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