Madison, Wis. (WHBL) - The state Justice Department said Madison Judge Maryann Sumi stopped being impartial in the lawsuit over the state’s union bargaining limits, when she defended her involvement in the case in a brief filed with the Supreme Court. Today, the Dane County circuit judge threw out the law, saying a legislative panel broke the state’s Open Meeting Law when it passed the measure in March. The Supreme Court was already scheduled to hold a hearing June sixth on whether Sumi had the authority to block the union bargaining limits. The Walker administration has asked the Supreme Court to let the law take effect. In a letter to the judge yesterday, the Justice Department questioned Sumi’s decision to file a legal brief on that issue. They said the judge took positions on key matters in the open meeting case – like whether the courts could prevent a law from taking effect. Assistant attorney general Steven Means said Sumi had the right to file the court brief – but he noted that it quote, “carries some consequences.” Means also said the judge made her decision without holding a trial, or making it clear there wouldn’t be one. But Judge Sumi said the Dane County District Attorney who filed the Open Meeting complaint presented “clear and convincing evidence” the meeting law was broken. State Employees’ Union chief Marty Beil (beel) called today’s ruling a victory for transparency in government – but it wouldn’t help his union for long. That’s because G-O-P lawmakers say they’ll put the union bargaining limits into the new state budget if the courts don’t restore those limits in June.
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