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In Wisconsin, the governor is daring to defy the judiciary.
On Tuesday, after Judge Maryann Sumi ordered Gov. Walker and his administration for the second time not to implement the anti-union bill they rammed through, they acted like they could still ignore her court order.
"We don't believe that the court can enjoin non-parties," Bill Cosh, a spokesman for the state's Department of Justice, said in a statement. Amazingly, he added that it's up to Walker's administrators themselves to decide whether they want to obey the judge or not. "Whether the Department of Administration or other state officers choose to comply with any direction issued by Judge Sumi is up to them," he said.
These guys would make Richard Nixon envious of their contempt for the judiciary.
As State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca told me, "We're approaching a constitutional crisis." And as he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"It's just startling that the attorney general believes you should not follow court orders anymore," he said.
This isn't the first judge's order the Walker administration has disregarded.
After a hearing on having the capitol open to the public, Judge John Albert on March 3 ordered the Walker's administration to revert to the open "access policies in effect on Jan. 28, 2011." But it never has done that. Instead, it is forcing people to enter one at a time, and it is now fining people for hanging signs in the capitol.
But the violation of Judge Sumi's order is much more flagrant than that.
Judge Sumi ought to cite Gov. Walker and his Department of Administration for contempt of court if they dare try to implement this law any further.
And any public employee who has his or her take-home pay docked this Friday under the new law ought to be able to join a class action suit against the state of Wisconsin for tampering with their paychecks.
And the district attorney of Dane County should sue the Walker administration and its Department of Administration for violating a court order.
This lawlessness must stop.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Wis. Judge Puts Law on Hold Again, Warns Walker Administration Not to Defy the Court."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.