By Ruth Conniff
The bill to deny public sector workers in Wisconsin most of their bargaining rights does not yet have the force of law.
So ruled Judge Maryann Sumi at the end of court on March 29 as she amended her temporary restraining order of March 18.
The amended order prohibits "any further implementation" of the bill "until any further order of the Court." She said from the bench that she wanted to make her order "crystal clear." She said her earlier order was "either misunderstood or ignored."
In a stern statement from the bench just prior to adjourning, Judge Sumi warned Gov. Walker's administration in no uncertain terms. "Those who sit in willful and open defiance of the court place not only themselves in peril," she said. "They also jeopardize the financial and governmental stability of the state."
The Democratic Assembly Minority Leader, Peter Barca, upon leaving the courtroom, said he heard a lawyer for the state Justice Department say there was still "ambiguity" about the judge's decision and that it was unclear whether the Walker administration would abide by the judge's decision.
"That's beyond comprehension," said Barca. "Wow! We're approaching a constitutional crisis here pretty quickly."
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Dirty Tricks in Wisconsin."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.