BREAKING: Judge Issues Restraining Order Blocking Anti-Union Wisconsin Law

A Wisconsin judge just issued an order temporarily blocking Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights from going into effect:

Judge Maryann Sumi issued the order to temporarily block the law as Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne had requested as part of his lawsuit.

Ozanne filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing Republican legislative leaders of violating Wisconsin’s open meetings law during the rushed run-up to a Senate vote on the measure last week.

Ozanne, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit contending that a legislative committee that broke a political stalemate that had kept the law in limbo for weeks met without the 24-hour notice required by Wisconsin’s open meetings law. The Republican majority voted last week to pass the legislation without Senate Democrats, who had left the state to block just such a vote. Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law last week.

Today’s decision is only a temporary order suspending the law until the judge has more time to consider the case, but it will “prevent Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law — and allowing it to take effect — until [the judge] can rule on the merits of the case.” That could be quite some time, as Ozanne plans to call as many as 20 witnesses and supporters of the law will likely want to present their own evidence in response.

As ThinkProgress previously explained, a Wisconsin judge has the power to invalidate government business which takes place in violation of the state’s open meetings law. While today’s order is only temporary, it buys time for supporters of workers rights in Wisconsin to present their arguments to the court and to gather additional protesters if the Wisconsin GOP attempts to repass the law with proper notice.


The state will seek an immediate appeal of this decision. Because the trial judge has not reached a final judgment on the case, however, the appeals court is not required to hear that appeal.

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