Incredible. How is it possible for this man to have the power to prevent a law from going into effect?
I thought the law was published back on March 25th:
The drama over Gov. Scott Walker's controversial measure limiting public sector collective bargaining took a sharp turn Friday [March 25th] when the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law — normally the last step before legislation takes effect....Is it published already or not? Let's look at the new state supreme court opinion:
A restraining order prevented Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the act. But the state constitution says only that laws must be published before they can take effect; it does not specify by whom.
This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature. It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides: “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.” Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part: “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published. (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”How can La Follette, a member of the executive branch, control the power that belongs to the legislature? According to Wisconsin Supreme Court, the way the legislature has provided for publication is — in § 14.38(10)(c) — to direct the Secretary of State to publish it. So La Follette had a statutory duty back in March. But the trial judge — Sumi — ordered La Follette not to publish the law. Now, Supreme Court's opinion declares the judge's order "void ab initio." That is, the order was always void. But knowing that La Follette wasn't ever bound doesn't cause something that didn't happen to have happened in the past. And indeed, the court's opinion looks to the future, saying "there remain no impediments to the Secretary of State fulfilling his obligations under § 14.38(10)(c)."
But there's another statutory provision that the main opinion fails to discuss, and it does seem to be an impediment. Justice Prosser, who's part of the majority, wrote a separate opinion, which brings up § 35.095(3). As applied in this case, it presents a puzzling conflict:
(a) The legislative reference bureau shall publish every act . . . within 10 working days after its date of enactment.The Legislative Reference Bureau complied with the requirements of (a) back in March, and, as noted, La Follette, because of Judge Sumi's order, never fulfilled his obligation under (b). The main opinion said "there remain no impediments to the Secretary of State fulfilling his obligations under § 14.38(10)(c)," but that obligation is detailed in § 35.095(3)(b) in terms that are now impossible to fulfill. Maybe that's why they didn't want to talk about it! It's a problem that should never have arisen, but Judge Sumi's (invalid) order made it happen. Now what?
(b) The secretary of state shall designate a date of publication for each act . . . . The date of publication may not be more than 10 working days after the date of enactment.
Why didn't the court just decide that the publication by the Legislative Reference Bureau was effective? When is the effective date of the law? It should be March 26th. How can it be June 28th if Sumi's order was void ab initio and it's too late for La Follette to publish "10 working days after the date of enactment"? I'm guessing that the court thought that as a matter of separation of powers, it had no business doing anything but getting out of the way of the legislature.