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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Judge Sumi Warns Attorneys About Criticisms

The attorneys present during these comments indicated it was not clear to whom they were directed, but I have to believe the warnings were directed at attorneys for the State.

As reported by JSOnline (emphasis mine):
Before wrapping up a brief hearing Wednesday, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi offered a word of caution to attorneys involved in high-profile lawsuits over collective bargaining in Wisconsin.

Sumi said emotions are running high over two cases she is hearing regarding Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate most collective bargaining for public workers. That "spirited debate" is important in a democracy, but attorneys must keep in mind their professional ethics, Sumi said.

"They all have a responsibility to promote and not denigrate the judicial branch and, more importantly, the rule of law," she said.

She advised lawyers to review state Supreme Court rules that say: "A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge...."

She referred to public comments made by attorneys after a Tuesday hearing, but did not elaborate.
I have not seen any comments by attorneys in the case which rise to the level in the rule cited above.  Attorneys are free to criticize the content of a ruling by a Judge, and as I have documented, there was plenty to criticize in the Judge Sumi's decision to interfere in the legislative process by attempting to prevent a bill from becoming law.

I find it disturbing that Judge Sumi issued this warning, which carries the threat of a Bar disciplinary referral. This is tantamount to the nuclear option, by putting attorney licenses to practice on the line.

Such a warning necessarily is one-sided, since only the attorneys unhappy with a court's rulings would comment negatively.  Such a warning allows the winning side, so far the Democrats, to crow all day long about the court rulings, while muffling the ability of the Republicans to explain why such rulings were unjustified.

This is a highly political case which has been made even more political by the court's rulings.  Absent comments which impugn Judge Sumi's integrity or make false statements about her, the attorneys in the case should be free to comment.

Updtate 3-31-2011: Judge Sumi Rules Budget Repair Bill Not In Effect

Related Posts:
Wisconsin Judge Expands TRO, Prohibits Implementation of Budget Bill
Judge Sumi's Mess
Wisconsin Publishes Budget Repair Bill Despite TRO

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  1. That's the clearest sign yet that Sumi is prepping the media battlespace for her decision to rule in favor of the unions.

    What judge Sumi fails to understand is that her tacit threat to stifle legitimate criticism of the judiciary only further reinforces the perception that the judiciary (and specifically her actions as a judge) is/are corrupt. She's accelerating the erosion of her credibility and underming the judiciary by failing to respect the legitimate boundaries of her judicial power.

    That leads to anarchy.

  2. Ah, yes. The judge with the inviting name. I bet her nickname is "So."

  3. ......and if anyone had any doubt about how Judge Sumi will eventually rule on this issue.

    She has indeed 'gone national' and is immensely enjoying her 15 minutes of fame.

  4. This so parallels the partisan actions of the WI police and fire fighters that I have to ask if there is a judge's union in WI? Since when is the government, the Democratic Party and unions interchangeable terms?

  5. "Disturbing", sure.

    Surprising? Nope. AFSCME is now actively threatening businesses in Racine, Waukesha, and Walworth Counties if those businesses do not put up their Fistie Poster in the window.

    Sumi is becoming a laughingstock: she didn't read the law, she enjoined the wrong parties, and now she's ignoring SCOWI precedent, too, regarding publication of the law.

    IOW, she's an incompetent. But one dast not SAY that!

    I'm not an attorney, didn't sleep at Holiday Inn. But my father was one, and he'd prolly go out there and stomp on her bench over this crap.

  6. "Absent comments which impugn Judge Sumi's integrity..."

    That doesn't leave much room to comment about Sumi, does it?

  7. I'm no attorney, but since when did it become a judge's duty to PREVENT a law from being enacted by a duly elected legislative body? Isn't the more appropriate judicial path to question the law AFTER it's been enacted? Under Judge "So Sue Me's" rationale, then the SCOTUS should ostensibly be able to prevent Congress from enacting any law it so chooses; and the same would seem to apply for SCOTUS preventing any POTUS executive order from being enacted. There's a reason the U.S. Constitution and state Constitutions stipulate three branches of government--and if memory serves, that reason is "balance of power." Since when is an ill-informed, union-bought district judge the self-declared be-all/end-all of legislative power in any government system in the U.S.? Why bother with a federal or state Constitution at all, or even with popular elections, if the judicial branch is going to presume to tell the legislative and executive branches what laws they can or cannot enact?

  8. Judge Sumi is only wearing boring black poly robes, not commanding leather gear.

    She needs to fake it better than this.

  9. Well, I guess that leaves us CITIZENS to exercise OUR rights of FREE SPEECH to opine on the ludicrous and obviously politically influenced decision that this poor excuse for an officer of the court, Attorney at law (I presume) and biased fount of injustice in Wisconsin has excreted.

    That she is a Democrat is hardly mentioned (though they make a point of her being nominated by a Republican). It's also not pointed out that she has an obvious conflict of interest due to her son being associated with those most interested in derailing Gov. Walkers attempt at balancing the Wisconsin budget and bringing the out of control union thievery of the people's purse to heel.

    Her actions reek of the arrogance of power and the willingness to use her position to stifle debate and criticism. Only tyrants fear public opinion. Only thieves fear the light of day. Only phonies attempt to stifle questions by their peers. Only charlatans fear to be exposed.

  10. What an amazing display of defensive ego-driven supercilious judicial crap. "I expect everyone in my courtroom to smile at me at all times and to say only good things about me. And to anyone who is not in my courtroom, that applies to you, too."
    Her attempt to blame others for her and the DA's screw up on their original ploy was enough for every thoughtfull person to see that she is in the unions' pocket.
    This entire exercise really is appalling.

  11. So how, pray tell, does one go about removing her from the bench? I know that State Supreme Court justices in WI are elected (only because of Justice Prosser's upcoming election), but what about her? There are references to her being "appointed" by a Republican....time to replace this blatant Dem partisan hack who is overreaching her judicial powers. Impeachment? Replacement by election? It's time.

    Sumi threatening these lawyers is enough for them to begin the process of removing her, since as you say, her threat can only apply to those who disagree with her or her rulings. She is thus a self-declared queen, dictator, tyrant.

    Hopefully the state will appeal any outcomes of her court hearings or trials regarding these cases; they should all be declared invalid due to her conflict of interest via her son's SEIU and AFL-CIO connections, past and present.

    No integrity. No limits. No regard for the rule of law. Must be a leftist Democrat!

  12. I'm lucky. As a law professor it is my JOB (and my professional obligation) to evaluate and criticize judges. And I don't have to pussyfoot about while doing it. It's called academic freedom.

    BTW, I never appear before any of them so they can't "kill" me on discretionary rulings like they can a practicing lawyer..

  13. When one has a well deserved reputation in the state as a reliable liberal, one should be so sensitive to political criticism

  14. Please, Judge Sumi is making new law! And only because there's nothing in the old law that empowers her to remove Gov. Walker from office. So kindly keep quiet (shut up!) while she conjures up precedent which undoubtedly will blaze new trials.

  15. Well, it could be worse ... at least the judge is paying token lip service to the things which are important in a democracy.

  16. if elections don't matter,then laws and courts don't matter either. In anarchist conditions, true anarchists don't last long. Only law protects them

  17. Suppression of speech has never been a part of the History of America - until now.
    We all know that it is an integral aspect of totalitarian and communist governments, but it should not be tolerated in America. Liberals are now exhibiting intolerance for differing views, contempt for free and fair lections by the people and they are trying to frustrate the legislative process. In addition to this, they are shopping legal claims, against positions which have been brought to law through the democratic process, to sympathetic activist judges.

    When people believe they can selectively obey only the laws that suit their political inclinations, and that they have no obligation to follow the democratic process they would have others obey, violence will eventually follow because righteous people will never accept such hypocrisy and injustice in America.

  18. So can "judge" Sumi be removed from office for attempting to intimidate attorneys for one side in a case? That's a tactic that might have been appropriate for a judge on some kind of Volksgericht, but not in America.

  19. So Sumi's afraid of . . . criticism? Maybe she should hold her hearing in a bus with hundreds of thugs pounding and threatening violence and with dithering police who see no conduct worthy of arrest or intervention. Justice in Wisconsin would make Hugo Chavez proud.

  20. She advised lawyers to review state Supreme Court rules that say: "A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge...."

    Would that then allow the rest of us to call you a complete IDIOT. You think you are going to limit the freedom of speech because you, Judge Sumi, are afraid of a little critism? Are you a fool in life or do you play one in your court. Contemptible Twit.

  21. Can we go sit in her courtroom, pound drums, and chant silly slogans all day?

  22. She sounds like a union thug. "Nice law practice you've got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it."

  23. Limiting free speech is an old American tradition. Sedition laws?

    But it is not a very popular tradition generally.