A defendant’s lawyer in the Dane County district attorney’s lawsuit wrote a letter Tuesday objecting to a request by the attorney general’s office asking the Supreme Court to decide to take up the case before Thursday, the last day the Department of Justice can file an appeal.
Robert Jambois, lawyer to Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said in his letter that he was working on papers to dismiss a previous action by the Department of Justice when he received a copy of another letter sent to the Supreme Court from Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar.
Lazar’s letter, sent Tuesday, asked the Supreme Court to quickly decide whether to hear the open meetings law case.
“I don’t believe in writing letters to [the director of state courts] to get this matter heard by the Supreme Court quickly is the appropriate action to take; however, I feel it is necessary to respond to [Lazar's] correspondence to you,” Jambois said.
The DOJ has until Thursday to appeal a Dane County Circuit Court judge’s temporary restraining order placed upon the Secretary of State Doug La Follette to prohibit the publication and implementation of the collective bargaining bill.
In order for the DOJ to appeal the order, the four Republican defendants must make an appearance in court. So far, all four have refused to appear because legislators have immunity for actions taken during a legislative session.
Unless the Supreme Court decides to take up the case, Lazar said in her letter, the four Republicans would be forced to determine whether to waive their legislative immunity or let important issues go unanswered.
Barca’s lawyer said in his letter to the court he did not agree with Lazar’s letter that essentially asked “the Supreme Court to ‘hurry it up.’”
Jambois also said the DOJ’s previous appeal to have the case heard by the Supreme Court had no weight because it neglected “in their rush” to notify Barca and Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, who are listed alongside the four Republicans as defendants in the trial.
The four Republicans do not appear to be willing to waive their legislative immunity. Senate Majority Leader and defendant in the case Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he will not waive his immunity to file an appeal Thursday, according to his spokesperson, Andrew Welhouse.