The State Supreme Court struck a blow today for process and the reputation of the Wisconsin judicial system when it sent two Voter ID cases back to the Courts of Appeals for their opinions first.
And that means the Courts of Appeals and the Voter ID proponents don't get to skip a step.
In other words, no more quickie Room Service Rulings, like the one the Court served up in the contentious union-stripping case on a time table demanded by GOP state legislators, predicted with smug certainty by conservative talk radio hosts and raising the appearance of a fait accompli.
As I wrote after the union-stripping decision written by Justice David Prosser and excoriated by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson:
...the [Journal Sentinel] editorial board, which has since weighed in, calling the ruling injurious to the Court's standing, "rash" and "slapdash."
And [former Justice Janine] Geske's commentary certainly underscores a point that Chief Justice Abrahamson made in her mighty dissent - - that it will enable people to conclude that the majority...
“...reached a pre-determined conclusion not based on the facts and the law, which undermines the majority's ultimate decision."Along with other troubling issues, said Abrahamson, who joined the Wisconsin high court in 1976, and is the nation's longest serving state supreme court justice:
“Justice Prosser’s concurrence is longer than the order. The concurrence consists mostly of a statement of happenings. It is long on rhetoric and long on storytelling that appears to have a partisan slant. Like the order, the concurrence reaches unsupported conclusions.”So all in all, despite the surprise and disappointment offered by conservative talker Jeff Wagner on WTMJ-AM Monday afternoon - - the order for Courts of Appeals' reviews is good for the Court and the people of the state.
When it comes to law and voting rights, and governance generally, process matters.