Thursday, January 7, 2016

Legislating from bench, State Supreme Court renders Whistleblower Law Useless, protecting crime and abuse.

Its been an incredible day for news about Republican corruption and abuse of power. Each report is met with name calling and defensive tweets by lapdog followers so emotionally invested in their party that admitting fault would destroy them.  

You'd think dark money and hiding government records would have gotten their attention...but it didn't. Conservative voters are defending their Supreme Court Justices for legislating from the bench. Turns out, all that complaining about judicial activism was just a show, who knew?

Running counter to drumming out corruption and government waste was this revealing court decision that not only attacks and neuters the states whistleblower law, but protects the guilty and accused. Shepherd Express
State Supreme Court Gives green light to retaliate against state workers who speak up about corruption: The Supreme Court decision … is likely to strip many protections for those who report corruption or misconduct in state government … so far-reaching that it condones in some cases the firing of state employees who do the right thing despite facing opposition from their superiors.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in her dissent said, “Absent legal protections, it will be the rare employee who will risk her livelihood to act as a whistleblower … (the majority’s decision) “undermines the legislative purpose of Wisconsin’s whistleblower statute.”
It was before it suddenly wasn't:
The 3-2 Supreme Court decision found that the whistleblower law for state employees didn’t apply to and therefore wouldn’t protect a high-ranking DOJ official (like) Joell Schigur, who’d voiced concerns about the legality of then-Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s planned use of state-paid security for his appearance at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Rewriting the law (in red), our activist conservative justices twisted into this pretzel:
The three-person majority of justices finding against; Michael Gableman, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler; found that the state’s whistleblower statute only applies to those who disclose previously unknown information about potential misconduct in state government. The trio took a very limited view of the statute, finding that Schigur only offered her “opinion,” and didn’t disclose new information about potential corruption because her superiors already knew about Van Hollen’s trip to the convention.
That odd newly constructed hurdle stood out:
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote the dissent, saying that the state Legislature passed the whistleblower law because “employees are encouraged to disclose information, including a violation of any law or regulation and any mismanagement or substantial waste of public funds” … it now “denies protection for whistleblowers.” 

Bradley wrote there’s nothing in the law that says that the disclosed information must be new, although the majority’s decision now requires it.
And like everything else "revised" or created for the Walker Authority, Republicans can now operate freely, to exploit the gaping loopholes set into law:
Shockingly, Bradley wrote that the court’s decision in some instances would protect the corrupt wrongdoer instead of the whistleblower. “For example, what if an employee reported evidence of theft to her supervisor without knowing that he was actually the thief?” Bradley wrote. “The corrupt supervisor could fire the employee and she would have no protection as a whistleblower because the information was already known.”

1 comment:

Ben Cooper said...

The safety and security of whistle blower are the big concerned when exposing corrupt officials. The law should protect their identity while even the investigation is going on. Their livelihood is one factor why it's hard for them to speak up about any suspicious activity in their agencies.

http://www.goldbachlaw.com/long-beach/whistleblower-lawyer/