Ozanne may seek rehearing of collective bargaining case - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Ozanne may seek rehearing of collective bargaining case


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County District Attorney may ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision that upheld the collective bargaining law.

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says knowledge of a prior business agreement between a Supreme Court justice and a law firm, may have him filing a motion that would essentially re-open the case.

This all dates back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court's June 14 ruling that a temporary restraining order be lifted. The court ruled 4-3, and the majority wrote that a Dane County judge had gone above legislative power when she issued a temporary restraining order against the collective bargaining bill.

One of those issuing a majority vote: Justice Michael Gableman.

Ozanne says his office is looking into the fact that Gableman received free law services from a firm during a 2008 ethics case; from the same firm that also defended the state in the collective bargaining lawsuit.

Ozanne said, "It definitely calls into question, whether or not someone could be fair and just."

He says he may file a motion asking Justice Gableman to recuse himself from the decision, which would require reopening the case.

Republican Senator Glen Grothman, R, West Bend, calls the district attorney's move political and says there's no conflict of interest.

Grothman said, "The outcome in this case should have been so obvious, I don't see how anyone could imply it affected Justice Gableman's judgement on the decision."

He added, "It's sad and purely political. This is a subtle decision that's really quite obvious. It's just, sadly, the Dane County District Attorney using his title and position to try to further embarrass justice Gableman and this excellent law that's been passed."

Marquette Law Professor and president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty Rick Esenberg says he doesn't believe the motion would succeed because a justice's decision to recuse them self is essentially his or her own decision.

Esenberg said, "The court as a whole is without power to force a brother or a sister justice to recuse... This motion to reopen is going to be denied."

Esenberg says there would be a chance the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it would rule on a due-process violation. He says he doesn't see it going that far.

The District Attorney said he'll review information regarding Gableman and isn't sure when or if he'll file a motion.

27 News did request to speak with both Gableman and the law firm Michael, Best and Friedrich; they did not respond.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne tells The Associated Press he may ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to uphold the law that restricts collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

Ozanne said Thursday he is "taking a look" at seeking a rehearing.

He said the reason is that one of the four justices who cast a deciding vote in the case had previously received free legal services from a law firm that was defending the collective bargaining law.

Justice Michael Gableman retained the law firm of Michael Best and Friedrich to defend him in a 2008 ethics case.  Michael Best also defended the state in the collective bargaining lawsuit.

Ozanne says he is still examining the facts in that case and he has no timeline for making a decision.

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