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Scott Walker and Wisconsin GOP Continue Lockdown in Contempt of Court; Issue Unconstitutional 'Arrest Warrants' for 14 Democratic Lawmakers

Republican leadership issued an unprecedented series of new rules, some of which were quickly assessed by lawyers as flatly unconstitutional.

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In the early evening on Thursday, a Dane County Court judge ruled for the second time that Walker's virtual shut down of the Capitol was an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of the protesters. An agreement was reached to return the Capitol to normal business operations by Monday. After talking to former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, Capitol Police Chief Tubbs and Sheriff Mahoney who explained the terms of the agreement, remaining protesters agreed to leave the building for cleaning. The 100 or so remaining protesters, who had stayed in the  building in an effort to keep it open, packed up their gear and left to the applause of Democratic Assembly members and countless other supporters who had been blocked from entering these past few days.

Lautenschlager summed up the two day-long court battle: "This is an important determination by the courts. First it says that actions of the state government officials are unconstitutional, and it also affords average citizens the right to be in their Capitol on Monday to lobby their legislators and conduct normal business. It is a huge plus in terms of access, and a huge plus in terms of signaling to Governor Walker and his colleagues that they will not be allowed to tread on people's constitutional rights.”

Protesters Having a Big Impact, Walker's Poll Numbers Tanking

All that drumming from the Wisconsin State Capitol is having a big impact. The governor's poll numbers are tanking, and even the Republican-friendly polling firm Rasmussen shows that only 41% support the governor's propsal to gut collective bargaining in the state, while 56% support the workers. Another poll shows that if the election were held today, Walker would lose in a rematch 52%-45%. 

There are many shoes yet to drop in this dramatic battle in Wisconsin. Will the Republicans attempt to enforce their illegal warrant against the missing 14? Will Papa Fitzgerald show for work in epaulettes? Will the governor start laying off 13,000 workers as promised, using real people with real lives as pawns in his political game?

Stay tuned, politics in Wisconsin have never been this wild.

Mary Bottari is the Director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project and editor of the site for bank busting activists.

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