Madison Protest: Court Order

I really, really meant to write up a proper accounting of tonight’s events before going to bed, but I don’t have the energy or coherency to try it.  So I’ll just give you a basic rundown of the facts.

The court order says that come 8am Monday morning, the Capitol must be open with the same access rules that were in place on January 28th.  This is extremely specific, which is good, because it stomps the DOA’s ability to claim that the building is open to the public when it clearly isn’t.  The vagueness of the TRO issued Tuesday is how they’ve avoided contempt of court so far.  The malicious part of me is hoping that they won’t comply, so they can be found in contempt and deal with the nasty consequences involved there.  I’m sure I’ll listen to that part less once I’ve had a shower and spent some time in my bed.

The other part of the court order said that people had to vacate the Capitol at the close of business, i.e. 6pm today.  Livetweets from ACLUMadison announced the summary of the decision at 5:45.  There were a few chaotic moments there.

Ultimately, the decision came down to this: We did not recognize the authority of the DOA to make us leave.  They are an extension of the executive, i.e. Scott Walker.  Also, they’d been ignoring the constitutional rules all week, and aggressively seeking to make the protesters, and the minority members miserable.  As far as we were concerned, they had no legal or moral authority to make us go, and so we would not leave at their request.  We would not resist the police because we did recognize their authority and their correct behavior in a bad situation, but we would make them arrest us rather than comply.

However, the courts have ruled correctly throughout this.  There are in fact time, manner and place restrictions on the first amendment, and while we could argue about whether or not there should be, occupying the capitol when it is not legitimately in use for public purposes can be validly construed as a violation of the time and place limitations.  Since we acknowledged the authority of the court to tell us to leave, we did.  We waited for a copy of the order to be delivered to us, then we marched out, singing and chanting.

I’ll be back at the capitol at 8am tomorrow.  If it’s open, great.  I’ll collect the books I left behind by accident.  If it isn’t, well.  I still don’t recognize the authority of the DOA to tell me what to do.  I just might have to go tell them that.  Loudly.  With a drumline.

I’m up for company, if anybody wants to come.

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