Constitution Protects Democrats On The Run

By Courtney King, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republicans in Wisconsin want Democrats on-the-run brought back to Madison by state troopers, but there’s a problem — they haven’t broken any laws.

David Schultz Law Professor at Hamline University in St. Paul said that even if they did break a civil law, there is a clause in the Wisconsin Constitution that protects them from being arrested while the session is going on.

“There is literally nothing the governor can do to haul those 14 senators back. And conversely, while the governor had no authority to try and order them arrested he also didn’t violate any law by doing it,” explained Schultz.

According to Schultz, in the 19th century you often times had opposition that would try to get you arrested in the legislature to prevent you from voting.

“There are many states like Minnesota and Wisconsin that put clauses in the Constitution that said you really can’t be arrested for any civil matter while in session so that you couldn’t be prevented from performing your duty.”

WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews David Schultz

  • Mike

    Scott, Get your knuckles off the ground, your scaring the children.

  • Luke

    Great SCOTT!! Wake up–smell the DEMOCRACY!! Glad there are protections out there that keep protesters safe from hotheads !!

    • Fedup

      So, by democracy you mean running away and preventing state government from performing their elected duties?

      I don’t care what party you belong to. The WI state government is losing progress because someone didn’t get their way.

      • Get Real

        No, but they ARE authorized to deny the majority a quorum to prevent Walker from stomping on workers’ rights.

        Walker long ago got 2 of the 3 financial concessions from the union he demanded, namely wage and benefit concessions. Most corners would call that a “win” but Walker won’t be satisfied until he has destroyed the collective bargaining process in use for the past 50 years.

        The WI GOP may have a majority in the state house and senate but they don’t have a supermajority. The minority party still has rights but Walker seems unable (or unwilling) to recognlize that. You can either dictate or actually govern within the framework of the Constitution. It’s Walker’s choice. Dictating, so far, isn’t working very well.

        “Republicans go around all the time saying big government doesn’t work. Then they get themselves elected and prove it.” – Al Franken

        • Adam

          Quoting Al Franken really doesn’t do much (if anything) to support your statement. PLEASE find someone else to quote, someone with experience and brains other than working for SNL.

          • Norm De Plume

            Well, aside from SNL, that is that Ivy League university degree but other than that…

  • Big Media Bias

    Which incompetent reporter wrote this article? You infer the governor asked a judge to issue an arrest warrant for the WI state senators? If you actually did your homework, you would have known the WI state troopers were sent to locate the senators. If found, the troopers only duty were to follow the governor’s orders by relaying a message to VOLUNTARILY return to the capital to vote, as is their WI constitutional duty. The troopers were to OFFER a free ride should the senators need one. This is a pathetic attempt at journalism, WCCO. This is nothing more than a liberal hit piece.

    • Robert Radke

      And more waste of my tax dollars!!!

  • BMeyer

    In any other job, if you walked out in the middle of you shift, you’d get fired… only in politics. If politicians are supposed to be the voice of the people, how can they do that if they’re running away?!


      I can’t agree with this. We have a slo-w-w-w process of law making to protect minority party rights.

      The record number of filibusters in U.S. Senate…is okay but it’s not okay to prevent a quorum. You can’t have it both ways.

      WCCO needs to explain what’s really going on because so many people don’t remember their government class and so many other media oultets are providing incorrect information.

    • Get Real...

      BM… they ARE doing their jobs. Currently, that is to deny Walker a quorum in the WI Senate so he can’t ramrod his bill through. Even the minority party has mechanisms via State or Federal Constitutions to deal with situations such as this.

      Not that much different than another Consitutional tool to protect the minority which is often used—the filibuster.

      • Robert Radke


      • ProgressiveJohn

        Huge difference between fillibustering and walking out: One is a part of the rules, the other is an abandonment of the rules.

        The Democrats should have done what the Republicans did….Screem bloody murder about how bad this is, then take it to the people at the next election. To walk out is childish and makes a complete farce of democracy.

        To the people in the middle east who are fighting for democracy: Please don’t follow the Wisconsin and Indiana Democrats example. Democracy means that sometimes you are in the minority. You can’t quit, and still call it democracy.

    • Willow

      I agree with you. Allowing them to keep their jobs is pure insanity. The people should fire those cowards and recall them.

      • Paul

        Good luck with that. These are Democrats who were elected by the people. Odds are that they are doing exactly what their constituents want.

  • Kerri

    Great point BMeyer! There is absolutely no reason these Dems should be allowed to do this or frankly even want to represent their policies this way. The Dems way of doing things in WI seems very childish to me. We are all grown adults, do the job the people of WI elected you to do.

    • Tom_EB

      Actually walking out IS in the rules. It’s called a quorum.

      The point of a quorum is to keep a group of legislators from passing a bill when their opponents aren’t present to object. The quorum also gives any group the power to stop legislation by boycotting the proceedings if they can get enough support.

      Unless the people who created the rule were complete idiots, I think it’s fair to say this is exactly why they thought they should make that rule.

      • Kerri

        Although it might be in the “rules” it doesn’t make it right! Like someone else stated, if you were to do this at your workplace, you would be out of a job. Their walking out is stopping the WI government from going forward. Waste of time and waste of tax dollars.

  • Works at work

    If I were Walker I would do everything I could to keep them on the run. Then, come re-election, revisit how 14 Democrats left their jobs for 2 months (for example, it could be for the rest of the session).

    • anon

      There was a poll that showed the general public favored collective bargaining 60-40. So this tactic would probably not work.

      • ProgressiveJohn

        Over 1/3 of states do not allow public unions. Federal public unions are not allowed to do collective bargining. Over half of public workers aren’t unionized.

        The union’s “rights” in Wisconsin aren’t “rights” for over 75% of the government workers.

        Wisconsin was the birthplace of public workers unions. They have had them longer than anyone. They have seen the damage caused, and are trying to resolve it.

  • Go Scott

    Mike, you’re not very good at using contractions and you’re scaring the adults in this conversation.

  • Gnat brains

    If you can’t win at the ballot box you trash your state capital, hide your political representatives, abandon your students and families, beat your drum, yell your chants, and generally show the world your way of being “righteous.”



      Yes, they did win enough elections to keep a power minority block. Actually, the republicans need to win more elections to have a super majority to prevent this power block. Either work with the other party or don’t plan on getting anything done.

      Democrats need 60 seats in the U.S. Senate to prevent the power block of the Republicans. If you don’t like it, win more elections next time.

  • Murph

    Koch brothers file adoption papers to acquire little Scotty Walker! Or was a bill of sale? Maybe Scott would like to tell us just what the cozy arrangement is before the courts do!

    • helper

      Oh silly murph.. It was a bill of sale!

      Can’t believe people actually support this guy. Give em a couple years until they are all high and dry… they will come running back to the Democrats!

  • Victim Du Jour

    It looks extremely childish more than anything.

  • Victim Du Jour

    This constitutes treason – conspiring against the United States Constitution Is clearly defined as Treason, especially during a State of War.

    • K.

      What are you talking about? This is not against the US Constitution and what state of war? Come back to reality Victim Du Jour!

      • Victim Du Jour

        We have troops in Afganistan and Iraq, our Country is in a State of War.

  • Jay

    I disagree with the walkout, but, also agree with it. How else can they force negotiations? NOW, the republicans passed a law that enables a $100 a day fine for every senator that does not return! Seems like a dirty trick and a poor way to force their return. We all know the debt has to be handled in ways none of us will be happy with, but there is no sense to destroying bargaining rights. Possibly invoking a freeze for a number of years, but not to destroy our unions permanently.

  • WHAT?????

    I love that so many of you are saying that the Dems are doing breaking rules by not being at the Cap and voting and then when at least 4 people have put the info down that there is a rule called a quorum. The same people that always say people do not put down “facts” or “correct info” still are the people that after hearing this said, “that is still not fair”…. Keep crying and we still will not feel bad. This is not illegal and is something that is a rule in the state that can be done. So who is crying that they did not get their way? Couldn’t be the people saying that they should come back and vote even though after the polls were done 60% of people are with the Dems on this. If you need a tissue I got 1 for you.

  • WHAT?????

    Yes, instead of quoting a man who has an education lets go the Republican way (I am sorry, I meant tea party way) and quote Palin or Bachman. Those 2 are soooooo much better than Franken are they not?

  • Frustrated

    Wasn’t it President Obama who said, “The people voted, now get over it.”?

  • Victim Du Jour

    The People elected Republicans and democrats are obstructing Democracy.

    The majority of the people in Wisconsin voted for this. Democrats are in hiding, because they don’t think they work for or answer to the people.

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