As we have discussed here ever since Governor Scott Walker attacked collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, he was violating both the state and US constitution’s guarantee of free speech and free association. The state constitution has further protections for collective bargaining that Walker and the Republicans ignored in drafting and passing their egregious law (known as Act 10) meant to kill collective bargaining.
Well, the courts finally caught up with Walker’s ridiculous attempt to appease the Koch Brothers and other donors, and they agree. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colás (appointed by Jim Doyle (D)) struck down the essential parts of the 2011 law Wisconsin Republicans passed in the dark of night without a quorum. Collective bargaining rights are restored for city, county, and school workers.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported:
Ruling in a lawsuit brought by Madison Teachers Inc. and a union representing public workers in Milwaukee, Circuit Judge Juan B. Colas said in a 27-page decision that sections of the law “single out and encumber the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and association.”
Colas also said that the law violates the constitutional equal protection clause by creating separate classes of state workers who are treated differently and unequally under the law.
Governor Walker having his signature legislation tossed out as unconstitutional is rather delicious, with conservatives pretending to care so much about the constitution. Of course this won’t be the the end of Walker’s efforts to destroy freedom. He will appeal to the Supreme Court.
In March, District Judge William M. Conley overruled recertification requirements for some public-employee unions but not all, again due to Walker treating different unions differently under the law. Conley wrote, “This is not an ordinary case in any number of respects, but it is ordinary in the sense that political favoritism is no grounds for heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection clause” of the U.S. Constitution.
Hard to argue against equal protection and freedom of assembly and claim you are FOR freedom, but somehow Walker and his Republican cronies manage to sell this to their easily manipulated base.
Walker’s base shouldn’t fret though, as Walker is hardly done wasting millions advancing his radical agenda even when it violates freedoms protected in the US Constitution. He will waste plenty more taxpayer dollars in his pursuit before he’s shown the door.
The brave citizens of Wisconsin were correct back in 2011, and though they had to wait a long time for Lady Justice, she arrived today. Now the state is stuck figuring out what this means for the bargaining that’s taken place since the law was passed, and wading through yet another epic disaster courtesy of Scott Walker, whose similar attempt as County Executive was also found to violate the law and cost the state 4.5 million additional dollars.
Wasting millions to advance a purely political agenda? That’s the new “fiscal conservative” Republican for you.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.