Free Markets, Free People

WI Supreme Court reinstates law limiting public union collective bargaining “rights”

At least for now:

Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the reinstatement of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial plan to end most collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.

The court found that a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when it hastily approved the collective bargaining measure in March and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had halted the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.

The changes on collective bargaining will take effect once Secretary of State Doug La Follette arranges for official publication of the stalled bill, and the high court said there was now nothing to preclude him from doing that.

This, however, is not the end to law suits against the bill, it’s just one case which has been settled that had stopped implementation of the law in its tracks.  In fact, this finding was more about how the lower court judge had exceeded her authority:

The court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi’s ruling, which had held up implementation of the collective bargaining law, was in the void ab initio, Latin for invalid from the outset.

"The court’s decision …is not affected by the wisdom or lack thereof evidenced in the act," the majority wrote. "Choices about what laws represent wise public policy for the state of Wisconsin are not within the constitutional purview of the courts. The court’s task in the action for original jurisdiction that we have granted is limited to determining whether the Legislature employed a constitutionally violative process in the enactment of the act. We conclude that the Legislature did not violate the Wisconsin Constitution by the process it used."

The court concluded that Sumi exceeded her jurisdiction, "invaded" the Legislature’s constitutional powers and erred in halting the publication and implementation of the collective bargaining law.

So – the law must now be officially published for it to take effect and according to the court, there’s nothing standing in the way of that happening.

I wonder if we’ll be treated to another spectacle of teachers and the like throwing a collective tantrum.  Oh, wait, it’s summer – they’re on vacation.  With no works stoppage available to them to make their point, probably not.


Twitter: @McQandO


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11 Responses to WI Supreme Court reinstates law limiting public union collective bargaining “rights”

  • THIS is what democracy looks like!!!
    What an amazing chapter in our history!  Sumi ruled on the pretext that the Fleebaggers were not given “notice”, which is like the “but I’m an orphan” defense for parricide!
    Maybe our law firm admin will expand on the legal concept of “constructive notice”.  In any event, the Fleebaggers had BOTH actual and constructive notice of the work they were holding hostage.

  • I particularly like this part of the decision …

    9 Although all orders that preceded the circuit court’s judgment in Case No. 2011CV1244 may be characterized as moot in some respects, the court addresses whether a court can enjoin publication of a bill. The court does so because whether a court can enjoin a bill is a matter of great public importance and also because it appears necessary to confirm that Goodland remains the law that all courts must follow. State v. Cramer, 98 Wis. 2d 416, 420, 296 N.W.2d 921 (1980) (noting that we consider questions that have become moot “where the question is one of great public importance . . . or of public interest,” or “where the problem is likely to recur and is of sufficient importance to warrant a holding which will guide trial courts in similar circumstances”). Accordingly, because the circuit court did not follow the court’s directive in Goodland, it exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers under Article IV, Section 1 and Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution, and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.

    The Justices seemed particularly annoyed that they were even asked to rule on this POS case, so they decided a lesson was needed … or did they believe that “they” would try this again with a different judge ?

    • The premise was NUTS, both substantively and procedurally.  The supremes were just reminding EVERYBODY that courts don’t order around the legislature.  Not any more than the other way around.  A state court judge is a demigod in his/her court, with very little exception.  In Texas, at least, the legislature has NO business telling judges how they can conduct themselves.

    • NeoThe Justices seemed particularly annoyed that they were even asked to rule on this POS case, so they decided a lesson was needed…

      I got that feeling, too: that they were scolding / ridiculing Judge Sumi.

      Anyway, what a refreshing ruling, though: a court admitting – nay, STATING – that it has no power to make ‘[c]hoices about what laws represent wise public policy.”

      Send an engraved copy of this to the SCOTUS ASAP!!!

  • So now every left of center clown in the country is claiming that the people of Wisconsin can no longer trust their state supreme court for rulings.
    It’s Bush Vs Gore all over again – if the court rules in their favor it’s genius, justice and right, if it rules against them, the judges are all crackpots who’s rulings can no longer be trusted.

    • And never mind that state constitution thingy…  Or separation of powers.  Say WHAT…?!?!?
      The wages of public monopoly education.

    Oh, yeah, that’ll work…!!!
    The capacity to bargain collectively…extended by the state…can be taken by the state.

    • The Unions are using Churchill’s dictum – “never never never surrender”.   I think Hotair has it right, they’re merely fighting  delaying actions until they can fix uh, have, the recall elections to take the majority back in the legislature.

      • I welcome them to do so.  If there is one thing we’ve seen with the rise of the Tea Party is that they ALWAYS howl like stuck pigs when everything they’ve done is picked up and thrown back in their faces, when their tactics are used against them.

        Everything they do now (like they did during Bush’s 8 years) is merely setting precedent.