The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned leftwing judge Maryann Sumi’s ruling and reinstated the Collective Bargaining Law.
Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to all but end collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.
The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.
The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices – Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks – concurred in part and dissented in part.
The opinion voided all orders in the case from the lower court. It came just before 5 p.m., sparing Republicans who control the Legislature from taking up the contentious issue of collective bargaining again.
Legislative leaders had said they would have inserted the limits on collective bargaining into the state budget late Tuesday if the court hadn’t acted by then. But the high court ruled just before that budget debate was to begin.
The Assembly is to take up the budget Tuesday night.
The court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi’s ruling, which had held up implementation of the collective bargaining law, was void ab initio, or invalid from the outset.
In its decision, the state’s high court concluded that “choices about what laws represent wise public policy for the state of Wisconsin are not within the constitutional purview of the courts.”
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.
The court added that its role 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.”
Tens of thousands of public workers and their supporters demonstrated at the Capitol in February and March. They are now ramping up efforts for more protests over the state budget, which makes deep cuts in state aid to schools and local governments.
The union goons got thumped, and I have a feeling their efforts in the upcoming budget battle won’t fair much better.