Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Gov. Scott Walker’s signature Act 10 in its entirety

posted at 9:21 pm on July 31, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ended a three-year battle over Gov. Scott Walker’s signature legislation Thursday, delivering a 5-2 decision in the law’s favor. Act 10, passed by a majority GOP legislature in 2011, limited collective bargaining for public employees, sent the state’s elected Democrats into hiding in another state to avoid a vote on it, and left liberal activists to turn the Wisconsin capitol building into an episode of “Hoarders” as they camped where their elected officials dared not tread lest they have to do their jobs. The subsequent electoral and legal fights have attracted the entire professional Left, millions of dollars, and every kind of organizer to the Badger state to attempt to defeat Walker and anyone who helped him. Again and again, they have failed, and today’s decision is another reminder that no matter how big a fit they’ve pitched, this law will go— ahem— on, Wisconsin.

The decision is also a boon to Walker’s reelection effort, neck-and-neck with challenger Mary Burke, coming as it does on the heels of national and nearly uniformly unfair coverage of a fruitless secret investigation into Walker, who was exonerated by two judges who rejected the charges. Nonetheless, the old swirling accusations, treated as new, became an attack line for Burke and a bruise for Walker, fair or not.

Using the model the national press used for coverage of the fruitless John Doe investigation, they should all get to work writing lead stories about the now failed and rejected arguments brought by the union defendants in this case without ever mentioning the Supreme Court decided 5-2 against those arguments and upheld the law.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel rejects that rubric and reports:

The decision was 5-2, with Justice Michael Gableman writing the lead opinion, which found that collective bargaining over a contract with an employer is not a fundamental right for public employees under the constitution. Instead, it’s a benefit that lawmakers can extend or restrict as they see fit, he said.

“No matter the limitations or ‘burdens’ a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect,” Gableman wrote.

Rejecting arguments made by the Madison teachers union and Public Employees Local 61, a group of city of Milwaukee employees, Gableman said that public employees still had the right to form unions to influence their employers, but government officials aren’t obligated to listen to them.

“The plaintiffs remain free to advance any position, on any topic, either individually or in concert, through any channels that are open to the public,” Gableman wrote.

The full opinion is here.

The MacIver Institute reports on GOP reaction:

Walker hailed the decision as a win for taxpayers.

“Act 10 has saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion,” Walker said in a statement. “Today’s ruling is a victory for those hard-working taxpayers.”

Attorney General JB Van Hollen applauded the court’s decision.

“Since the historic events of 2011, I have been dedicated to defending Act 10 and Wisconsin’s Voter ID law,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “Today, the Supreme Court has completely upheld these laws. The decisions settle important state policy and serve to strengthen our constitutional democracy.”

As Rick Esenberg notes in this radio interview with Charlie Sykes, the decision throws into limbo (and illegality) several agreements unions made with local governments across Wisconsin after an earlier ruling declared Act 10 unconstitutional. At the time of that ruling in 2012, Sunny Schubert highlighted just such a hastily made agreement in Dane County:

Well, that didn’t take long.

Last Friday, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that Act 10, which dramatically cut the powers of public employee unions, is unconstitutional.

Eager to take advantage of Colas’ ruling before it could be stayed or overturned, officials from various unions representing Dane County employees, immediately began pressuring county officials for a new contract.

On Wednesday, 22 members of the Dane County Board signed a petition asking the board to sign a new contract with the union.

On Thursday, with scant public notice, the board voted 29-8 to do just that.

The court also decided in favor of the state’s Voter ID law, with a predictably overwrought dissent invoking Jim Crow, and affirmed a civil unions registry that allowed the state to give benefits to same-sex partners was not prohibited by the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (which itself was overturned by a federal court this week). Both of those decisions may be subject to further review in federal courts, but Esenberg and Sykes offer a nice run-down of what happened today.

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Woot!

annoyinglittletwerp on July 31, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Haven’t heard his name in a while.

Jaibones on July 31, 2014 at 9:32 PM

As Rick Esenberg notes in this radio interview with Charlie Sykes, the decision throws into limbo (and illegality) several agreements unions made with local governments across Wisconsin after an earlier ruling declared Act 10 unconstitutional. At the time of that ruling in 2012, Sunny Schubert highlighted just such a hastily made agreement in Dane County . . . . .

Mary Katharine Ham on July 31, 2014 at 9:21 PM

.
Oh yeah this is going to get very interesting.

I wonder if this is going to necessitate body guards for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justices . . . . .

listens2glenn on July 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Bishop to grudgingly say something complimentary about Wisconsin in 5 .. 4 .. 3 …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

CHEESE!

Bruno Strozek on July 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Nice!

KCB on July 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

This should be like the flu and spread all over the country.

docflash on July 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Gee, some states have judges that rule via the law.

Gov. Walker has had more unnecessary legal battles than most (Palin may have him beat) but having met him and worked on recalls in WI, he’s first class; low key; smart; and aware.

Way to go!

MN J on July 31, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Bravo sir. Bravo.

BacaDog on July 31, 2014 at 9:36 PM

All he does is win.

Good Solid B-Plus on July 31, 2014 at 9:36 PM

To think my aunt was once postmistress of Dane Co. That was back when it cost 13 cents to mail a letter.

Judge_Dredd on July 31, 2014 at 9:40 PM

neck-and-neck with challenger Mary Burke,

No damn wonder Bishop makes fun of Wisconsin….

Barred on July 31, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Hell yeah :)

sorrowen on July 31, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Chalk one up for the good guys…

JohnGalt23 on July 31, 2014 at 9:51 PM

To think my aunt was once postmistress of Dane Co. That was back when it cost 13 cents to mail a letter.

Judge_Dredd on July 31, 2014 at 9:40 PM

I hate to admit it, but I can remember when it only cost $0.13 to mail a first class letter.

And then it went up to $0.15(?), and it was a sign of things to come…

JohnGalt23 on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

neck-and-neck with challenger Mary Burke

No damn wonder Bishop makes fun of Wisconsin….

Barred on July 31, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Bishop’s Governor is Mark Dayton, and one of his Senators is Stuart Smalley. If Bishop doesn’t make jokes, he cries.

M240H on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Good news for Walker. I can’t believe the race is that close. Are people going to be stupid enough to vote for another dim, after the last one left the economy in shambles there?

cat_owner on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Boom!!

bill glass on July 31, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Bishop to grudgingly say something complimentary about Wisconsin in 5 .. 4 .. 3 …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Yeah right.

wifarmboy on July 31, 2014 at 9:55 PM

I hate to admit it, but I can remember when it only cost $0.13 to mail a first class letter.

And then it went up to $0.15(?), and it was a sign of things to come…

JohnGalt23 on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

It was the 1970s. And I collected stamps. She sent me many blocks and plate blocks. Prolly had a small fortune in stamps.

Judge_Dredd on July 31, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Good news for Walker. I can’t believe the race is that close. Are people going to be stupid enough to vote for another dim, after the last one left the economy in shambles there?

cat_owner on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

I assume the propagandists doing those polls are trying to keep it close to ensure millions flow in to the Dems from all over the country.

Hopefully, many more millions will continue to be wasted there. Pure schadenfreude …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Yeah right.

wifarmboy on July 31, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Heh.

I was hopin’ to Bish him into commenting, but he’s too smart to fall for that …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Bishop’s Governor is Mark Dayton, and one of his Senators is Stuart Smalley. If Bishop doesn’t make jokes, he cries.

M240H on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

You beat me to it. Also, the Minnesota GOP is a hot mess.

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:04 PM

Good news for Walker. I can’t believe the race is that close. Are people going to be stupid enough to vote for another dim, after the last one left the economy in shambles there?

cat_owner on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Lots of stupid in Madison and Milwaukee.

wifarmboy on July 31, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Good news for Walker. I can’t believe the race is that close. Are people going to be stupid enough to vote for another dim, after the last one left the economy in shambles there?

cat_owner on July 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

The general order of things is to elect Republicans to fix the problems the Rats left (cough…$3.6 billion deficit based on Team Doyle’s lame duck budget requests…cough), and then toss them once they think the problem is fixed. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:06 PM

The voter ID law is still in limbo because the Left drew the most-liberal member of the Eastern District bench in Lynn Adelman for their lawsuit against it, and he introduced a new legal concept in striking it down.

Wish I had links handy, but I’m going off of memory right now.

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM

I’m sure Holder will have to get his two cent in too.

wifarmboy on July 31, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Count it!

WisCon on July 31, 2014 at 10:12 PM

I’m sure Holder will have to get his two cent in too.

wifarmboy on July 31, 2014 at 10:12 PM

The last I heard, he was thinking about joining the federal suit.

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:13 PM

The general order of things is to elect Republicans to fix the problems the Rats left (cough…$3.6 billion deficit based on Team Doyle’s lame duck budget requests…cough), and then toss them once they think the problem is fixed. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:06 PM

The slightly smarter liberal enclaves do that (see, New York, Giuliani, Rudy for another example). The dumber liberal enclaves never learn, and simply keep voting in liberal Democrat after liberal Democrat no matter how bad things get, because they enjoy demonizing the right more than they enjoy improving their own quality of life (Detroit being example No. 1 of that phenomenon, but Oakland is a good West Coast counterpart and Chicago’s fast headed in that direction).

jon1979 on July 31, 2014 at 10:16 PM

The left can’t afford to have voter i.d. in place, it’s really hard to steal elections if there’s voter i.d. It’s like in Florida, the Democrats fought Touchscreen voting because it was difficult to challenge. They want a system in place that is not objective, like touchscreen ( you either touched Obama or you didn’t touch Obama) and some sort of subjective system where the Democrats can determine the intent of someone. Hence, Florida gave up touchscreens.

bflat879 on July 31, 2014 at 10:18 PM

The slightly smarter liberal enclaves do that (see, New York, Giuliani, Rudy for another example). The dumber liberal enclaves never learn, and simply keep voting in liberal Democrat after liberal Democrat no matter how bad things get, because they enjoy demonizing the right more than they enjoy improving their own quality of life (Detroit being example No. 1 of that phenomenon, but Oakland is a good West Coast counterpart and Chicago’s fast headed in that direction).

jon1979 on July 31, 2014 at 10:16 PM

The city of Milwaukee also does that – it’s been more than a century since an identifiable Republican has been mayor. In fact, it’s been so long that the office is now nominally nonpartisan

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Great observation, Steve.

I’ve noticed that past history as well …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Walker is a winner.

J.B. Say on July 31, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Great observation, Steve.

I’ve noticed that past history as well …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 10:20 PM

The problem is, with Republicans no longer by and large conservative, who is going to take that role?

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:23 PM

Get out of the way Rand, Chris, Ted, Jeb and anyone else with and eye on the WH. Walker is the only choice

Jackson on July 31, 2014 at 10:30 PM

The problem is, with Republicans no longer by and large conservative, who is going to take that role?

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:23 PM

Exactly. [And why I have little hope.]

Any who dare try these days are Palinized and Cruzified by both the sycophantic LSM whores and the corruptocrats in both the Dem and GOPe parties …

ShainS on July 31, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:06 PM

So that’s why my hair always smells like shampoo.

Alien on July 31, 2014 at 10:34 PM

It’s all because of his genitals Buzzy Ginsburg you ACLU hack.

viking01 on July 31, 2014 at 10:35 PM

So that’s why my hair always smells like shampoo.

Alien on July 31, 2014 at 10:34 PM

And why I’m always firing before aiming ;-)

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:36 PM

It’s all because of his genitals Buzzy Ginsburg you ACLU hack.

viking01 on July 31, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Funny you mention that – the dissent came from the Coven wing of the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Chief Lawgiver-In-Black Screamin’ Shirley Abrahamson and her familiar and noted pugulist Ann Walsh Bradley).

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:37 PM

I figure these Lefty judges all get their marching orders directly from the DNC whether Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan or Abrahamson and Bradley or the Ninth Circus etc.

viking01 on July 31, 2014 at 10:51 PM

Steve Eggleston on July 31, 2014 at 10:37 PM
Come on Steve! I know you got your thing here, but a little honest on the ground read wouldn’t hurt once in a while. The state is much more conservative than it was four years ago. The Marquette poll is done by a guy who is notorious for push polling, and mostly surveying southern urban Wisconsin areas only. The chief justice is old, and may not have strength for another term. Besides, the state GOP has a deep bench lined up with deep pockets ready to go. If I, a guy living in D.C. see that, well….

flackcatcher on August 1, 2014 at 12:20 AM

Nice! Its cool when the high court upholds your signature legislation huh?

beverlyfreaks on August 1, 2014 at 1:29 AM

Human nature being what it is, most of us seem to prefer to react to negative news, rather than celebrate something positive (thus the reason this has generated only 44 comments).

But this is BIG NEWS. Congrats to Governor Walker for doing something 99% of the politicians and pundits only talk about.

forheremenaremen on August 1, 2014 at 6:38 AM

Come on Steve! I know you got your thing here, but a little honest on the ground read wouldn’t hurt once in a while. The state is much more conservative than it was four years ago. The Marquette poll is done by a guy who is notorious for push polling, and mostly surveying southern urban Wisconsin areas only. The chief justice is old, and may not have strength for another term. Besides, the state GOP has a deep bench lined up with deep pockets ready to go. If I, a guy living in D.C. see that, well….

flackcatcher on August 1, 2014 at 12:20 AM

If November 2012 hadn’t happened,I might believe you.

If a liberal superPAC hadn’t just put in over $250,000 in TV ad buys over the next 11 days (good for over 500 commercials on 5 Milwaukee TV stations including all 4 with news operations) in an attempt to defeat their #2 target, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (DemocratInNameOnly because sheriff is a partisan office), I might believe you.

If a couple of old campaign pros with a winning record hadn’t told me that the Walker campaign is blowing it, I might believe you.

That said, I have issues with the last couple of Marquette polls, which still slightly oversamples Rats this time around with an inexplicable massive drop in Pubbie enthusiasm/willingness to vote and a disconnect between Rat enthusiasm and Rat willingness to vote (enthusiasm down even from the depressed May level, but willingness to vote exceeding the Rs for the first time in recent poll history). The optimists already said that the pre-recall Marquette polls had the same track.

Steve Eggleston on August 1, 2014 at 7:57 AM

All he does is win.
Good Solid B-Plus on July 31, 2014 at 9:36 PM

2016 campaign slogan.

ctmom on August 1, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Human nature being what it is, most of us seem to prefer to react to negative news, rather than celebrate something positive.

I’m stealing this. Errr…

Fallon on August 1, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Scott Walker is Mack the Knife to progressives.

Cliff by the Ford on August 1, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Hard to believe two judges actually bought a First Amendment argument against this law….especially given the left’s general disdain these days for free speech.

rockmom on August 1, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Naturally, We don’t hear much in the National Media about Wisconsin unless it’s an obvious win for some socialist cause or a major set back for anything sane…

Walker is a perfect candidate for the Presidency if he decides to jump in.. with as many commie groups, commie journos, and hired dem/commie hit men that have literally crawled up his arse in the last 6 years, there can’t be any surprises left in his closet can there??

Tim Zank on August 1, 2014 at 1:33 PM

It’s. The. Law.
/eat it, libs

cptacek on August 1, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Executive order from Obama requiring all public officials to swear loyalty and fealty to SEIU overlords in 3..2..1..

s1im on August 1, 2014 at 5:49 PM