Saturday, January 19, 2013

Federal Judges Hold Their Noses And Approve Parts Of Act 10

Big news yesterday, a federal court of appeals upheld parts of the contentious, Act 10 - collective bargaining law. In a 2-1 decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said the ban on automatic dues withdraws and insistence on yearly re-certification for unions were not an infringement of 1st amendment rights.

This was always the weakest of the lawsuits against Act 10 - so it's not a big surprise it didn't survive.

Of course, state Republicans were quick to respond to the news as if civilization was saved.
"Today's court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers," Walker said in a statement. "The provisions contained in Act 10, which have been upheld in federal court, were vital in balancing Wisconsin's $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid."
Someone should let Scooter in on the fact that two other lawsuits are pending - one of which has put Act 10 on ice at the state level.. That means that not much has changed. Oh well, let him have a moment to enjoy it before he figures it out.

If you think the Circuit Court of Appeals were in love with Act 10 - don't. In the opening paragraph of their decision they refer to Act 10 as a "scheme" and admit that the law probably does reward certain unions who endorsed the Governor over ones that did not - but Act 10 is "facially neutral."
“The United States Constitution does not forbid all legislation that rewards friends and punishes opponents. The principal provisions of Wisconsin’s Act 10 may fit that description, but they are still constitutional under the generous standard of rational-basis review.” 
In other words - icky but legal. Woot! Big win!