The Way Forward In Wisconsin: Recalls and Legal Challenges

Yesterday sucked in Wisconsin, and there is no getting around that. Further, the bill stripping collective bargaining rights will pass through the Wisconsin state Assembly today, which means more suck is on the way.

But even in midst of the wreckage falling around us, never forget that we have recourse to overturn this bill and restore workers' rights. The two most promising avenues are legal challenges and recall campaigns. David Dayen breaks down the legal situation:

  • Legal challenges. There are going to be a number of legal challenges to this bill. It will not be implemented right away. There’s the near-term challenge of how the bill got passed tonight. It was done in a way that may have violated open meetings laws, by not allowing 24 hours notice for a public meeting of the conference committee. There are other statutes about collective bargaining that may be brought up in court and fought. And there’s the issue of the bill having a fiscal impact. Scott Walker spent three weeks claiming that collective bargaining was a fiscal issue, and then the legislature just passed the bill as “non-fiscal.” Courts will have to wade through a lot of this, and it’s sure to go up to the state Supreme Court. Which brings us to…
  • Supreme Court fight. The matchup between David Prosser (R) and JoAnn Kloppenberg (D) for the state Supreme Court on April 5 just got very interesting. It’s a statewide vote, and the balance of power on the state Supreme Court is at stake. Right now there are 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats on the court, but one of those Republicans is Prosser. Expect lots of organizing and millions of dollars poured into this election, which is much like a political election, with debates and everything. If Democrats win, the legality of what took place tonight may be put in greater question.

To sign up for  Kloppenberg's campaign, visit her website at

As far as recalls go, it has now been seven days since the Democratic Party of Wisconsin gave its official backing to grassroots efforts to recall eight Republican state Senators. With Republicans holding a 19-14 edge in the state Senate, Democrats need to flip three seats in order to retake the majority. Obama won six of these districts, so with a fired up base and plummeting approval ratings for Wisconsin Republicans, victory is within our reach.

Last weekend, Democratic Party of Wisconsin reached over 15% of their signature goals. With over 350 volunteers just from the Daily Kos community, and more than 2,000 volunteers overall, I have a feeling they will more than double that this weekend. You can help them out by contributing $5 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin on Orange to Blue.

Finally, there is also a lot of talk about strikes right now, but I'd be wary. Any public employees who go on strike will likely be fired. Patience John points out the relevant version of the bill that passed the state Senate last night:

b. Participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government, including specifically participation in purported mass resignations or sick calls.

Even after stripping their rights, Walker and Republicans are practically begging opponents of the bill to strike, so that they can fire them. This is outrageous, but we need to channel our anger into the recall.

If you live in Wisconsin,please sign up to volunteer with SEIU. If you live outside of Wisconsin, please chip in $5. And after we win these campaigns in 2011, next year we'll recall Walker and take back the state Assembly, too.


Daily Kos / By Chris Bowers

Posted at March 10, 2011, 4:56am

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