Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Union-Busting Legislation

 In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld the union-busting legislation that strips collective bargaining rights for most public employees in Wisconsin:

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.

Even if the court had ruled differently—say, for example, because David Prosser had not won the recent Supreme Court election—Wisconsin Republicans would have justre-passed the legislation later this week. Even though the protests in the Capitol rotunda have resumed tonight, and even if the fourteen Senate Democrats had once again left the state, there really was no stopping this from becoming law before the recall elections.

The true test of a nascent political movement is not whether it can defeat legislation it opposes after it's political opponents are elected to office. Instead, the test is whether that movement can quickly defeat the officials who passed that legislation at the ballot box. Further, true political political power will only be gained when most political observers admit that the outcome of the election was determined by the fight over the legislation the new movement opposed.

Last January, the tea party truly came into it's own when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat during the height of the health care fight. In order for the new, strident, netroots-labor protest movement to be taken seriously as a political force by elected officials in Wisconsin and around the country, we have to flip control of the Wisconsin state Senate in August. If we do, politicians will begin to fear crossing that movement, and as a result we will finally regain some momentum in legislative fights.

We were not going to stop this bill from becoming law, but we must enact a steep and immediate toll for it at the ballot box. Either politicians start getting thrown out of office for stripping collective bargaining rights, or collective bargaining rights will become a thing of the past very quickly. The showdown on this matter is set for Tuesday, Aug. 9.

Daily Kos / By Chris Bowers

Posted at June 15, 2011, 3:07am

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