Within the next few weeks, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision regarding whether key provisions of the three-and-a-half-year-old budgetary and public-labor-policy reform known as Act 10 violate either the Wisconsin or the U.S. Constitution. And, as Media Trackers pointed out in a news analysis last Thursday (see the link below), “all signs point to the law being upheld.”
Media Trackers writer Nathan Schacht cited in particular a tea leaf appearing in a June 8 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Patrick Marley. Marley broke the news that state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is the author of the forthcoming opinion in the case in which government union bosses are challenging the limitations on their monopoly-bargaining privileges imposed by Act 1o. Since Gableman displayed, very arguably, more skepticism than any of the other six justices towards the Act 10 challenge at the oral hearing on the case last November, it seems highly likely his majority opinion will allow the pro-Right to Work and pro-taxpayer statute to stand.
However, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and he fellow members of the Madison School Board are so beholden to Big Labor that they are choosing to pretend instead that somehow the state Supreme Court will defy all expectations and toss out Act 10. As Schacht noted late last week, the members of the Madison School Board, to which Burke was elected in 2012, “have begun contract negotiations with the [National Education Association-affiliated Madison Teachers Inc.] union, even though state law forbids them from doing so.” Their excuse for doing so is a 2012 decision declaring Act 10 to be unconstitutional by activist Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas. But this is the very decision the state Supreme Court is almost certain to overturn soon.
Schacht went on to quote C.J. Szarfir, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. Together with attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, WILL attorneys have represented the interests of independent-minded educators throughout the course of the legal battle over Act 10.
Ms. Burke and her fellow board members, Szafir charged, are playing “Russian Roulette with taxpayer money. ” Szafir explained: “Once the state Supreme Court holds Act 10 to be constitutional, Judge Colas’ decision will be null and void, as if it never existed. When this happens, a taxpayer could bring a lawsuit challenging the illegal contracts.”
Do Wisconsin voters really want to elect a governor who is so eager to cozy up to Big Labor that she’s willing to negotiate an illegal contract and expose the school district she now represents to expensive litigation? We’ll find out soon enough if, as expected, Burke wins the nomination to face off against Gov. Walker this November.