Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Anti-union Law:Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds anti-union law

A sharply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a controversial measure that cuts collective bargaining rights of public employees in the state can enter into force.

In what was essentially a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court had ruled that Republicans violated the state open meetings law when it approved the measure in March.

"Access was not denied," the Supreme Court's decision Tuesday. "There is no constitutional requirement that the legislature provide access to many members of the public wishing to attend the meetings of the legislature or legislative committee meetings."

But the 68-page decision Tuesday was a tangle of coincidences and dissent, which reflects the sharp divide has developed to the extent that the State itself.

David Prosser, whose recent re-election to the state high court had been disputed by opponents of the measure of the union, wrote in his contest of eight pages that GOP lawmakers had good reason to rush things as they did, given unpleasant mood of protesters at the Capitol.

"The district court concluded that the legislature should have provided public notice of the committee meeting of the special conference of 24 hours in advance," Prosser wrote.

"The court does not recognize that thousands of protesters stormed and occupied the state capital a few hours of the announcement that a conference committee meeting to be held."

But judges Shirley Abrahamson, Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Coons disagrees, saying his colleagues had made a "quick view" in the case that "the answers are not clear and the precedents are mixed."

The three in dissent criticized the order to ignore the lower court, saying it was "based on errors of fact and law.

"They use poor original jurisdiction of this court, make their own findings of fact, mischaracterize the arguments of the parties, misinterpreting statutes, to minimize (if not eliminate) the constitutional guarantees of Wisconsin, and the cases mistakenly listed at silently ignore case dating back at least 1891, "said three.

National Debate

The law at the center of the dispute, which eliminates most of the collective bargaining rights for workers in Wisconsin public and forced to pay more for pensions and health coverage provoked a national debate on trade unions.

Was approved by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in March despite the public outcry over Madison since the Vietnam War.

In May, a circuit court judge for an audience of several challenges against the measure is invalid, siding with opponents who claimed the Republicans had violated the strict law of Wisconsin open meetings.

But in his ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the circuit judge had exceeded his authority and violated the separation of powers in the state constitution.

The court said that "one of the courts which are responsible for overseeing the legislature has usurped the Constitution of Illinois granted exclusively to the legislature ... exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the constitutional powers of the legislature and made ... an error in ordering the publication and subsequent implementation of the law. "

Walker, who said the measure was necessary to help the state to fix its finances, welcomed Tuesday's trial, saying that "our state offers the opportunity to pull together and focus on getting Wisconsin to work again."

Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen said the Supreme Court had "justified" the arguments of the administration.

The debate on the measure led rebel Wisconsin at the forefront of a broader struggle national politics as the Republicans took control of many state legislatures in November 2010 the midterm elections moved aggressively to reduce the size of government and made curb unions in the highest priority.

Democrats said union pressure was a covert attempt to undermine the political support of some of its strongest groups. But Republicans describe the rights and negotiating compensation enjoyed by government workers in the Union and out of reach in an era of growing state budget deficit.

The lifting of the measure was still confused government policy. Six Republican senators who supported the bill, and three Democratic senators who opposed it, will face recall special election in July, in what may be the largest wave of such special election in the history of USA.
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