Wisconsin Unions Move On to Federal Court

June 16th, 2011

By Dan Miller

The Scales of JusticeHaving lost the battle over Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law in the state Supreme Court, unions have moved on to federal court, challenging Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law as unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendment:  It

“denies hundreds of thousands of public employees their right to collectively bargain for a better life. The groups challenge the constitutionality of the state’s Budget Repair Bill which would destroy collective bargaining rights for all but a select group of public sector workers.” [fire and police officers]

The suit, filed in the Western District of Wisconsin, says the legislation violates the 1st and 14th amendments “by stripping away basic rights to bargain, organize and associate for the purpose of engaging in union activity, which have been in place for the last half century.”

The case was assigned to Federal Judge William M. Conley. Conley is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

The unions are asking the federal court to prevent the Walker administration from implementing the legislaton [sic], either on a temporary or permanent basis. And they are asking the court to find the legislation unconstitutional.

The arguments seem specious to me, but they have plenty of money for litigation so why not?

(This article was first published at The PJ Tatler.)


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2 Responses to “Wisconsin Unions Move On to Federal Court”



  1. Tom Carter |

    The arguments also seem specious to me, and I’m not even a lawyer. But what will happen if a federal judge rules that the Wisconsin law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments? Most federal employees don’t have collective bargaining rights for pay and benefits, some states limit those rights, and some states don’t permit collective bargaining by state employees at all. Would such a ruling throw the entire nation into chaos? Would conservatives react as they did when one federal judge in Florida ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional and demand that the entire nation follow the ruling immediately?

    It seems very unlikely a decision like that would survive appeal, especially at the Supreme Court. But it would certainly create some heavy angst until it was overruled.


  2. Dan Miller |

    Perhaps we should give human rights a chance in the United States, starting with the military. If the First Amendment guarantees collective bargaining rights for all vis a vis the feral federal government (and the First via the Fourteenth vis a vis state and local governments), everybody must have them (regardless of whether they want to be represented by unions). I think the rights of those in the military are properly limited due to military necessity, but maybe that’s too old fashioned for this modern age. This could usher in a whole new era of rights, dramatically improve morale and thereby improve the national defense in times of peace, kinetic military action and war. Collective bargaining could improve pay, benefits and working conditions and bring true social progress in too many areas to list here; the military could be at the front in showing the way to true equality.

    The ways in which this could be accomplished deserve the undivided attention of the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who now have little else to consider.

    The federal court decision on ObamaCare, which some wanted to see applied generally, involved twenty-six of the fifty-seven states as well as the federal government as parties. Good arguments can be made that the parties are bound by it. Should the Court of Appeals reverse the District Court decision, they should be bound by that as well, until the Supreme Court acts.


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