It’s never over
September 19, 2012
Governor Walker emailed supporters this past weekend saying “this isn’t over,” regarding a Madison judge’s decision to void parts of last year’s collective bargaining reforms.
The Governor announced the inevitable next step, saying, “Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process.”
As far as we can tell, Judge Juan Colas—unlike some Dane County judges who have blocked Walker reforms—did not sign the Walker recall petition. A former state legislative aide to a Liberal Democrat, former Justice Department attorney under Attorney General Jim Doyle, and a campaign contributor to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Leftist Justice Louis Butler, and Doyle, Colas was appointed to the bench by Governor Doyle in 2008.
Siding with the Madison teachers’ union Friday, he struck down Act 10 provisions requiring a referendum on pay increases above the cost of living for school district and other municipal employees; limiting “fair share” dues to public safety and transit unions; limiting municipal collective bargaining to wage issues; and—the big one for union bosses—banning payroll deduction of union dues by government employers.
Colas said these provisions violate the rights of free speech and association because they apply to union members but not to non-union government employees. Since the state allows collective bargaining, he says, it can’t be conditional on forgoing privileges available to employees who don’t bargain collectively.
We read his 27-page opinion. Even if you assume, for argument’s sake, that an appeals court might agree, Colas himself provides an answer to the dilemma. On page 14 of his decision, he writes:
“It is undisputed that there is no constitutional right to collective bargaining.”