Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Anti-Union Law – by Stephen Lendman
At the state and federal levels, pro-business/anti-worker rulings are nothing new. US Supreme Court history is rife with them since the 19th century, and no wonder.
From inception, America was always ruled by men, not laws, who lie, connive, misinterpret, and pretty much do what they please for their own self-interest.
In 1787 in Philadelphia, “the people” who mattered most were elitists. America’s revolution substituted new management for old. Everything changed but stayed the same under a system establishing illusory democracy at the federal, state and local levels.
Today, all three branches of government prove it’s more corrupt, ruthless, and indifferent to fundamental freedoms and human needs than ever, including worker rights to bargain collectively with management on equal terms. Forget it. They’re going, going, gone.
Last March, a protracted Senate battle ended when hard-line Republicans violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law, requiring 24 hours prior notice for special sessions unless giving it is impossible or impractical.
The epic battle ended along party lines after State Assembly members past Walker’s bill 53 – 42, following the Senate voting 18 – 1 with no debate.
At issue was passing an old-fashioned union-busting law with no Democrats present, brazen politicians and corrupted union bosses selling out rank and file members for self-enrichement and privilege, complicit with corporate CEOs.
Besides other draconian provisions, the measure permits collective bargaining only on wage issues before ending them altogether, what’s ahead unless stopped.
On May 27, however, Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi rescinded Walker’s bill, ruling Republican lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings law. They promptly appealed to Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, needing a decision before June 30, the 2011 – 2013 budget deadline.
Republicans, in fact, warned that without prompt resolution they’d include anti-worker provisions in their budget bill, practically daring the High Court not to accommodate them.
Unsurprisingly, they obliged, reinstating Republican Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting measure, clearing the way ahead to strip public employees of all rights, heading them like all US workers for neo-serfdom without collective national action to stop it.
On June 14, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writers Patrick Marley and Don Walker headlined, “Supreme Court reinstates collective bargaining law,” saying:
“Acting with unusual speed, the (Court) Tuesday ordered the reinstatement of (Walker’s) controversial plan to end most collective bargaining (rights) for tens of thousands of public workers,” in clear violation of state law.
Nonetheless, ruling 4 – 3, the Supreme Court said lawmakers were “not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when it hastily” acted in March.
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson disagreed, rebuking her colleagues for judicial errors and faulty judgment in a stinging dissent, saying:
The Court unjustifiably “reached a predetermined conclusion not based on the fact(s) and the law, which undermines the majority’s ultimate decision.”
Majority justices, in fact, “make their own findings of fact, mischaracterize the parties’ arguments, misinterpret statutes, minimize (if not eliminate) Wisconsin constitutional guarantees, and misstate case law, appearing to silently overrule case law dating back to at least 1891.”
Republicans praised the decision. Democrats said they’d move to amend the state constitution to assure meetings law enforcement, what could take years and only be possible if they have majority powers.
The measure will take effect once Secretary of State Doug La Follette publishes it, what he’s certain to do quickly.
The ruling was similar to an Illinois January 27 one when its Supreme Court ruled Rahm Emanuel could run for mayor despite his residence ineligibility according to binding state law since 1818, the year Illinois gained statehood.
The law says only qualified voters who “resided in the municipality at least one year preceding the election or appointment” are eligible to run for office. Although Emanuel didn’t qualify, the High Court ruled for him anyway, proving it’s not the law that counts (in Illinois, Wisconsin or anywhere in America), it’s enough clout to subvert it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.