Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins court challenge to collective bargaining reforms

The Associated Press reports that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining reforms have been upheld in a major court victory:

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious law stripping most public workers of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights, a victory for Republicans and a decision that runs contrary to one issued last year in state court.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago found the law is constitutional and its ban on the automatic deduction of union dues is acceptable. In September, a state circuit court judge said the law was unconstitutional as it applied to school and local government workers.

Republican supporters of the law, including Walker, praised the federal court decision and said it should lead to an end to other pending litigation.

“While there are no guarantees, it is my hope that this decision will pave the way for resolving any remaining challenges in a manner that supports the legislative decisions made by our elected officials,” Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.

“Today’s court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers,” Governor Walker said.  “The provisions contained in Act 10, which have been upheld in federal court, were vital in balancing Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid.  With this ruling behind us, we can now focus on the next state budget, which will invest in priorities to move our state forward.”

Speaker Robin Vos saw the ruling as a rebuke to the state judge who tried to strike the law down: “Today’s federal court ruling confirms what we’ve known all along:  Act 10 is constitutional.  What we’ve seen in this case – and with so many others before it – is that a liberal Dane County judge made a political, not a legal, decision.  These reforms have played an important role in balancing budgets at the state and local levels.  I encourage those who have not utilized these tools to begin incorporating them to the benefit of taxpayers.”